After a short work-week, it’s time again for our line-up of weekend reading. Here’s what the Bread and Water for Africa UK team has been scrolling this week related to aid, Africa, and the internet:

On Africa Day, UN chief spotlights continent’s achievements, reflects on challenges of 2015

Monday, 25th May was Africa Day – a day to commemorate the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity. While it is only acknowledged as a national holiday in six African countries – though many other countries and diaspora communities celebrate – the day provides an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and successes of the continent over the previous year. The United Nations Secretary General shares his thoughts on the year including Ebola and empowering African girls and women.


Why Good Design is Essential for Improving Global Health

Re-defining “good” design.  Don’t focus on making it shiny and new, make it user-centric, and have on-going conversations with communities about the aid “solutions” being provided to them.


Migrant Tragedies: Individual Stories

It would be remiss not to mention the tragic migrant crisis that has been on-going for the past three weeks, since the first boats of migrants in the Mediterranean capsized. The quote below rings true about the importance of addressing unemployment, providing partnership instead of charity, and building a future within Africa that today’s youth can pursue as one step in the struggle to address the issue of desperate migration to Europe from Africa.

“It’s this idea that the future lies elsewhere. It is therefore necessary to solve the issue of unemployment because it is strongly connected with the hopes of young people. The world needs to understand that there is an investment to be made in a continent that does not ask for charity anymore but is in need of real partnerships. And this idea has already begun to take place.”


The Power of Hope is Real

Can “hope” lift people out of poverty? It’s a beautiful thought. While I agree with the author here on the point that cyclical poverty that exists in so many poor communities can create hopelessness and despair that becomes self-fulfilling, I am not sure that I agree with the conclusion that it is solely the ‘mechanism of hope’ that raises people out of poverty. Though certainly, programs that sync with the community’s vision for its own brighter future and yield tangible, immediate income benefits do generate proof of an alternative future – and I think that without the proof of change that is consequent to a realistic and sustainable program created through dialogue with the community, hope is just smoke without fire.


A Map of All the Underwater Cables that Connect the Internet

A neat article about something you don’t think about very often! How does internet get across oceans?  Including a very interesting map that compares the routes of those sea-floor cables and the oceanic trade routes of 1912 – “the economic interdependence remains, but the methods and meanings have changed”.