Monday, January 28, 2008

The emmaus community, and social entrepreneurship

Talked recently with the founder of Emmaus Cambridge, who has just been awarded a CBE. Emmaus is a community that offers work and accommodation for single men. Many of them are people who, otherwise, would be washed in and out of the Magistrates' Courts as regularly as if carried on the tides.

1.When Emmaus was being set up, apparently a junior planner was handling the application and made a long list of every planning reason why it should be turned down: they proposed to handle scrap metal on the site. It was on the flight path of Cambridge airport. A senior planner, however, apparently took the case over and was determined to use planning law positively and find every reason why it could be allowed. The plans were passed by a single vote.

2. Emmaus Cambridge cost £2m to set up but careful research has suggested it saves the government £600,000 a year.

3. Government is extremely weak at letting social entrepreneurs experiment with government cash. Only Northern Rock directors get to do that, and they took it all. Otherwise, perhaps, there could be an Emmaus in every town.

Writing: Not a normal life

1. Got the latest royalty statement from my publisher. Books sold in the last period: approaching 1,000. They're good books, too. Royalties paid: Not even near to £100. Cue half-hearted rant: wish I had an agent, what am I doing wrong, etc.

2. Yesterday got a phone call on a satellite-delayed line from Singapore. I entered a competition before Christmas organized by the Singapore Govt and they were telling me I'd won: one A4 piece of paper with marks on it translates into two business-class roundtrip tickets to Singapore plus a stay in a five-star hotel. It's all here

It partially makes up for being roughed up by publishers. I still want to get them back, though, by publishing a best-seller.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Poverty: Those wonderful funds

'Major global health financiers, such as the Global fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation are showing returns on their investments. In less than four years, financing through the Global Fund alone has resulted in more than 1.1m people receiving treatment for AIDS. Now, overall, more than 2m people receive AIDS treatment-- a tenfold increase in four years ...

'And more than 30m insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed to protect families from malaria. The number of people saved from early death through these interventions is already 2m, and this increases by 100,000 ever month.

Michel Kazatchkine, executive director, Global Fund to fight AIDS, HIV and Malaria in The Economist publication The World in 2008. My italics.