Big international gatherings, like last week’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York, can get a bit repetitive – the same voices, names and faces making the same statements and promises, time and again. Oxfam set up the VOICE project to try and inject some diversity and new perspectives to these events. It aims to give bloggers from around the world the chance to participate, report live, and add their own voices to the summits.
10 VOICE bloggers went to New York for the MDGs Summit, including from Uganda and Rwanda. You can read all the results here, but some of the highlights include:
- Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire argues that you can’t achieve the MDGs without involving indigenous communities, such as the Batwa in Uganda, who are still excluded socially and politically.
- She also writes about the state of education in East Africa, from the relative success of Kenya to the failures in Somalia
- Rwandan blogger Nkunda argues that respect for human rights is vital if African countries are to achieve the MDGs – yet these rights are often overlooked in discussions about development.
- Conflict in some parts of Africa – particularly DR Congo – also gets overlooked, says Nkunda, with major implications for the MDGs.
- Rosebell also gets a few minutes with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and questions her on Africa’s MDG performance
Some of the other bloggers addressed more global issues about aid and development:
- Does aid work? That’s the question posed by influential UK blogger Anthony Painter
- Jonathan Calder, another British blogger and a former politician, takes a look at the idea of the Robin Hood Tax (aka the Tobin Tax, aka the Financial Transaction Tax) – a proposal to raise money for development
- Central Asia-based development blogger Alanna Shaikh provides some great final thoughts on the summit, including the rise of self-interest over altruism in international development
- Finally, what would a development blog project be without a look at how social media and new technologies are trying to help realise the MDGs. Jonathan Calder looks at the Umovement