In 2010 Jason McCue, Mariella Frostrup and I had an idea. It was more of a question really. Why, when it is proven that when women are brought into the economic and political debate there is a visible and positive change, are there no laws protecting women around the developing world?
Violence against girls and women is a global pandemic. One in three women is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime, a statistic that shames us all. It is the most widespread form of systemic abuse and there is no evidence that levels are decreasing. It is an issue that the Huffington Post has been committed to highlighting and has been the subject of many recent Parliamentary debates. MP Bill Cash is currently taking an excellent Bill through the parliamentary process that if it becomes law will legally require DFID to makes sure that gender equality is considered before providing aid.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening has recently announced that Britain will more than double its investment in promoting economic growth in developing countries, to help end their dependency on aid.
While the seasons and the landscape change in Syria, so much about the country's protracted conflict is unchanging and unrelenting. Thousands of people killed each month, atrocities on both sides, and thousands more fleeing the country as refugees. Millions living in limbo, some out of reach of humanitarian aid, when all they want is peace and a chance for normal life to resume.
On Friday morning, MPs in the House of Commons will have the chance to debate a Bill that could ensure that the UK becomes a trailblazer for gender equality for the rest of the world.
2013 has been a year of tremendous progress for the malaria campaign globally and locally. We are delighted with the UK cross party support for the malaria campaign. Parliamentarians can see the value of sustaining its prosecution, and the public appear to share our conviction that it is unacceptable in the twenty first century for children to die for want of treatment costing less than £1...
Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Women and girls are even more at risk in crisis situations, particularly flood, famine, and conflict.
No plans yet for a British development bank. That was the response from Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, to the International Development Select Committee last week. It's a welcome answer and one that will reassure many of us in the development community who have been questioning the rationale for the UK getting into the bank business.
Friday is the Day of the Girl - a moment to recognise that children, especially girls, despite their own enormous determination, often face insurmountable challenges to fulfilling their potential. They face wholly undeserved social, cultural and economic barriers. Although there are more obvious girl-specific barriers, in much of Africa malaria is one of the greatest single obstacles to the fulfilment of a girl's potential - and one of the cheapest to remedy. Not only is it one of the biggest killers of children under five (around half a million children a year in Africa), but for those who survive the bout of malaria, it can be recurrently debilitating for years afterwards.
Syria's brutal conflict has killed over 100,000 people, driven seven million from their homes and created the worst refugee crisis for a generation. I intend to welcome the Prime Minister's recent vow to lead the world in aid for the Syrian people, and to ask the Secretary of State to ensure that no stone is left unturned in diplomatic efforts to improve humanitarian access and bring about peace talks.
On 23 September, the UK Government announced its contribution to the Global Fund and we got a step closer to the day when no child dies from Aids, TB or malaria. The UK has pledged £1billion over the next three years - providing the overall target of $15billion is met from other governments and donors.
Imagine you woke up tomorrow and heard on the news that a prominent woman MP here in Britain had been kidnapped along with her two daughters. It would be utterly shocking. Now imagine it's a few weeks later and you hear that another female parliamentarian, a member of the House of Lords for example, has narrowly escaped an attack in which her daughter was killed. But this is exactly what's happened in Afghanistan this summer.
As the leaders of the world's twenty most powerful nations are flocking to St Petersburg, the UK's international development secretary, Justine Greening, made a valiant effort to reduce the toxic political fallout of her prime minister's fiasco over British policy vis-à-vis Syria this week - and perhaps also to save her own skin after failing to vote for the government's motion.
Downing Street has confirmed that Conservative MP, Jesse Norman, will leave its policy board after abstaining in last week's vote on Syria. The decision to fire the influential Tory is being attributed to the necessity of retaining party discipline and highlighting the fact that three-line whips are to be treated with the utmost respect. However, this sudden dismissal begs many questions...
There is a palpable fear across Lebanon. The country has seen war and knows what it looks like. Sectarian violence has increased in recent months, and as refugees keep arriving the expectation is that the number could double by Christmas. Lebanon's future is now intimately tied with Syria's, and a solution to the conflict in Syria must be found for the entire region.
By failing to include legislation to enshrine the 0.7% aid commitment in law in today's Queens speech this Tory-led Government has once again broken a Coalition Agreement promise. Both the Tories and Lib Dems have failed to honour a promise which was in their respective 2010 election manifestos.