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It takes a whole village to educate a child

I visited Ghor province in Afghanistan in June 2015 as part of my work for STAGES project, one of the UK-funded Girls’ Education Challenge programmes. I went there to see the work being carried out by one of the partners, which …

Diary of an ICS volunteer: host families, hard work and hot chai

International Citizen Service volunteer Vix in her sari

Romana was a young girl when her family told her she was getting married. This is not unusual in Bangladesh; according to UNICEF, nearly two-thirds of girls are married before the age of 18 and more than a quarter of …

Public Financial Management in Afghanistan: Why does it matter? And what is UK aid doing to help?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Afghanistan, Asia, Economic Development
Picture: Christian Als/Panos

Strong public financial management (PFM) is essential to the success of any government. Without effective PFM systems, it is difficult for a government to achieve its goals and ensure that public services are delivered. PFM systems ensure that public money …

Zimbabwe: Glimmers of light on dimly lit streets..

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Africa, Infrastructure, Zimbabwe
Picture: Paul Turner/DFID

July 2013: my first week in Zimbabwe, in a taxi in Harare: “Boss, you can tell everything by the street-lights (‘boss’ being a friendly if slightly over-respectful Zimbabwean term when addressing customers)… “The street-lights….? I replied. “Sure Boss, the street-lights. …

A better future for Rwanda's youth - how Sport Relief is changing lives

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Africa, Development Debates, Economic Development
Caroline planting watermelon seeds with members of the farming cooperative. Picture: Sam Faulkner/Comic Relief

In 1994, a brutal genocide ripped Rwanda apart, robbing people of their families and loved ones. 800,000 people were killed in 100 days, and lives were destroyed. Twenty years later, Rwanda is healing from this tragedy but there’s still a …

The time is now to prevent a man-made famine in South Sudan

Lynne Featherstone meeting a young mother and child in Ganyiel, South Sudan. Picture David Shaw/DFID

I can clearly remember my first overseas visit as a DFID minister. It was just under 2 years ago, in October 2012. I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air of this new and ambitious country. …