The story of two teenage girls raped and murdered in India this spring while looking for a discreet place to relieve themselves outdoors made headlines around the world. Sadly, their situation is far from unique. Half a billion women and girls - 15% of females worldwide - are forced to do this every day simply because they do not have access to a toilet. This crisis risks women's health, and threatens their safety. The new Indian government was moved to act following the tragedy of the two Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh, pledging zero tolerance for acts of violence against women. Their statement is welcome. However, protecting women from harassment and attack will not happen overnight.
Traces of cocaine in our tap water, screamed recent newspaper headlines in the UK. It's alarming, despite reassurances that these are miniscule amounts that pose no risk. But imagine the headlines were about deadly pathogens like E. coli or cholera, and that even these miniscule amounts could harm adults and kill children.
You may be surprised to learn that over the past decade, a third of the money pledged by aid donors for water and sanitation has failed to be delivered. That's US$27.6 billion out of the US$81.2 billion committed since 2002. This is a staggering amount of money. It could have helped hundreds of millions of people gain access to water and sanitation.
Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks, flavoured lattes, or plain old sugary tea and coffee; drink these regularly and don't be too surprised if you are carrying excess weight. Looking for a painless way to shrink your muffin top? Ditch the liquid calories and start drinking zero energy water (that's the stuff that comes free out of the tap).
If you have any doubt as to why we think the UK's Department for International Development should prioritise disability, look no further than the situation of Esther Cheelo. Blind, elderly and with difficulty walking, Esther has for years relied upon a child to walk her into the scrubland near her home in Zambia to find a place to relieve herself, a humiliating and sometimes dangerous experience...