Power for Good

TV news reports in the wake of the recent disastrous tornado in Oklahoma have showed how good emergency preparation saved many lives.

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Every year, the Queen gives a speech to the UK Parliament outlining the policies that the government of the day intends to introduce over the coming year. It is an opportunity for the government to set out its priorities, for opposition parties and special interest groups to give their reactions and, as often as not, for the media to have a field day.

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The sight of British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie touring refugee camps in the DRC this week might -at least initially – have seemed a surreal one, but the issues they were very successfully highlighting could not have been more pressing.

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In 1962, experts gathered to consider the obstacles to effective communication, especially by radio, in Africa. Issues such as unreliable or non-existent electricity supplies, the shortage of trained technicians to operate radio broadcasting stations and the availability and affordability of radio receivers that did not rely on mains power were clearly recognised.

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Since our inception two decades ago, Freeplay Energy has been committed to the growth of radio as a vital means of communications for remote and isolated communities around the world. We have seen our products help to change lives as a part of aid and development, emergency preparedness, disaster relief and democratic engagement programmes from West Africa to South East Asia and the South Pacific.

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From being denied the vote to exclusion from education, from child marriage to female genital mutilation, women around the world continue to face threats and challenges, purely because of their gender. There are signs, however, that progress towards a fairer and more inclusive world is being made, albeit slow, and this change is often enabled by improvements in communications.

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