Christian Aid welcomes new funding scheme from International Development department

14 July 2017

DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Pledges: the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, speaks at a “What the world needs from Global Britain” event. at Church House, Westminster, at the end of last month

Pledges: the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, speaks at a “What the world needs from Global Britain” event. at Church House, Westmins...

A NEW government funding scheme for international aid has been welcomed by Christian Aid.

UK Aid Connect, launched on Thursday of last week, will support UK charities and NGOs that are working to tackle global intoler­ance, extremism, and poverty. It was one of four new pro­­­grammes announced by the Depart­ment for International Develop­­ment (DfID) at the end of last year, as part of its Civil Society Partner­ship Review.

Groups are invited to submit applications for grants in eight areas. These include promoting sexual- and reproductive-health rights; disability inclusion; defend­­ing the free press and freedom of expression; tackling child labour and modern slavery; addressing LGBT inclusion; and supporting tolerance and freedom of religion or belief.

The head of advocacy at Chris­­tian Aid, Tom Viita, said: “The face of poverty today is scarred by mul­­tiple challenges: exclusion, in­­­equal­­ity, violence, a degraded environment. We can’t get to the root of these 21st-century chal­­­lenges with­out taking bold risks and ad­­mit­ting that no one organisation has all the answers.

“UK Aid Connect has the potential to bring the expertise of different organisations to bear on new problems that are complex and long term.”

His comments echoed those of the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, who called on charities, NGOs, and the faith, business, and science com­­munities to combine resources, at a reception on global aid at Church House, Westminster, earlier this month.

“It is clearer now, more than ever, that we need a wide range of players to be our advocates and to be our voice, but to also help us deliver that hope and defeat poverty for good,” she said.

The Government also launched a small-charities fund last week, through which UK-registered charities with an annual income of less than £250,000 can bid for grants of up to £50,000. Smaller charities, Ms Patel said, “have not had the opportunity to work with DfID, have not had the opportunity to have access to UK aid, and they have not had the opportunity to share in that funding stream that others have benefited from.”

The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, speaking during a debate on the development aid budget in the House of Lords, last week, said that UK aid should not be measured solely by budgets, but by the work of charities and the Church to alleviate human suffer­ing.

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