Despite the fact that there are still some signs of the earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital city, nearly three and a half years ago, new buildings are going up everywhere and the sounds of drills and hammers provide an apt soundtrack everywhere we go. There is a sense of ordered chaos in Port au Prince, where the traffic jams last for miles and people hop on and off Tak-Taks that lurch from the pavement and back into the traffic with little notice, if any, given to other drivers.
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With temperatures consistently around 30 degrees even in January, Zimbabwe is not somewhere you might expect a cold sweat to break out.
But all too often it does, trickling down the neck of those who know their lives will never be the same again after the next few moments.
On 10 January 2010 when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, Fr Kawas Francois led one of the first emergency response units to be on the scene, helping to rescue people and relocate them to safer places along with fellow Jesuit priests. The Jesuit house also became a distribution centre for water and food as well as medical teams meeting the basic needs of those caught up in the destruction that the earthquake caused.
With results finally confirmed in Somaliland’s local elections, held on November 28th 2012, the international election observation mission assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) congratulates the people of Somaliland and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on a lively and enthusiastic election campaign and voting process.
However, in advance of writing our final report, to be released in mid-2013, we must also report a number of substantial concerns.
What do we mean when we talk about getting people’s voices heard in the places where decisions are made?
We had a chance to do just this in November when the UK hosted a high-powered UN panel who’ve been asked to kick off the planning process for developing new poverty reduction goals. Progressio was lucky enough to get a last-minute invitation to the sessions that panelists as diverse as the activist Tawakul Karman from Yemen, South Africa’s Graca Machel, and Unilever’s Chief Executive Paul Polman held with civil society organisations.
Update 13 December 2012: A small presence of IEO members has remained in Hargeisa following the elections. Disputes around results are currently being investigated by authorities in Somaliland. The IEO team is awaiting more news about this process before making any further statements regarding the conduct and results of the election.
This week the High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is meeting in London. Each of the Panel’s co-chairs will host a meeting discussing a particular theme, which will inform the Panel’s final report, to be published in May 2013. First up is David Cameron who will host the HLP in London between Tuesday and Friday, when discussions will focus on ‘household poverty’.
Lacoliu village (or ‘suco’, as it’s called in Tetum) is unique – because as long as anyone here can remember it has had a female village chief.
Women just happen to have been elected here because they have been the best candidates with good policies. Other villagers have seen the good that the women in their community do and trust them to make good decisions for them and their families.