PALM Charity Gig

Gearoid is at it again, helping us out with our funding.
The previous gig was most entertaining and the proceeds are making a significant contribution towards the self sufficiency of the rural populations we work with.
In terms of water alone: 1 euro means water for life for one villager, which in itself is a significant contribution.
I constantly sing the praises of the young people I meet in this work, they are generous, caring and have more of a moral conscience than many of the people who write and talk so profusely with the opposite view.
We are most grateful for the support and wish them all the success they deserve, musically or in all their other efforts.

Gearoid writes:

Dear John,

How’s it goin’, I hope all is well. I’m just writing to let you know that we are organising another event in aid of Wells For Zoe, a multi-act charity gig this Thursday, March 13th. The night will start with DJs in National College of Art Design (opposite Vicar Street venue on Thomas Street) from 20.00 and then live music in McGruders pub (down the road from Vicar Street) from 22.00. We have Danny O’Reilly (of The Coronas), Killer Chloe and many, many other bands and DJs.

It would be great to see you there!

Unfortunately I have to miss the fun, as I’m heading for Malawi tomorrow.
Have a great time.


Wells for Zoë, on ‘Today with Pat Kenny’

PPI Radio Awards Winner 2007 – Current Affairs programme – ‘Today with Pat Kenny’

Fri 7th March, 2008

About The Show: Rock solid, right in the middle of the morning, Today With Pat Kenny assesses the main news stories of the day and goes behind the headlines to bring you the very latest. ‘Today With Pat Kenny’ is a slice of Irish life, with guest interviews, music and much much more. Pat brings you a very individual blend of talk-show topics, serious issues as well as the brighter side of life and a great dose of classic tunes.

Mary and myself got a spot on this top rated show yesterday, Fri 7th March, 2008.

The research was done by Fachtna O’Drisceil, who put together a wonderful outline of who we are and what we are attempying.
We are appreciative of his excellent work. Pat was welcoming, most pleasent and was very well briefed on our organisation and work. He soon put us at our ease and very professionally guided us novices through our slot. It was an education to see a true professional at work.

We are very grateful for the opportunity to bring our view of Malawi, to such a wide audience, on such a popular program.
Not for the faint hearted, but delighted to do it to further the course of the amazing people we work with in Northern Malawi.

You can listen to the show here

Dying for change, on Mother’s Day

Monday, 3 March 2008
I am thankful to Stories on Malawi:, for this most informative piece on the inequity of our world. Visit Stories on Malawi for daily news.
What could be more basic?
Right to life?
The success of Womens Lib?
Home Births?

It was Mothers’ Day yesterday, and in those 24 hours about 1,500 women will have died giving birth, as they do every day of the year. Almost all the deaths will have been in the world’s 75 poorest countries. Most would have been preventable in more affluent nations. Maternal health is a bald and unforgiving indicator of the state of a country’s medical services – and its civil society. After all, most women give birth. A society that neglects their needs is a society that institutionally discriminates against women.

In a report released on Mothers’ Day, MPs on the international development select committee have established that the true number of deaths might be 50% higher than the official estimates: perhaps as many as 870,000 women die annually in the days around birth. For every death, another 30 women are reckoned to be left in some way disabled. In sub-Saharan Africa things are actually getting worse.

In development circles there is agreement about what needs to be done. Governments need to make it happen. Slender budgets – and not just in health – fail to reflect women’s needs. In Bangladesh, educating girls has been the key to reducing maternal deaths. Educated young women are more likely to seek antenatal care, and more likely to give birth in clinics.

Rural sub-Saharan Africa presents particular problems. The worldwide shortage of midwives is at its most acute, and scarce clinics are poorly equipped. Most women give birth without skilled assistance, so complications are often detected too late for women to reach distant medical help. Governments must reward staff for working in those backwaters where they are currently reluctant to locate. In Katine, Uganda, where the Guardian is a co-sponsor in a three-year project, the skills of traditional birth attendants are being upgraded, while staff are being recruited and trained to work in rural clinics. New ways must also be found to help women travel in the event of emergency. In Malawi a scheme has been set up where police transport can be called in.

Safe birth is only part of the equation. More than one in 10 maternal deaths is linked to unsafe abortion. Improving access to abortion, and above all to contraception, could, the MPs point out, save thousands of women a year. But the most powerful tool right now is advocacy. The White Ribbon Alliance campaign for improved facilities aims to force governments to reconsider their priorities. The rate of maternal death will not fall by the 75% demanded by the millennium development goal without a transformation in attitudes. Less progress has been made here than in any of the other goals for 2015 set by the UN. That is not a reason for giving up. It is a reason for shouting louder.