I believe that if children are to enjoy their right to an education they must be taught by teachers who are properly trained and supported. There is a pressing need to consider how best to train teachers - both new teachers and up-skilling the large numbers of currently unqualified and under-qualified teachers through in-service training.
Virunga is the continent's oldest national park, with more mammals, reptiles and birds than any other protected area in Africa. As well as being the home to such a diverse range of wildlife, Virunga's natural systems sustain local communities - providing food and fresh water, energy and raw materials, plus employment opportunities, such as fishing and ecotourism.
The United Kingdom, which is now the largest bilateral donor to basic education in sub-Saharan Africa, has shown admirable leadership in meeting aid commitments and making basic education a high priority. Having assumed the presidency of the G8 this year, we encourage the UK to ensure that other G8 countries follow its lead.
Desperate to save their loved ones, families turned to traditional faith healers, running up huge debts paying for treatment that not only didn't work but was often painful and dangerous. HIV testing wasn't available, and for the few who did know they were infected, there was no support or treatment. People were dying and things seemed beyond hope. And so to people who say that that we shouldn't give aid to Africa because it's not helping, I'd say you're chatting rubbish. I've seen with my own eyes that you're wrong, aid does work. It's real and it's making a massive difference.
We are all too aware of the necessity for there to be more vigour and energy behind goals targeted at giving all children access to a free primary education. We are also aware of how important it is that additional resources, such as the new ambition behind 'Education First', are put towards helping the disadvantaged and most in need, first.