As we approach Easter, it's easy to look around and find a rather bleak, even devastating, picture of the world. There's famine in East Africa, with 16 million people on the brink of starvation and 22 million in need of humanitarian assistance to survive. The British public have been incredibly generous in their response but without even more funding, people are at risk of dying from hunger.
And it is a sad fact that children with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be denied a school education. This has historically been an under prioritised area by the development sector, but with UK leadership this is starting to change. Sport can be a powerful tool to empower people with disabilities in developing countries; helping to tackle stigma and discrimination.
In the case of bitcoin, this meant that all of a sudden there was an open system available that could automatically keep track of everyone's balances. New blockchain protocols will similarly replace the need for certain organizational solutions and allow different players that don't trust each other to build an almost magical digital commons that can be used by everyone.
Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February - 12 March) is a time to show solidarity with those around the world who grow some of the food and drink we consume every day. Just as Britain's farmers should be properly paid for their goods and hard work, most of us want to know that producers in poorer countries are getting a fair day's pay and trading conditions for their toil.
A Labour-run DfID would seek to offer a hybrid approach that focuses on economic, environmental and social development, without ever losing sight of what DfID was created to achieve. I will continue to champion the invaluable work DfID does and ensure the UK does not wane on its foreign aid commitments.
DFID's support for efforts to tackle corruption in developing countries will fall flat if the wider Government does not continue to push for global advances on tax avoidance and tax evasion. If corporations are allowed to continue profiting from the poor, and stashing the proceeds elsewhere, developing country governments will remain unable to provide basic services and their citizens will be forced to engage in petty corruption in order to survive.
The voices we heard in 2016 delivered unexpected political outcomes but I am not sure that we have yet fully understood what the message was. What is abundantly clear is that many people feel short-changed on hope. They want action. We must challenge our current circumstances both by acknowledging where we are and by calling for more and for better - better government, better funding and fairness, better life chances.Following an extraordinary year, here are my revised campaign priorities for the changed world in which we now live.
Over the last week the ever more shrill criticism of international aid found a new target - the practise of giving money directly to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people, otherwise known as cash transfers. The allegation made was that this amounted to setting up UK-funded cashpoints for the poor. However the reality is somewhat different... Giving cash directly to women like Julum and Elphine is not wasteful but it is empowering and effective. We need to be vigilant to always ensure aid money is not being misspent.