Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Challenging the Government over funding cut for diaspora volunte

I have written to the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell MP, calling on him to reconsider his decision to cut funding for the Diaspora Volunteering Programme.

Please find extracts from the letter below:

"I am writing you to raise my concerns about the decision to withdraw DFID funding for the Diaspora Volunteering Programme, which we established when we were in government and which is run by VSO in partnership with the Diaspora Volunteering Alliance.

Since it was set up in 2008 the scheme has placed nearly 600 volunteers from the UK Diaspora community across Africa and Asia. The knowledge and skills of these volunteers has directly contributed to international development in those countries as VSO has clearly shown.

VSO has set out the contribution made by this programme to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, for example in tackling Aids and HIV and in improving education and healthcare. For every volunteer placed, 22 people on average benefit directly and there were over 8,000 people who benefitted indirectly. I'm sure you will agree that is an invaluable contribution to development work overseas.

Volunteering programmes are important because they raise awareness of international development. But this programme is particularly important because it offers the opportunity to directly engage diaspora communities in the implementation of development policy. That is extremely important because the knowledge and personal experience of their countries of origin can and must make an important contribution to our development policy.

The Government should recognise and support the dedication of the diaspora community here in the UK to helping people in their countries of origin not cut off this vital funding.

I believe the decision to end funding for this important programme is wrong and urge you to reconsider"

You can read a copy of the letter by clicking here


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