Making change happen: Collaboration, and the power of Storytelling

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Children reading Lafaek Community Magazine. Photo Credit Sarah Rippin/CARE

I’ve been working in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor) this week, and it’s been a privilege as always to spend time in new surrounds. More so when stationed one hundred metres from the sea, with spectacular daily sunsets, and some of the tastiest coffee money can buy. 

Timor is an island, just a short hop north of Darwin, Australia, and up until quite recently, following 500 years of Portuguese occupation, was an Indonesian colony (between 1975 and 1999). The western side of the island is still governed by Indonesia. Timor-Leste claimed its independence in 2002.

Like so many other countries in 2016, Timor-Leste is experiencing the effects of the current El Nino droughts, disrupting the country’s wet season and ruining harvesting potential. A topic covered on this site back in March during my time in Ethiopia.

My assignment this week, however, has been to support CARE’s work to engage more with private sector companies in Timor-Leste (banks, retail, media and others) and examine ways in which, together, initiatives and relationships can be forged to tackle some of the social and economic challenges the country faces – poor infrastructure, lack of employment opportunities, issues around food security and nutrition, financial literacy, to name a few. Even without a more severe El Nino year, Timor-Leste is dealing with all of these mini crises combined.     Continue reading “Making change happen: Collaboration, and the power of Storytelling”

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Generosity of Thought (Dan Pallotta TEDTalk)


“Reinventing the way humanity thinks about changing things”…

Bravo to that.

Raising the bar on tax

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What can you do today that will make a difference?

George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, was front page news yesterday, receiving positive plaudits from Action Aid and the ONE Campaign, as well as from other organisations also not known for being routinely generous with such public praise.

The story in question centres around how large corporations have skillfully dodged paying taxes to poorer countries in which they conduct business.  Osborne used his attendance at a G20 meeting of finance ministers to make UK Govt commitments to a “new agenda of transparency” that will move towards stamping out skillful tax dodging by said corporations.

At the same time, he took the opportunity, quite rightly, to reinforce his government’s own pledge to increase to 0.7% (of GNI – gross national income) the funds it spends on international development programmes around the world.

The argument against increasing this UK “aid” budget has been made time and again since the Conservatives took office nearly 3 years ago, and no doubt Osborne’s piece in the Observer will not go down well with many.  Whilst 0.7% is a small percentage compared to other government budgets, it still amounts to tens of millions of pounds of tax payers’ money.  All other public sector budgets have been cut and, last year, the UK economy flat-lined, triple dipping back into recession. Continue reading “Raising the bar on tax”