Alison Griffith

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Alison Griffith is Practical Action's Senior Policy and Practice Advisor for Markets and Private Sector and Supervisory Board member of ACRE

Recommended reading: http://www.practicalaction.org.uk

Posts by Alison

  • Feeling proud to be British

    March 26th, 2013

    It’s not very often that I can say I feel ‘proud to be British’, perhaps it’s because I work for an international organisation and ‘Britishness’ is generally avoided, by me at least!

    But last week I was at the Department for International Development’s Whitehall offices the day after the budget.  It really struck me how extraordinary it is for this government to hold fast to its decision to commit 0.7% of the budget to aid.  This is a huge achievement…  and it means even more in this current “climate”, literally, the media are telling us this week that the current cold weather could send us into a ‘triple-dip recession’.

    22104So although international NGOs like Practical Action are always banging on about what the development priorities should be and how the money is spent, this does seem like a moment to step back and say “Congratulations Britain! You have a government that deserves a big pat on the back”.

    It’s not just the government of course. The whole country can take some credit for this momentous decision. Apparently when we have the aid budget explained to us, six out of ten people in the UK say it is about right or not big enough.

    99.3% of our national income is spent on our own priorities like healthcare, education or the economy.  Perhaps this makes the 0.7% spent to end extreme poverty seem pretty reasonable.  Nevertheless we will be the very first G8 country to achieve the aid target, a target that was set 43 years ago.

    The UK are showing real leadership during their presidency of the G8. Our Prime Minister has a great opportunity this June so let’s get behind him and bring some of the national pride and excitement we had with the Jubilee and the Olympics into the events of 2013 and to our country’s role in most important challenge ever.

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  • Resorting to the web

    Rugby, Warwickshire, UK, Benn Ward
    March 30th, 2010

    Things started well on my no-tech day … Before breakfast I biked down to a friend’s field to check on a dozen sheep.

    Lambing has been sporadic and very spread out so far (the ram must have been lazy or getting on) but I was in luck on Saturday – a ewe had taken herself off to the top corner of the field and had just dropped twins. Always amazing to see how quickly they get up and are on the move, looking for colostrum. One of them was looking very pathetic so we decided to bring them down to the barn.

    Older lambs needed turning out but not until they had been docked and castrated – a simple process using a very simple technology – a tight rubber ring which eventually causes the unwanted bits to shrivel and drop off.  I’ve done it plenty of times but it’s never nice to see the initial discomfort it causes them. A big two-day-old single lamb was a tricky customer – it’s important to put the ring in exactly the right place. It looked OK to me but afterwards he was really unhappy, showing signs of stress and flopping around in the corner of the pen, panting excessively. My friend was concerned so I agreed to take another look in an hour.

    I biked home and had breakfast, a quick call to my Dad confirmed that it would be perfectly fine but I was worried so … I googled “lamb castration distress” and had a quick read-up about scientific trails that measured cortisol responses in lambs after the procedure. Of course it was fine, so I am annoyed with myself that I didn’t trust my instincts and the experience of Dad but instead resorted to the web, just because it was there!

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