I am pleased to have been picking up some very interesting and mixed work.
1. New African Chapter for the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank(PNoWB)
Following approval by the Department for International Development, I have now been engaged by PNoWB as Director of African Chapters to stimulate the formation of 3 new African Chapters of Parliamentarians for PNoWB – the first has just been established for West Africa at a meeting of parliamentarians in Mali.
The next will be in Southern Africa and the following one in Central Africa. I shall also be seeking to support the existing Chapter in East Africa and liaise with the Middle East and North Africa Chapter (MENA). The objective is to build the capacity of parliaments and parliamentarians to tackle such issues as Poverty Reduction Strategies. Part of my job, will be to put MPs in touch with resources in the developed world, including its parliaments, that can help them genuinely to tackle poverty and reclaim the poverty space that should be theirs.
On this three year project, DFID provides the funds to establish the Chapters and provide running costs for the first year by which time the Chapters will be expected to have found the resources to sustain the work. This is what the East Africa Chapter has done.
At the launch of the West Africa Chapter, it was decided it was decided to press ahead with the formation of national groups by the member countries in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – their job will be to pick up with the World Bank, IMF, donors and national governments the issues related to anti-poverty strategies and pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals. It was also decided to undertake work at the regional level on Peace and Reconstruction, HIV/Aids, Education and Agriculture. These groups will investigate what is happening in the countries of the region and use their findings to press for progress. We shall also be putting the Chapters in touch with organisations in both Africa and elsewhere that can provide resources to help the work.
(More details on the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank can be found at www.pnowb.org )
2. Consultant to USAID funded Legislative Strengthening Program in Pakistan
I am working with Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) on this project which is funded for the next two years to build legislative capacity in the Pakistan Senate, National Assemblies and 4 Provincial Assemblies. We are currently working on such important parliamentary mechanisms as the use of question time in holding governments to account, parliamentary privilege and codes of conduct for MPs and Ministers. Since independence, Pakistan’s parliamentarians have been crushed between military control and dominating executives. Again, secure democracy will only be achieved when legislators claim their rightful democratic place.
(for more details of this project see www.dai.com)
3. Plan International Global Advocacy Forum
Plan International’s representatives from around the world recently came together to decide on the direction of Plan’s global advocacy work through to 2010. I was asked to help them on how to go about their advocacy work with parliamentarians.
(for more information on Plan International see www.plan-international.org )
4. Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich (NRI)
Gratifyingly, the World’s donors have recently rediscovered the importance of agricultural productivity in the fight against poverty. Because of my interest in this area, I was asked by NRI to chair its Advisory Group on how it should be responding to the changing situation so that the great human resources of NRI can be used more fully and skilfully than in recent years to ensure that first world agricultural science and technology comes to the effective help of poorer countries.
I have recently completed a report for NRI which makes many recommendations about the relationship between DFID and NRI and other agricultural institutes; about a new style and partnership of funding; about the need for NRI and others to get closer to NEPAD and other African organisations and about new areas in which NRI should be involved. I hope this document is helping NRI and DFID to adjust to a new situation in which there will be more money for agricultural science but differently used money.
(for more information about the Natural Resources Institute, see www.nri.org )
I am also enjoying my work with two NGOs which tackle neglected but obvious areas – firstly I serve on the council of Book Aid International which for decades has been effectively and professionally sending books where they are most needed. We promise universal primary education but then forget the books.
(find out about Book Aid International’s work at www.bookaid.org)
Secondly, I am a trustee of a new NGO, SafeHands, which focuses on that most neglected Millennium Development Goal, cutting maternal mortality. We are particularly working in Ethiopia where only 5% of births have a skilled birth attendant present.
(For more detail on this work see www.safehands.org)
Please contact me:
Office: 24 Cleddans Crescent
Telephone: 44 (0) 1389 873195
Fax: 44 (0) 1389 873195
Mobile: 44 (0) 7802 403783
Last updated 8th April 2007