The Guardian today has reported that an Indian company has just launched the cheapest smartphone in the world which will retail at £5. International development organisations are increasingly using mobile phones to help lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty, using them to advise on everything from education to health. Yet last month the Guardian also reported an Amnesty International report which showed that most smartphones contain cobalt mined using child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. How do you reconcile a £5 Indian smartphone designed to help the poor being made with child labour in the DRC?
My Guardian article today in defence of the BBC presenter Chris Packham has been shared over 10,000 times. Interesting how the Countryside Alliance’s attempt to get him sacked has simply proved how popular he is. The full article is below.
So Chris Packham finds himself in deep water again over comments he has made in his column in BBC Wildlife magazine. His latest outburst, a broadside against the conservation groups he has worked with all his life including as vice-president of the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB, is typical of a man who has never toed the line, whether as a conservationist, campaigner or BBC presenter.
Pastor John Bosco Kwizera is in charge of emerge poverty free projects in Gitega, Burundi. ‘Bosco’, as he is commonly known, fled Burundi at the end of April with his family following the political unrest there and now lives temporarily in Kigali, the capital of neighbouring Rwanda. Both his parents were hacked to death with a machete when he was 15 in the Burundi civil war in 1993.
1. Why did you have to flee from Burundi?
I was given 2 hours to leave or be killed. I had to flee in my vehicle with my wife and 4 children, my youngest daughter was just one month old. The others are boys and are aged 7, 5 and 3. I had to leave most of my life possessions behind. People warned me that I was a target because I had tried to install electricity to the African Revival Ministry Centre in Gitega (composed of a children’s home and health centre). The leader of the local commune told me I had also to provide electricity for all the local people so the government could get their votes. It was far too expensive so I reluctantly said no. Then I became a marked man.
2. Do you know what is happening there now?
Yes because I am in regular contact with my friends and the staff of the African Revival Ministry Centre. The situation changes day to day but a lot of top government officials have now gone to Gitega so it is still unsafe.
3. Emerge poverty free supports 40 street children, 20 boys and 20 girls, in separates children’s homes in Gitega. Do you know what has happened to them?
When I fled the children were still at the homes. They are still there now. However, they are concerned that their families may flee and they could get separated from them so they are very upset. I keep in regular contact with the staff there and speak to the children.
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