Millions of girls around the world live and work on the streets as a direct result of poverty. They are surviving with next to nothing, denied their basic rights, vulnerable, scared and alone. Many, having left home to escape abuse, are also now at greater risk of sexual abuse, sex trafficking and prostitution. Marginalised within society, they are invisible and amongst the hardest to reach and protect.
There is a saying that goes "when you educate a girl, you educate a nation". And research by Unicef indeed shows that investing in girls and empowering them to reach their full potential is critical for overcoming cycles of intergenerational poverty*. Yet today around the world girls and women still face significant barriers to social and economic empowerment.
We still have work to do. Alan left enormous shoes to fill. But we're heading some way to living up to his legacy. Bringing the benefits of the digital age to those who need it most, by creating training and volunteering opportunities in the UK and promoting the transition towards a circular economy in Scotland whilst improving access to education in rural African communities.
There is no point trying to deny it any longer: the election of Donald Trump has made the world a much more dangerous place. Suppose you are a national leader with ambitions that run counter to the interests of the US or of the Western powers more generally. With the EU in disarray, and a buffoon in the White House, what better opportunity will you have to put your plans into action?
For all of the thousands of news stories on Donald Trump's presidential win, it's fair to say there's very little clarity on what his presidency is likely to mean for human rights. Either within the USA, or around the world. We're all working with scant evidence and a lot of speculation... Essentially, though, the problem is two-fold. First, the USA's human rights record is already poor in manifold ways and urgently needs improvement. And second, Trump's turbo-charged rhetoric suggests an impatience with the rule of law and international standards.
The facts are irrefutable: a dangerous racist who is openly misogynistic is now president of the most powerful country in the world. What is more, Trump has repeatedly denied climate change and his election creates a gaping uncertainty over how we now take on the greatest single threat we all face. But instead of giving way to fear, now is the time to organise.
When the hurricane struck, communities banded together to ensure the most vulnerable - children and the elderly - were carried to safety. Once in temporary shelters it was women who mobilised to pool resources and ensure everyone was fed. They also made sure that teenage girls and single women slept away from the men, to ensure their safety.