The Gender Gap

For those of you out there who might think that the the gender gap is a myth, here are some statistics from Oxfam’s websites to make you think again…


Oxfam’s latest infographics also highlight the division of labour in households in 6 countries when you factorunpaid care work into the equation.

The fact is, women work longer hours than men, and get paid less, and that needs to stop.

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Coming to you live….

I believe I mentioned in my previous post that I was roped into hosting/anchoring a live talkshow here in Tacloban covering the Haiyan Candlelight Memorial.


I found out on Wednesday I was doing it, and so had very little time to practice for the 5-hour long live event on Saturday!

In spite of the nerves and jitters, we got there in the end, and it was actually really fun! During the rehearsals I had a large rat crawling across the beam in my eyeline, and I got somewhat frustrated by not having enough clear/straight answers to my questions. The producer was a lovely guy, but he has a tendency to sermonise everything and talk in riddles, which is not helpful when you have limited time…  I would ask things like “What order will the interviews and reports be in? Can I have a schedule in advance so I know what’s happening before I actually go live on-air?” and he would talk for 30 mins about humanity’s finest hour…. That was very frustrating! He also kept misunderstanding my frustration as nerves, and when I asked him to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do (like sit up, speak loudly, don’t turn your head etc) he asked me if I knew the difference between speaking and talking. I said no, not really, cos they’re synonyms, and he started singing “The Sound of Silence” to me. It was excruciating.

So as a result of that, right up to when we went live on-air, I had no idea what was happening next – there was no schedule to follow, it was more like them just waving bits of paper at me from behind a camera saying things like “Joe on the line” or “Go to Commercial” or “More energy!” Continue reading

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – 1 year on…

We are building up to the 1-year anniversary of Super-Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Haiyan), so all hands on deck, and a lot of activities going on, candlelight marches, memorial services, exhibitions, and so on.

Everyone is busy putting together summaries of our work in the last year, numbers of beneficiaries reached and support given, and advocacy messages for the coming year.

A few quick figures for you. My organisation has, in the last year, provided support to over 800,000 people, including:

  • Provided clean water, sanitation, and hygiene kits to over 500,000 people
  • Provided cash and income support to over 530,000 people
  • Distributed non-food items such as mosquito nets, tarpaulins, and mother and newborn kits to over 430,000 people
  • Supported the recovery of over 200 small businesses and micro-enterprises
  • Distributed over 8,000 sacks of rice seeds to support farmers

and many many more things as well. We’ve given out boats and cleared loads of agricultural land as well, but I don’t have the numbers handy…. Continue reading

Ebola postscript…

So, after my last rather angry tirade against the media reporting of Ebola, a few things happened that have brightened my world view a bit.

Firstly, a good friend of mine sent me this rather brilliant video which made me laugh and cheered me up no end.

Secondly, I was chatting to C, a Liberian friend of mine over here, who works for FAO, and I mentioned the plight of this unfortunate Liberian woman in America. You could have knocked me down with a feather when C laughed heartily and said “You mean Rose? You know that she’s my half sister?”. Seriously, sometimes the world is just so tiny it boggles my mind.

Then he told me a slightly depressing story about another friend of his, also Liberian, who has been working in Iraq for several months in an emergency response there. This guy flew to Kenya for a holiday (which is understandable after several months working in tough conditions in Iraq). However he was held in the airport for 3 days, before being sent back to Iraq on the grounds that he is Liberian (despite having not been anywhere near Liberia, or any contaminated people, for many months).

Thirdly, I saw this fantastic photostory profiling the brave men and women fighting ebola, and the survivors, which reminds us all where the real story is and should be. The photographs are beautiful and uplifting.