Monday, 23 March 2015

Devex - International NGO heads call for #globaldev restructure

"Heavyweight global development leaders will call for a “tectonic shift” in the sector’s approach to development at the global civil society activists’ WorldSocial Forum meeting in Tunisia this week.

The heads of ActionAid International, Oxfam International, Greenpeace International,CIVICUS and Association for Women’s Rights in Development have together committed to adapting future work toward strengthening the power of the poorest people to challenge the wealthiest 1 percent in the world.

In a statement of intent published today, March 23, the group argues development implementers need to go “beyond tinkering” and address the “structural causes of inequality.” They warn governments across the world have fallen under the influence of corporations that have convinced them to allow actions that damage citizens, such as land grabs, tax avoidance, climate destruction and clamping down on nongovernmental organizations, civil society and unions because they threaten corporate power..."

Read the full article on

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

CYP Now - Declaration of independence: Anne Longfield, children's commissioner for England

“Over the next six years, Anne Longfield, the new children's commissioner for England, will be the leading independent voice promoting children's rights, views and interests in the country, and for some matters across the entire UK. Yet a visitor to her office may be surprised to find it located within the Department for Education's Great Smith Street building in central London. Such proximity to the department only adds to the speculation that has dogged her since being appointed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in November 2014 - namely that Longfield is too close to government.

"We do have a separate door," asserts Longfield when asked about the Office of the Children's Commissioner's (OCC) relationship with its neighbour. "We are looking for new offices and hope to be able to move later this year. It's an important symbolic issue being in a separate building."

Longfield explains that the department was forced to take up the offices 18 months ago because of a shortage of accommodation and high office prices. She also insists DfE officials cannot stop by her desk without warning. "We have our own security on the door," she says. "It's not a cosy relationship that people might be worried about…"

Read the full interview at Children &Young People Now online.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Devex - 3 key ingredients for building a peaceful generation

"Millions of young people affected by conflict around the world are trying to make their voices heard. Whether they do so peacefully depends on their inclusion in communities’ social and political development.

“If you are left out, you are filled with anger,” says Vivian Onano, a 24-year-old Kenyan activist. “The only way you can have your voice heard is by creating unrest.”

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that there are 1.8 billion young people aged 10 to 24 globally; developing this generation into peace builders is widely seen as imperative. Yet young people working on peace initiatives often lack support identifying and challenging the issues holding them back..."

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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

CYP Now - A day in the life of a pupil referral unit

"By 9am most of Kingsland School's pupils have arrived. On entering the neat, Victorian building in residential Oldham, the young people are searched, handing over mobile phones, lighters or cigarettes to cheerful reception staff for the day. As they enter the school hall, teachers greet them warmly and chat.

Some of the school's 93 pupils came early for free toast at breakfast club. If it's a Monday or Friday, they go straight to class. The rest of the week, days start with form time. But some children need a few private minutes before they are ready to learn. "If you need to have time out, they say 'Just go and have five minutes'," explains year 11 student Chantalle Kennedy, 15. "The staff sit with you, but they won't say anything until you're ready to talk. Some people just need to see the teacher cares."

"Just take five minutes" is an often-used phrase at Kingsland. As Oldham's only pupil referral unit (PRU), it caters for children permanently excluded from mainstream school, and those with medical or psychological needs. The two services are delivered in the same building by the same staff, but completely separately. The pupil support centre (PSC) is for children with undiagnosed special needs, disciplinary or behavioural issues resulting in a permanent exclusion. The specialist learning centre (SLC) takes students referred by child and adolescent mental health services, with a medical problem or who are pregnant..."

Read the full feature at Children & Young People Now online.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Devex - The future of DfID — and UK development cooperation

"To be able to respond to modern-day challenges, U.K. development agencies need to shift their focus away from aid toward greater policy coherence.

Given that the U.K. will no longer provide aid to some middle-income countries such as India, its Department for International Development should form new models of cooperation within the health, education, culture, law and science sectors. Doing so will place more emphasis on working with small organizations, rather than larger delivery partners.

These were the recommendations of a new report launched this month by the International Development Committee, where a group of influential members of Parliament argued that while aid is essential to reduce poverty and reach development and environmental goals, aid alone is not enough. Recommendations in the report were based on evidence collected over a period of seven months from more than 60 development organizations and experts.

And global development professionals should heed the messages in the report, Overseas Development Institute team leader for public goods and services Leni Wild told Devex..."

Read the full article on

Monday, 9 February 2015

Guardian - Terrorism, fines and money laundering: why banks say no to poor customers

"When people in developing countries don’t have access to a bank account, physical proximity to a bank is usually the first challenge that springs to mind, but sometimes the reason a person is unable to access a secure place to store their savings is as simple as them not having a piece of paper to prove who they are.

Banking regulations vary between countries, and some allow banks to set their own rules about what proof of identity they accept for new customers to make sure no one is excluded. In South Africa Standard Bank accepts a letter verifying a person’s address from a tribal chief for certain accounts, while Postbank offers a Mzansiaccount, which does not require any proof of address but only offers basic transactional services and has a balance limit of 25,000 South African Rand (£1,362).

However, international banking standards set by the intergovernmental Financial Action Taskforce recommend that people opening an account provide specific documents. These “know your customer” (KYC) guidelines are not new, and have prevented poorer communities from accessing bank accounts for years. But there is increasing concern that KYC is becoming more restrictive, making access to finance harder for local banks and populations and damaging developing economies’ opportunity to grow..."

Monday, 12 January 2015

Nursery World - Children's centres: Why are inspection grades suffering?

"In Ofsted's most recent children's centre inspection results, less than half achieved a good or outstanding grade. From April to June 2014 it inspected 89 centres, of which only 3 per cent achieved an overall outstanding, and 45 per cent were good. A further 42 per cent were judged as requires improvement, and 10 per cent were inadequate. 

The results for the centres, which offer support services to families with children under five in local communities, continue a declining trend since 2010 when Government funding for this provision was pooled with other early intervention funding streams. Then, the resultant Early Intervention Grant was worth about £3bn in today's prices, according to the Children's Society. In 2015, the value of the grant shared between local authorities will have halved to about £1.5bn.

The latest results represent only a small proportion of some 3,300 children's centres in England (an actual total is unclear because of 'cluster' sites). But Ofsted results from November 2013 to March 2014, from 190 centres, were similar - only three per cent outstanding and 46 per cent good.

This is a sharp fall from 2010, when between October and December Ofsted inspected 164 sites. It found 12 per cent to be outstanding and 63 per cent good. Only one per cent was inadequate. Results for children's centres are also worse than for childcare providers and schools. Between April 2014 and 30 June 2014, the watchdog inspected 4,952 childcare providers and awarded 74 per cent an overall good or outstanding grade.

Between September 2013 and 31 August 2014, Ofsted inspected 6,469 maintained schools (including nursery, primary, secondary, special and pupil referral units). It judged 63 per cent good or outstanding.

So why are children's centres performing so badly?.."

Read the full story on the Nursery World website