Every child in the developing world is a Malala

NB: Before you start flaming me and criticising me for this post, think through before you comment.

So across the last few years, Malala Yousafzai has been seen by many in the development community as the golden child of development. People such as Gordon Brown, Ban Ki-Moon and the Clintons have praised her courage (after being shot in the head by the Taliban) and her activism. She is the shining example against tyranny, terrorism, the child of development, blah, blah, blah…

What about those children who face violence, assault, or pain everyday? What about children who can’t even reach half of Malala’s age? What about those handicapped or maimed for life children and adults who can’t get the sort of recovery/treatment that Malaala received in Birmingham? Or that sort of upbringing or education? They might have also have campaigned for children’s education, education in general, human rights, girl’s rights etc etc. But they weren’t as “lucky” as Malala to get the treatment, the recognition, the fame, the acknowledgement.

I recognise activism and courage. But I don’t get why one girl should be fawned upon.

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A reason to maintain/increase both UK development and defence budgets


Read and understand

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No, no, no, it does not turnupsavelives

The 0.7% fetish reached its zenith today as the 0.7% bill by Michael Moore was passed today see this twitter announcement. Great, an archaic target is reached by the UK 45 years after it was not legally enshrined in the United Nations. This is a short post as I’ve said much about the 0.7 “fetish” that UK parliamentarians (most UK parliamentarians, there are those against it) have regarding this poor constituted aid target. Come rain or shine, good or bad economies, great or terrible development environments, the UK will provide 0.7% x its GDP (which changes) as Official Development Assistance. It does not save lives, it does not immediately improve development, it is not the golden bullet for development but no, the UK parliament has agreed to this outdated and quite irrelevant target.


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When Google helps, Mary Creagh’s Written Questions

The new and last Shadow Secretary of State for International Development (unless the Labour Party loses the 2015 General Election), posted similar written question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Department for International Development. The question(s) was/were:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much his Department allocated to the Conflict Pool in (a) 2014-15 and (b) each of the five previous financial years.

Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department allocated to the Conflict Pool in (a) 2014-15 and (b) each of the five previous financial years.

Department for International Development
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much her Department allocated to the Conflict Pool in (a) 2014-15 and (b) each of the five previous financial years.

Creagh got her answers from all three departments–FCO, MOD and the DFID It reveals that the Conflict Pool, soon to be the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) (see page 133 of the British Army Journal 2004) IS NOT funded by any or all of the three departments but by HM Treasury.

Yet this question is easily google-ble. Check it out (Conflict Pool Treasury Funding and Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Funding. It’s so easy and the information is provided by the long established Independent Committee for Aid Impact and other organisations. Isn’t this a waste of time asking a question which can be google-ed? And not forgetting that the question has been asked before!! (See this question by Bob Ainsworth a Labour Party Colleague. Do Shadow Ministers just aimlessly ask written questions?!

Note: Once again I am not a member of any UK political party.

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Shuffling your cards: From Harriet to Mary

First came Harriet Harman, who didn;t really shadow much of DFID (in my view).

Then came Ivan Lewis, who knew DFID from his past, but DF..it during debates.

The came Jim Murphy, Scot and not much change to relate (to)

Now comes Mary (Creagh) (sorry, I can’t think of a good poem/rhyme)

How has Miliband really focused on International/Global Development?

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the UK Labour Party or any political party in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

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Will the post-2015 goals be any use?

Originally posted on Phil Vernon's blog:

The post-2015 development goals need show how to reduce fragility and increase resilience in conflict-prone contexts. They also need to be designed as a system of genuine incentives for participation and transformation.


The UN’s Open Working Group is nearing the end of its work and will soon make its recommendations for a set of global goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) next year. These will, presumably, guide people and institutions across the world in determining how to continue building increasingly prosperous, well-governed, secure, healthy, just, equal, well-educated and well-adjusted societies over the next fifteen years. As if this were not enough, they will also – presumably – attempt to square the circle between shared economic growth and sustainability, during a time when population and consumption demand continue to rise rapidly. Oh, and they also somehow need to accommodate the very different political perspectives of countries as diverse as…

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Soft Power

Originally posted on Phil Vernon's blog:

The House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s influence published its report this week, comeplete with mind map and pages and pages of evidence.


Their report urges the UK government and others with influence to continue to maximise the UK’s international influence through “soft” channels, and recognises the wide ranging ways in which UK institutions are networked for good in the world. The report appears to recognise the end of the Western domination and recommends the UK to be part of the way the worlds governance is changing. It also suggests a formal review to learn the lessons of the Afghanistan adventure, and suggests that “smart power” is the better way forward.

I appeared before the committe for International Alert, and we also submitted written evidence as follows:

Written evidence submitted to the House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s…

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