Born in the USA in 1941, Dr Joseph Hanlon moved to Britain in 1971 to write for the British magazine, New Scientist. He later developed a liking for development-related issues. Between 1979-1985 he also wrote copy for The Guardian in London, The Star in Johannesburg and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Hanlon served as the coordinator of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee. He also did a study about South Africa in 1994 under the auspices of the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO), which focused on how funding could be organised in people-driven development projects. Hanlon continues to write about Mozambique.