A colleague of mine working on the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework said only last week "we get the chance for deep thought in the development sector once every 20 years, let's not waste it". Judging by the speech to UK civil society organisations, Ivan Lewis MP, shadow secretary of state for international development, is seizing the moment.
Today we celebrate volunteers and volunteering across the world. But for us this is not just a celebration of volunteers as a token, 'useful' contribution to enable the paid staff to carry on with their work; but as true partners, fellow family members working together to bring lasting change to people who are in pain.
It was clear from the 250 people who attended the panel's outreach meeting on Friday afternoon that we are indeed a diverse bunch. And rightly so - we are meant to be 'civil society', and if our claims to represent the more than one billion who live in poverty are to be taken seriously, we need to represent that range of complex inter-related needs.
There are an estimated 70,000 school-aged blind children in China - most living in rural areas and villages. The schools which offer special education for VI children are predominantly located in the major cities hundreds or thousands of miles away. A casual visitor to Shanghai, an incredible economic powerhouse of a city, might wonder how such a plight could be possible.