Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I Thought I Would Paint A Picture Of Daily Life Here

Emma Chase works for the micro-finance institution MicroLoan Foundation and is currently spending three months volunteering in Zambia, where she is helping to set up the partnership between MicroLoan Foundation and Lendwithcare. She has been writing about her time in Zambia in three previous blog posts ("Home away from home", "Muddy bricks and trainers" and "If it had wheels, I travelled on it!") and here is her fourth installment. This is a re-post from the MicroLoan Foundation.

It’s 17.00 and we’ve had a power cut, and no water, since 9 a.m. It’s a daily occurrence and I thought I would take the opportunity to describe to you all what life here is like; my day-to–day routine.
I wake on average between 5 and 5.30 a.m in time with the sun, to the illusive clanging of metal somewhere nearby; I’ve tried, and failed, to identify its source, and purpose! Once up I pour myself a cup of water, boiled the previous night, and say good morning to my resident spiders – I think they are a family as this past week I’ve seen half a dozen small spiders – and they entertain me with a dance around the room. 
On the way to work – Smog and poverty
I am accustomed to life here - as I navigate my way along the side of roads, jumping out of the way when a car speeds past hooting me to move, I forget that I am many miles away from home, where life is so different. I join men in smart suits (yes, suits when it is 37degrees!) walking to work, children being taken to school by elder siblings, girls and boys with music blaring from their phones walking with the arrogance of youth, men sweeping the leaves and dead flowers away from a government building, cattle on a walk, a man on his bike with a wellington on his left and a flip flop on his right, three cyclists each carrying two dead goats on the backs of their bikes, holding my breath as passing vehicles emit large plumes of dark smoke – oh wait! Not so different after all.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines - Testimonial from CARE International's Sandra Bulling

Sandra Bulling, CARE International Emergency Communications Officer, is with CARE’s Emergency Team in the areas affected by the Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Nov. 11, 2013, 19:00 local time.

“We arrived by boat at the port in Ormoc City. As soon as we stepped onto the port, we were in the middle of a disaster zone. Everything was destroyed. Tin roofing sheets were hanging off trees like wet blankets.

“All the houses along the coast are completely flattened. Everything is destroyed. Further inland, about 80 percent of the houses are roofless. About five percent of the houses are completely collapsed – these are mainly wooden houses. It seems like everyone we’ve seen has a hammer or tools in their hands, trying to repair their houses and their roofs. People are picking up poles and pieces of wood from the street. There are long queues at hardware stores, pharmacies. We waited in line for two hours to get fuel. So far the roads are okay, but it’s taking a long time to get anywhere.

© REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Monday, 4 November 2013

Financial inclusion: How can poor people have access to the financial services they need?

2.5 billion people around the world lack access to financial services such as savings accounts, access to loans,  insurance and  bank transfers.  According to the Centre for Financial Inclusion, “Access to a range of quality financial services at affordable prices, delivered with convenience and dignity, can change the course of an individual’s, family’s, or business’s future.  A full suite of financial services should be provided with quality, to all who can use them, by a range of providers”.

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