ActionAid Blog

You may have heard about the deal the EU is negotiating with the US, known as TTIP (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It's likely that this deal will allow powerful companies to sue EU governments for protecting workers rights. 

Actionaid Fellow Sukyi Khaing, 24, helps women in Soe Taw village stand up for their rights, in Myanmar's Dry Zone region.
Actionaid Fellow Sukyi Khaing, 24, helps women in Soe Taw village stand up for their rights, in Myanmar's Dry Zone region.
Photo: Greg Funnell/ActionAid

People in the UK are worried that the threat of law suits will drive down food standards and make it harder to prevent privatisation. There is growing anger about how unfair this is – lots of people are trying to put a stop to it.

The EU is also negotiating a very similar deal with Myanmar.  So we must make sure that the women we work with will be protected when the new rules are written.

Late last week we found out that our office in Uganda was part of a wide ranging coalition which among other things was advising farmers that they could potentially contract cancer from growing genetically modified crops.

Polly is a smallholder farmer in Katakwi District, eastern Uganda
We work with farmers like Polly in Katakwi District, eastern Uganda to promote sustainable agriculture
Photo: ActionAid

This is not a significant part of ActionAid Uganda's programme. Nevertheless our guidelines are very clear. They ask ActionAid country programmes not to take a position on the health impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), because health related research is highly contested and we do not have the necessary expertise to make informed decisions.

At ActionAid, we're all about bringing women together in communities to discuss their needs and demand their rights. So we’d like to celebrate an inspiring woman taking a stand for women’s economic security in her community and share the ideas of some of the leading thinkers and decision makers on gender equality.

Aitu Limbu, President of Kafle Women's Group in Okhre, Tehrathum District, Nepal
Aitu Limbu, President of Kafle Women's Group in Okhre, Tehrathum District, Nepal
Photo: NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati/ActionAid

Women coming together to demand their rights

36-year-old Aitu Limbu from Nepal is one of many inspiring women who are taking a stand in their communities and bringing other women together to talk about the challenges they face, such as how to balance their work in the home and paid work.

How often do you think about the water you’re using? I'll be honest, I don’t usually think about it too much. I get up, shower, brush my teeth, make coffee and so on. I always have access to water, I always have something to drink, which means I’m able to concentrate, I’m able to do my job, I stay healthy and I don’t get sick.
 
But that isn’t the case for 800 million people worldwide who don’t have access to clean safe water, in places where a lack of water can mean life or death. This World Water Day we want to show you how water is changing lives for good for just some of the people we work with around the world.

Day life of Helena - Moçambique
Six-year-old Helena in Mozambique has to walk an hour a day each way to fetch and carry water from this well
Photo: Fabio Erdos/ActionAid

#WaterIs life or death

Lack of water can mean that people (usually women and girls) miss out on education, or a career and a chance to escape poverty.

Water is often far away from where people live, so instead of children being in school or parents earning a living, they spend their days collecting water, day in day out (like six-year old Helena in the photo above). We're helping to change this though, with some really simple but effective projects.

Creating your Live Below the Line menu, using just £1 a day for 5 days, is no mean feat. But finding the right recipes and then constructing a well-thought out and varied meal plan can be the difference between a bearable but meaningful experience and 5 days of baked beans on toast.

Live Below the Line spelt out in pasta
We've shared our favourite recipes to help you Live Below the Line
Photo: ActionAid

We turned to the Live Below the Line pros; our supporters who took on the challenge last year, and asked them for some tasty meal plans. They've generously shared some of their favourite recipes to help you through the week. All of these are delicious, cheap and a doddle to make!

Pea Soup

This recipe, by Vanessa who took part in Live Below the Line last year for ActionAid, is perfect for staving off the hunger pangs at lunchtime, uses hardly any ingredients and it's easy-peasy to make (groan).

Tropical Cyclone Pam has ripped through the remote islands of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean, causing chaos and destruction. As ActionAid staff make their way to Vanuatu to help with the emergency response, here’s what we know so far about this humanitarian disaster.

Young boy Samuel stands with his father Phillip amongst the ruins of their destroyed home in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam on Monday 16th March, 2015.
Samuel stands with his father Phillip amongst the ruins of their destroyed home in Port Vila, Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam on Monday 16th March, 2015.
Photo: Withheld by Associated Press

Cyclone Pam: the damage so far

The category 5 Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila, on Efate Island on the evening of Friday 13 March. Information is still coming in about the impact, especially from the outlying islands. But reports say it’s the strongest storm to make landfall since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013.

What we do know is: