Monday, 5 July 2021

Equal Times: Clinical waste workers: unprotected, untrained, underpaid and undervalued


"It was an accident that could have been avoided. While a waste collector was incinerating infectious waste at Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone’s principal adult referral centre in the capital Freetown, a spark shot out of the intense furnace into his eye and destroyed it..."

In low and middle income countries, managing clinical waste is a dangerous job. Read the full story on Equal Times.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Devex - The looming waste crisis that will follow COVID-19 vaccinations

By the end of 2021, the COVAX Facility hopes to deliver at least 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries. Laid end-to-end, this amount of single-use syringes and needles could circle the world multiple times. During the COVID-19 outbreak in Hubei Province, China, in 2020, infectious medical waste increased by 600% from 40 to 240 tons per day, according to the Asian Development Bank. 

As countries race to vaccinate their populations, the amount of hazardous, clinical waste they produce will rise. In places where formal waste collection systems are generally poor, experts warn of a looming crisis...

Read the full story on

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Letters From Lockdown

A Covid chronicle is a 400 word long account of personal experiences during the first national lockdown in England from March 2020, played on BBC Radio 4's PM show. My piece about home schooling three under 5s was included in this book, which brought together a collection of chronicles. I was so honoured to be among such moving, inspiring and honest windows into people's lives. 

Letters From Lockdown

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Investigation: Inside a London recycling centre – what really happens to rubbish

"The chaos of Britain’s recycling system is exposed today with hundreds of thousands of tons of waste being redirected to landfill or incinerators.

"Despite residents sorting their household waste into separate bins, up to half of “recyclable” material is not being recycled in some areas of England, government data shows.

"It comes as an undercover investigation by The Telegraph and Unearthed reveals staff at a recycling centre in London are sending recyclable plastic and paper to be incinerated..."

I was part of the investigation team that exposed poor recycling practices and working conditions at a London waste processing plant.

Read the full stories on the Daily Telegraph here and here, and on Unearthed

Friday, 4 January 2019

Managing equality and diversity in early years education - series for Nursery World

This nine-part series explores how educators of under-fives can ensure their practice is non-discriminatory towards children, their families, and staff.

Each month looks at a different area:
1. Introduction
2. Age
3. Special educational needs and disability
4. Sexual orientation
5. Race and ethnicity
6. Language and culture
7. Religion and belief
8. Gender
9. Poverty and class.

Read the series as it's published at Nursery World

Friday, 12 October 2018

Could a global register of aid workers prevent sexual abuse?

Since revelations about Oxfam in February sparked a slew of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, agencies have been scrambling to design new policies to ensure such incidents are consigned to the past.

Creating a global register of aid workers is among several proposals made by the United Kingdom government and development organizations to improve standards and restore trust. Two groups are currently working to scope out how such a register might work in practice: One organized by international development network Bond, which is set to report at the Department for International Development’s International Safeguarding Summit on Oct. 18; the other convened by Save the Children, with experts from NGOs including Christian Aid, Oxfam, CARE International, and CAFOD, which is feeding into the Bond group...


Read the full story on

Monday, 19 March 2018

How are early education settings outside the UK tackling deprivation?

Globally almost half of all three- to six-year-old children (159 million) are deprived of access to pre-primary education, according to the World Bank. This is despite worldwide recognition that a child’s first years provide a window of opportunity to prevent future inequality.

Investing in this area improves children’s cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional skills, and makes them more likely to learn better at primary school and to earn higher wages later as adults.

This article looked at four examples, in Peru, Uganda, India and Costa Rica.

Read the full story on Nursery World

Friday, 26 May 2017

Equal Times - Period pains: Menstrual Hygiene Day to raise global awareness on how traditions impact education and employment

When 15-year-old Roshani Tiruwa lay down to sleep close to an open fire in a small mud hut last December, she was unaware that the smoke from the fire would suffocate her. Why was such a young girl sleeping alone just metres from her family home? Because Roshani was on her period.

Her death on 16 December was the second within a month in Nepal’s western Achram district caused by women being banished from their family homes because of cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation. Dambara Upadhyay, 21, was found dead in a hut on 19 November under similar circumstances, according to various news reports.

The ancient Hindu practice of chaupadi considers menstruating women to be impure. Those who uphold the practice forbid women and girls from touching men or even entering their own homes, and prohibit them from eating certain foods. Disastrous consequences are believed to follow transgression, such as crop failure…

Read the full story on Equal Times.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Former DfID political adviser on UK aid direction and his new role at Plan International UK

Before our interview, Simon Bishop — recently appointed director of policy and programs at Plan International U.K. — insists that the topic of his previous employer is off-limits.

As a special political adviser to the United Kingdom’s former Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, Bishop spent two and a half years providing political, policy and media advice that shaped the direction of the government’s development strategy.

Although some of the controversial policies announced by the Department for International Development since Greening and Bishop left in July last year may have been gestating while he was in the post, Bishop refuses to comment on them. “Mischievous journalists can turn that into nice headlines,” he told Devex. “I've got to be careful”…

Read the full story on

Monday, 24 April 2017

Could unemployed youth solve the health care worker crisis?

According to the World Health Organization40 million new health and social care jobs must be created globally by 2030 to meet Sustainable Development Goal 3 of universal health coverage. At the same time, global youth unemployment reached 71 million in 2016, according to International Labour Organization data. Could the two problems be used to solve each other?

Director of the Health Workforce Department at the WHO Jim Campbell believes they could. He says it’s time to “join the dots” between the shortage of health care workers and young unemployed people. Campbell told Devex that development practitioners need to approach the solution in a non-traditional way, and create new training models for the next cohort of skilled health professionals.

It is already happening in some countries, he says. Afghanistan and Ethiopia have both created accelerated training programs to help get more young people into health care. And while there may not be specific pots of money available for health training for youth, he points out that many international funding organizations have marked out job creation or health and education as priorities…

Read the full story on Devex.