Less is more

Watching the  moving and powerful video celebrating World Humanitarian Day with the theme ‘The World Needs More’. I was struck by the thought that the world does not need more (‘aid’ etc) what the world needs is less of the causes that make ‘aid’ necessary in the first place.

Much of the work undertaken by humanitarian organisations addresses the ‘illness of poverty’. Humanitarian organisations are a little like hospitals that treat people once they are sick. It is interesting to note that in our health care system little effort and resources are put into preventative health care. We might ask the question why!Some would argue that little effort is put into preventative health care because large pharmaceutical transnational  corporations can’t make massive profits from people who are well. A lot more money can be made from treating and managing illnesses than can be made by preventing them!

Could the same be said about the interventions diagnosed to treat the ‘illness of poverty’?

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Much more than green shoots

It’s always a delight to catch up and experience again  the warmth and enthusiasm of Fabiana and Similde. Join them as they  walk us round their impeccable market  garden and discuss their ideas for further development.

A few months ago they used a VinB micro loan to install a mechanical irrigation system on their market garden,which  enabled them to increase  production and  improve the standard of living for  themselves and their two young daughters.

If making a difference to families in this way appeals then you can learn more about how the micro loan system works, and contact us if you wish to get involved.

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Help the Syrian Children

One million Syrian childen have become homeless refugees. 

This girl sheltered in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of a million Syrian children who have become refugees because of the war. © UNHCR/O.Laban-Mattei

This girl sheltered in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is one of a million Syrian children who have become refugees because of the war. © UNHCR/O.Laban-Mattei

We can help by signing the petition led by Save the Children that calls on Nick Clegg to use his speech at the United Nation’s General Assembly to urge more support for the refugees and protection for the relief workers in Syria.

Save the Children petition

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Just watching helps

Help young women to access education in Pakistan; each time you watch the presentation Sliderocket will donate to the Hoshyar-Foundation, a charity which supports the education of women.

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The deception of education

examResultsLooks like these youngsters are the winners with much to celebrate, but not according to one American student who argues a very different perspective.

We work and we borrow in order to borrow. And the jobs we work towards are the jobs we already have. Close to three quarters of students work while in school, many full time; for most, the level of employment we obtain while students is the same that awaits after graduation. Meanwhile, what we acquire isn’t education; it’s debt. We work to make money we have already spent, and our future labor has already been sold on the worst market around.[….} What we learn is the choreography of credit[…] Yesterday’s finance majors buy their summer houses with the bleak futures of today’s humanities majors. This is the prospect for which we have been preparing since grade-school.

An extract from  Learning  Futures (2011)  Keri Facer

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World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day pays  tribute to the aid workers who lost their lives as a result of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad (2003)  and the  many others who have died since  as  a result of  being involved in humanitarian work. It is also a  celebration of the spirit that moves people the world over to respond to the needs of others.

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Power cuts don’t stop Kevin

Read the remarkable story of Kevin Doe whose inspirational story of resilience and creativity was recognised and shared by David Sengeh, who runs a high school innovation competition in Sierra Leone.


At Kelvin Doe’s house in Freetown, Sierra Leone, having electricity had always been a rare event. So it might sound surprising that at the age of 10, Kelvin planned to start up a local FM radio station and started assembling some salvaged parts. How would he get the power? He would build batteries, that’s how. At the age of 13, Kelvin managed to reverse engineer a battery, using acid, soda, a piece of metal, a tin cup, and sorcerer-like intuition.

Soon Kelvin had also built a 12v generator out of old DVD players, which he used to keep his battery charged. This in turn powered an amplifier, mixing deck and FM transmitter, also put together by Kelvin with discarded parts, old bits of wire he found in the dustbin — and, of course, bits of cardboard.

You can continue the story at Amazing Stuff.  This is yet another illustration of the problem solving  talent and creativity that resides in our young people and which we overlook at our peril!

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Its a long road to poverty freedom

There is international agreement that governments will work together to reform corporate taxation and close down the opportunities for tax avoidance; a contributing factor in the rise of poverty. Discussions have progressed to debating the best mechanism for this Destination Taxation’ or ‘Unitary Taxation.

Heartening thought this is, the reality is that individual governments are making little progress on abolishing Tax Havens, a barrier long recognised as a serious impediment to the development of poverty ridden countries.

However a glimmer of hope on another battle front came yesterday in the form of a consultation document that focuses on the regulation of high-risk promoters who provide support and products on corporate tax avoidance. (some of which are said to place interns into HMRC)

These little glimmers of hope are like a two way highway with a convoy of delivery vans carrying the reforms and legislation to create a more just world travelling in one direction whilst travelling in the opposite direction is a convoy of juggernauts carrying the high goal of profit and protectionism to the rich men in their castles. One such juggernaut is the current brokering of a Trans Pacific trade agreement between America and Australia, both of which identify themselves as based on the model of western ‘free trade’, and Asian countries based on a kind of ‘state capitalism’ in which the state has a significant role. America and Australia in the name of free trade, which is somewhat hypocritical given their protectionism of agriculture and the state rescue of banks, wants to impose conditions to make transactions ‘fair’ but which would have far reaching implications for developing countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore whose economy and development policies are interdependent. The discussions take place in secret so lets hope this juggernaut gets hijacked.

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Great wisdom can found in simple stories. This is a story that really speaks to me.

Chi-ping is a subsistence farmer in ancient China. He relies on his horse to plough the fields and take produce to market.

One day Chi-ping goes to the stable to find that his horse has bolted. His neighbours rush round and say: ‘Oh Chi-ping, what are you going to do – how are you going to plough your fields and get your produce to market. This is bad news! Chi-ping responds by saying: Good news, bad news, who knows! The next day Chi-ping gets up very early. When he arrives in the fields he finds that his horse has returned with a herd of wild horses. His neighbours rush round and say: ‘Wow Chi-ping, your horse has returned with many more horses, this is good news! Again Chi-ping responds by saying: ‘Good news, bad news, who knows! The next day Chi-ping’s eldest son tries to break in one of the wild horses, he is thrown and breaks his leg. Good news, bad news, who knows! For the next day war breaks out in China and all able bodied young men have to go to war. Chi-ping’s son his laid up in bed with a broken leg and can’t go to war. Good news, bad news, who knows!

For me this story speaks many truths on many different levels. Any thoughts!

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If you watch nothing else…..watch this!

Get ready to be charmed, heart warmed and uplifted by a charity advert that is so different.

An amazing video because it allows Kenya the opportunity to be proud; full of excitement, colour, and promise and all communicated through the joy of a little boy.

So refreshing and yet so powerful because we are challenged by knowing that the odds of him surviving to become a Maasai warrior are stacked against him through the structures and systems that cause and perpetuate water insecurity.

Thank you to Water is Life for making the video.

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