I went to a meeting in the Broadgate Tower on Primrose St and was bowled over by the views from the 32nd floor.
What an amazing place. Not shown: the seething frustration of Londoners fed up with Bob Crow holding the city to random once again.
The meeting was to watch a new presentation developed by Advocates for International Development (which my firm supports – it’s the charity that organised the great Archbishop Desmond Tutu lecture that I was sad to have missed last year) and the Global Poverty Project. The presentation has been designed to be delivered to lawyers within the firms and raise their awareness of, and appetite for, international pro bono work. The two charities have done a great job and I’m looking forward to inviting them to my firm and getting everybody revved up. The presentation we were shown is a tailored version of the GPP’s 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation and is so good: an engaging combination of a live speaker, whiz-bang slides and good film clips. I think it will be highly effective.
It made me think about the basic things that people in the developing world want and how rarely we all focus on giving those things to them. Simple things that we take for granted, like santitation and access to clean water. I would really like to focus my philanthropy more on this kind of thing: I may not be able to make sure that everybody has a fully functioning loo (and I’m a total princess when it comes to bathrooms, so I would love to achieve this particular goal, if only to ensure that I wouldn’t have to deal with hideous loos when travelling), but I can buy one for £50 for people who need it. And as I sip my third glass of filtered and chilled water in my office today, surely I could spare £26 to ensure that a village has a working well? Or £18 to enable some farmers to collect rainwater efficiently? All of us can do that kind of thing.
I’ll need to discuss it with Tristan, of course (we’re a joint income household in every way), but I’d like to make it a goal to save a little fund each month – using the money that I would ordinarily spend on breakfasts, lunches and stuff I don’t need that I avoid buying on no spending days – and do something helpful with that money, like some of the projects I’ve linked to above. And I’d really like to become more involved with Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign – I went to an event for this initiative last year and it was brilliant. The impact of educating and supporting women in the developing world doesn’t just benefit them as individuals: it means that their children are healthier and happier, their communities are supported and, in many cases, the GDP of the country improves. That’s an awesome return on investment.
As is so often the case, this post started off being about one thing and finished up being about something completely different…