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Aid & development

Articles on humanitarian and development aid

The Dublin Review of Books: on ‘Africa’

I’ve just had this essay published in the Dublin Review of Books: Not so dark. Africa without clichés. A review of ‘Africa’, by Richard Dowden ‘Here is Dowden’s description of Angola at the height of the civil war, in the 1980s: “a marxist regime armed by the Soviet Union and protected by Cuban troops is… read more +

World Report: tragedy off the Libyan coast

Listen to a World Report on the phenomenon of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean, broadcast on April 4, 2009. Below is the original text of the report. — Smile flashed me this week. Let me clarify that. ‘Flash’ is African mobile phone slang for giving someone a missed call – letting them know you want… read more +

From Angola to Athlone: a royal tale

The official in Westmeath County Council was bemused by the name on the voter registration application. Something had to be wrong. She picked up the phone. In Athlone, Beetriz Bailundo answered. “You’ve ticked the box that says you’re Irish,” said the official. “I am Irish,” said Beetriz. The official paused. “I’m an Irish citizen,” said… read more +

Aid that works, and aid that doesn’t

The first thing that you notice when you step into a feeding centre in Africa is the stench. It is the smell of the effort to clutch onto life, fetid, desperate. It is difficult to conceive of anyone being able to put up with it for long. But, when you work in such a centre,… read more +

Interview: Steve Collins on famine relief

Steve Collins, doctor and aid worker, director of Valid International and Valid Nutrition. As told to Colin Murphy. Published in the Irish Independent. I went to Africa in the summer of 1985, on my holidays from medical school. I travelled through Uganda (where there was a coup), Congo on a bicycle, Chad (where a civil… read more +

What is the What

Originally published in the Irish Times. Posted here again now due to Valentino Achak’s Deng’s visit to Dublin. One night in the summer of 2001, I stood in a field, in thick mud, holding a clipboard and a torch. The torch showed up a row of primitive huts, and I moved from hut to hut,… read more +

From Morocco: Thanks to Smile

A shorter version of this was broadcast on RTE Radio One’s World Report on July 26 The charity’s office was clean and bare, with two pcs humming on office desks, and some generic charts on the wall. The administrator was apologetic. The director had had to leave for an urgent meeting in the capital, and… read more +

RTE Radio One World Report: From Morocco

Hear a three-minute radio essay on drownings of migrants in the Mediterranean, as broadcast on RTE Radio One’s World Report on Saturday July 26. This report was made possible by a grant from the Simon Cumbers Media Challenge Fund.

Report from Morocco: Dying to get into Europe

Published in the Sunday Tribune, June 8, 2008 “I struggled out of the water, into the rescue boat. “After some minutes, they brought out my woman. She was already dead. “Then, after some minutes, they brought out my baby. Dead too.” Eric Onaginu paid a trafficker €2,600 to ferry himself, his wife, Pat, and their… read more +

Review essay: Where Oil Is King

Aid, Trade and the Angolan Kleptocracy From the Dublin Review of Books, Summer 2008 In early 2001, in a small meeting room in a rehabilitated building in the town of Kuito, in Bié province in Angola, the local security officer for the United Nations told us of a new government policy that was likely to… read more +