Archive for February 2009

Martin Leach
Posted 27 February 2009
‘Where’s Rwanda, then?’ asked Terry the packer as he loaded my seven cardboard boxes into his red van.  We looked at a map of central Africa and found the small landlocked country, wedged between its giant neighbours the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.  It’s the size of Wales, with three times the population. [...]

Colum Wilson
Posted 26 February 2009
We are in the shanty side-streets of Paoua, where crumbling buildings patched with tin crowd in on dusty alleys, and where skinny cats patrol. I am sitting with a group of thirty women, and their attention is focussed on two metal boxes in the middle of the circle. They are money boxes, one painted red and [...]

Adam Smith
Posted 23 February 2009
In May last year the Prime Minster launched the Business Call to Action (BCtA), an initiative that encourages companies to think about new business ideas that can help to alleviate poverty in poorer countries. CEOs of some of the world's largest multinationals signed the BCtA declaration, stating their commitment to work together and take action to help [...]

Colum Wilson
Posted 20 February 2009
I was thinking again about that local official in Paoua. He has another constraint – he can’t even get to see the area he administers. It's quite in contrast with my own role - I am traveling right across this region to make sure our relief efforts are working and to see what can be [...]

Colum Wilson
Posted 19 February 2009
As I flew in to the north west of the country today, the plane banked sharply and circled as it came in to land. On the ground, on the bumpy, dusty bit of cleared bush that acts as a runway, soldiers moved about, dragging large pieces of detritus - old barrels, cast-off wheels, dead trees. [...]

Neil Squires
Posted 18 February 2009
One of the important side meetings of the International Health Partnership meeting in Geneva last week was between Michel Kazatchkine, the executive director of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria (GFATM) and Mozambique's Minister of Health, Paulo Ivo Garrido. The offices of GFATM are situated in a less than inspiring, industrial part [...]

Ian Attfield
Posted 17 February 2009
Recently I spent 3 days travelling in the far NW of Nigeria to the State of Sokoto, once the heart of the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate (kingdom), which ruled much of the interior of W. Africa in the 19th Century.  Sokoto has long been renowned for its religious scholarship and even today the Sultan of Sokoto [...]

Neil Squires
Posted 16 February 2009
I got the strong impression last week that Margaret Chan, the dynamic leader of the World Health Organization is a closet karaoke singer! In order to highlight that partnership between agencies, developing countries, financing partners and between governments and civil society has to be based on trust, she sang a few lines of the song ‘getting [...]

Neil Squires
Posted 13 February 2009
I packed Barack Obama's autobiography ‘The audacity of hope' for a trip from Maputo to Geneva which I made this last week. What a great read! I am a bit of a nervous flyer - sweaty palms as soon as we hit a bit of turbulence, you probably know the type - but I managed [...]

Ian Attfield
Posted 12 February 2009
Approaching 2pm on Friday, the next event on the road home was a much more welcome spectacle, Friday prayers. A predominately male crowd surge along the roadside towards the local mosque, most in Hausa robes, with some clasping prayer mats.  Outside the mosques the local community Hizbaa Islamic police provide a useful service on traffic [...]