The British Government's decision to end aid to South Africa reflects a misunderstanding of the current state of global poverty which threatens to undermine development efforts so far. Clearly, these countries have not eradicated poverty. If wealthy countries are to contribute to development and the end of poverty, we must stop ignoring inequality.
Back in the city we meet with ex-prostitutes who have been rescued and are trying to transition to a new life. One young girl's father was murdered by trafficking criminals, so unhappy were they over the loss of 'property' and revenue.There's not much mercy to be found in the heart of the slave holder; even in Varanasi, the city of salvation.
Despite malnutrition causing a third of child deaths, new research published this week highlights that nutrition programmes are chronically underfunded - with only 0.37% of total aid spent on basic interventions that are deemed to have huge benefits for children and for economic growth.
If you have never heard of stunting, you are by no means alone. A vast human tragedy, it is one of the least reported, least recognized, least understood issues before us. Stunting, caused by chronic under nutrition early in a child's life, blights the lives of some 165million children around the world. It is far more than a problem of inadequate growth/height for these children. It can trap them in a lifetime cycle of poor nutrition, illness, poverty and inequity. Why? Because stunted growth in the first months of a child's life means stunted development of the brain and thus, of cognitive capacity. Permanently.
Children's present and future is impacted upon by their country's economic health... their government's policies and ability to take decisions that work actively to prioritise and protect young people's lives are equally significant. All societies agree in principle that the health and the well-being of children is a priority. But there is a very hard-headed case to be made as well for the priorities that need to be attached to child well-being. If a society neglects its children... then that neglect is associated with a long list of adverse consequences in later life, affecting both the individual, and wider society.