Hub Cymru Africa celebrates volunteering success on International Volunteer Day 2019


This UN International Volunteer Day, Hub Cymru Africa are celebrating the enormous contribution that goes into making Wales a globally responsible nation through volunteering.  Volunteers work to support us directly. Throughout the country, groups make a global impact working in partnership with African organisations.


In the last 14 months, 24 volunteers have donated 1207 hours to us. In doing so they have developed their skills and experience, increased their confidence to take action on global issues and to network with international development charities. All of our volunteers have got great things to say about volunteering, but Charlotte in particular has really shown how volunteering can benefit an individual career and the wider sector.

Charlotte graduated from Leeds University with a degree in International Development. She moved back to Cardiff and began working in a bar.  Alongside her job she wanted to find a volunteering opportunity to bridge the gap between study and her professional career. She had assumed that she would not find an opportunity in international development in Cardiff as she didn’t know of any big charities headquartered here. However, she was pointed in the direction of Hub Cymru Africa and decided it would be the right opportunity for her.

Charlotte began volunteering for us 1 or 2 days a week at a particularly busy time for the organisation. There was plenty of activity to get involved in. The work included volunteering at events and doing scoping and research for HCA. Through this work she developed plenty of new skills and really built her confidence, but most importantly she valued the opportunity to build her networks and learn exactly what was going on in the sector. It made her more determined to work in International Development. University had given her an abundance of theoretical knowledge, but volunteering at HCA gave her the opportunity for practical application.

While Charlotte was volunteering for us, the Phoenix Project at Cardiff University got in touch to find out if HCA knew anyone who would be able to work for them on a temporary basis. Charlotte went for the role and now works for the Phoenix Project full time, something she feels volunteering at HCA helped her to achieve.

‘…Volunteering for a well-known and respected organisation like Hub Cymru Africa definitely helped me get the position. Phoenix Project know the organisation and could see the breadth of skills I had gained...’

She currently works as an administrator, but it’s a small team which means she gets to be involved in lots of different things, much like her time at HCA. She is confident that this role will lead to much more experience and a long career in international development in Wales. She still gets to keep her connection with HCA as well. She attends our events and training in a work capacity to keep her skills up to date, although she feels like she should be helping out! As much as she would love to continue volunteering for us, work is just too busy.

Her experience volunteering was a valuable one, so much so she recommends us to her friends who are still studying. One of the benefits of HCA is that we are so student friendly and make it easy for people to fit opportunities around study. She thinks it is important to volunteer and would advise anyone to get involved and try and get as much diverse experience as possible. It’s played an enormous part towards getting Charlotte onto the career path of her choice. Volunteering can be truly life changing!

Get ready for Brexit

16 October 2019

With Brexit approaching, the Department for International Development (DFID) is hosting a special webinar for Welsh international aid and development agencies to provide information and updates on preparations for leaving the EU and to provide an opportunity for organisations to ask questions and discuss any concerns. 

The session will take place on Tuesday 22 October from 4-5pm and will include time for a Q&A with the DFID representatives. 

Please respond to to register your interest for the webinar by 5pm on Monday 21 October. In your response, please include any particular topics or areas you would like to be covered by DFID in this session.

You can find guidance on how UK aid organisations can prepare for Brexit here

This includes how organisations currently in receipt of EU funding can apply for DFID's funding guarantee.

Before the webinar, DFID would like you to complete this quick online survey by answering 3 short questions here

Wales International Development Summit

2nd May 2019

Earlier this month, we celebrated our links with the African community at the Wales International Development Summit at Cardiff City Stadium.

At the Summit on 2nd May, The Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, and the new head of Oxfam GB, Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, spoke about the importance of international development in Wales.

Ms Morgan oversees the Wales for Africa programme of the Welsh Government as part of her portfolio. She praised the Welsh communities working in Africa for the ‘work they do behind the scenes’ and said: 

“I want the world to know that Wales takes global responsibility seriously. I want the world to know Wales has always been and remains an outward-looking nation with a proud history of internationalism and solidarity with communities experiencing poverty across the world.”

 The Minister also thanked the people of Wales who collectively have raised £1m for Disasters Emergency Committee and its Cyclone Idai appeal.

 Dr Sriskandarajah – who is known as Danny – was recently appointed as head of Oxfam GB. He previously led CIVICUS, the Johannesburg-based alliance of civil society organisations, and was the youngest ever Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society. He said:

 “I continue to be inspired by the work we do in international development. It’s important that we have a strong, vibrant civil society. We need a strong commitment to internationalism. Without a strong, vocal, independent civil society we can’t have a strong democracy.”

The event was organised by Hub Cymru Africa and partners from the Wales Overseas Agencies Group (WOAG) with funding from the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme. It brought together practitioners, volunteers, academics, diaspora and campaigners who are engaged and interested in international development.

Partner organisations including Tearfund, Fair Trade Wales, Oxfam Cymru, Save the Children and United Purpose were at the event and held a series of workshops to highlight key issues within the sector. These included sustainable palm oil, gender-based violence and sexual harassment, universal health cover, Fairtrade farmers, and youth activism. 

Beth Kidd, Acting Head of Partnerships for Hub Cymru Africa, said:

“It was a truly inspiring day and really demonstrated how the international development sector benefits the people of Wales; it educates people about global issues and it creates a more resilient, diverse and creative workforce. We continue to support the diaspora community and want to promote voices from the southern hemisphere here in Wales.”

One of the highlights of the event was a performance by inclusive theatre group Hijinx, who also met with the Minister, Eluned Morgan. In 2018, the award-winning theatre company took a group of learning disabled actors and staff to tour Lesotho to challenge people’s perceptions of learning disabilities. The Able to Act project was funded by Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme through Hub Cymru Africa.

 You can see more photos from the event on our Flickr album here.

Wales in the World

Wednesday 27th March

HCA Uganda Ffion Pic.jpg

Make sure you feed in your views on the 2019 Welsh Government International Strategy before the deadline 15th April 2019.  This is your opportunity to say what you would like to see from the Wales for Africa programme.

Faitrade Fortnight 2019 - #SheDeserves

Friday 22nd February 2019

Dear Editor,

As the World’s first Fair Trade Nation, we are proud to be celebrating the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight (25th February – 10th March 2019).

This year we are focusing on the plight of the hardworking women cocoa farmers in the Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. Without them we wouldn’t be able to get the chocolate we love so much.

£1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income. Currently, a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire lives on around 74p a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty.

For the women the situation is even worse. They may plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but often with fewer rights than men.

Choosing Fairtrade certified chocolate is a simple step towards helping them live a simple but dignified life, paying for essentials such as clothing, medicine and school.

So, the next time you are enjoying your favourite Fairtrade chocolate, think about how you are helping to improve the lives of the farmers that make it possible.

If you would like to get involved visit:

Your Faithfully,

Aileen Burmeister

National Coordinator, Fair Trade Wales

Celebrating United Nations International Day of Persons with Disability

Friday 30th November 2018

(An actor from Hijinx Theatre talking to schoolchildren in Lesotho)

On Monday 3rd of December HCA will be joined by Leanne Wood AM and John Griffiths AM to mark the day, alongside the Disability in Wales and Africa Network (DWA). The event will take place at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff.

The event will include presentations from several organisations working on disability issues in Africa, including Hijinx Theatre who are working to challenge stereotypes of learning disabilities in Lesotho; Love Zimbabwe who are working with the parents of disabled children in Zimbabwe, and Zanzibar Mental Health Shamba who are working with traditional healers to improve the mental health of the people of Zanzibar.

Hijinx Theatre are currently in the 3rd phase of their project in Lesotho, having previously visited for a recce on their first phase and then toured with Welsh actors on their second phase, visiting schools and communities with a production in partnership with a local school to address the stereotyping around learning disabilities and helping those with disability grow their own aspirations.

Love Zimbabwe, who focus their work in the Chinamhora region of Zimbabwe have been working hard to support the parents of disabled children and support them to develop a network as well as sources of income to help ensure that the children are cared for within their community.

Zanzibar Mental Health Shamba, are looking at ways at supporting people with mental health issues where there are no professional support services by training local healers in the community.

Cat Jones, Head of Hub Cymru Africa said: “People with disability are often the most excluded and discriminated against in any society, unfortunately many of the partner organisations we work with have highlighted that this is even more so the case in the countries they work in.

“Celebrating the UN Day of Persons with Disability brings together organisations working to address the challenges surrounding disability programming and helps to improve our understanding of the huge benefit that inclusiveness has on development”

Paul Lindoewood from DWA said: “The inclusion and involvement of disabled people within any development programme is a key factor to its success.”

To register for FREE to attend the event visit: 

Hub Cymru Africa is supported by the Wales for Africa Programme at the Welsh Government.

Jane Hutt AM is the new Wales for Africa Health Links Patron

Tuesday 16th October 2018

(Jane Hutt AM speaking after being welcomed as the patron)

On Thursday the 18th of October at the annual Wales Africa Health Conference, Jane Hutt AM will be formally announced as the new patron for the Wales for Africa Health Links Network (WfAHLN).

She is an advocate of the Wales for Africa work and spent part of her childhood in Uganda and Kenya and has since held long term links with the continent.

Much of this is done though her work as an active member of the Vale for Africa charity based in the Vale of Glamorgan, who work to improve healthcare and Education in the district of Tororo, Uganda.

Kathrin Thomas, Chair of the WfAHLN said: “We are delighted that Jane Hutt has agreed to become our patron. Her longstanding commitment to international health links and her extensive experience are a big boost to our charity.

“I’m sure that she will be able to bring valuable contributions and support for our work to improve healthcare globally.”

This year’s Wales Africa Health Conference will bring leading academics and health professionals together to look at the theme of Global Citizenship.

If you would like to attend the event (for FREE) visit:

The Wales for Africa Health Links Network are part of the Hub Cymru Africa partnership which is funded by the Welsh Government.

Bridgend charity re-building schools and supporting communities in rural Zambia

Monday 1st October 2018

(School children in Monze helping to construct the school gardens)

Friends of Monze, a Bridgend based charity that is linked to the Monze area in southern Zambia have just rebuilt a fourth school and started building a fifth school.

Deana Owen a retired Health Visitor and School Nurse from the Bridgend area who manages the charity was approached by the local community and Department of Education to look at ways in which the community could work together with Friends of Monze to rebuild the schools.

Deana said: “The five schools were in serious need of rebuilding. By working in partnership with an organisation called Zambia Women and Girls Foundation and with the local Department of Education we were able to bring the community together to help rebuild their own schools, but this was just the start.”

As well as rebuilding the schools Friends of Monze and their partner organisations have been working to develop sustainable food gardens at the schools to make sure that the children are fed properly. The pupils work in the permaculture gardens, so they also learn food growing skills.

Friends of Monze have also teamed up with Cwmbrân based charity Giakonda Solar Schools last summer to install solar powered computers in two schools and provide laptops, projectors and Raspberry Pi computers.

Deana explains: “The Raspberry Pi computers act as Wi-Fi hotspots and are loaded with remote learning information, Wikipedia, science, health, agricultural information which the schools use where there is no internet access. The solar panels also power LED lights, so the schools are also used for adult literacy evening classes.”

A local teacher said: “I’m amazed children in rural schools without even proper roads can touch computers, now the whole community can learn from computers.”

The charity also works with several Monze based organisations to promote menstrual hygiene management, cervical cancer awareness and women's rights. This is aimed at making sure girls can improve their status in society.

The work of Friends of Monze was supported by Hub Cymru Africa which is funded by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Cat Jones, Head of Hub Cymru Africa said: “Friends of Monze’s work means that the children in this area are still able to access education, food and even Raspberry Pi technology - which is critical in a country with one of the world’s fastest growing populations*.”

Friends of Monze are now fundraising for books for the schools. Bridgend Quakers held their annual Garden Party on 1st September and generously gave money raised to buy books. They had a stall at Roots Street Festival in Bridgend on 15th September. They sold crafts made in Zambia and crafts made and donated by people in Wales, to raise money to buy school books. 

Mid Wales charity improving agricultural design in Uganda

Monday 20th August 2018

(Ugandan trainers leading a permaculture session)

Sector 39 have recently returned from delivering a series of permaculture training sessions to help support communities to grow new crops and use their land sustainably.

8 out of 10 Ugandans live in rural areas and depend upon rain-fed agriculture which is increasingly affected by climate change, so new methods are needed to ensure that enough food is grown in these challenging conditions.

Steve Jones of Sector 39 said: “We have been working with a wide range of people in schools and community initiatives. Two of the stand out projects that the training has helped are one to help girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Busoga High School, Kamuli and one that offers practical learning opportunities to the Ngora Orphans project.

“We are also working with Dolen Ffermio so that we can share our learning in schools in Mid Wales.”

The Llanrheadr ym Mochnant based organisation and trainers are delivering this work in partnership with Permaculture Research Institute, Uganda and PermoAfrica Centre, Kenya to provide training and develop permaculture expertise and activity in East Africa.

As a result of the success of the project Sector 39 has been asked by other organisations working in Uganda to help them with their projects, this has resulted in them supporting displaced Sudanese refugees.

The project was supported by Hub Cymru Africa with funding from the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Cath Moulogo, Development Manager at Hub Cymru Africa said: “Permaculture plots are an excellent way to grow crops efficiently and sustainably, they can be adapted to the size of the space available.

“By training local people in with the skills needed to be trainers Sector 39 are helping people to take measures to support themselves and their own communities to grow crops in the face of the challenges of climate change.”

Sector 39 will be speaking at an upcoming shared learning event (FREE to attend) on working inclusively and building strong partnerships through Permaculture in Sub Saharan Africa at the Morlan Centre in Aberystwyth on the 29th of August, to book a place visit:

Abergavenny Charity increasing climate change resilience in rural Zimbabwe

Monday 20th August 2018

(Martha (centre of picture in red) with volunteers and members of the community)

With the recent cold winter and then the subsequent hot summer here in Wales, you can start to see the strain on our infrastructure and resources, in Zimbabwe, the effects are far greater.

The Love Zimbabwe charity having been working in partnership with villagers in Chinamhora in the northeast of the country so that they can build the infrastructure needed to cope when times are tough.

Martha Musonza Holman of Love Zimbabwe explains: “In order to help the community we carried out an analysis of their needs, before taking action.

“We quickly realised that energy and access to water were essential things we needed to address and set about installing solar panels to provide electricity and a reinforced water tanks to capture the much-needed rainwater.”

The excess water collected now means that the community can grow their crops using keyhole gardening methods that use very little water even when the rains stop. This helps increase the levels of food security and grow the vegetables needed.

The local Chief has been so impressed with the work done so far to help the community that he has allocated another 7 hectares (roughly the size of 7 rugby pitches) to use for community development projects.

The project was supported by Hub Cymru Africa with funding from the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Hannah Sheppard of Hub Cymru Africa said: “Sadly it is often the people who are least able to cope   that are worst hit by the effects climate change. This is a vicious cycle as it can leave vulnerable people and communities who have done the least to contribute to climate change in the firing line.

“Projects like this are helping people to prepare for the impacts and allowing them to be in a stronger position to cope during the really hard times.”

North Wales medics improving birth practices in Lesotho

Tuesday 7th August 2018

Local Basotho Healthworkers

(Local Health workers in Lesotho at a training event)

Health professionals from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have been training medical staff in a rural region of Lesotho.

Many women in Lesotho’s rural area of Quthing suffer complications giving birth, which are often made even more challenging by the high rates of HIV, so the training sessions are tailored to improve midwives and health centre staff skills.

On this occasion, over 15 members of health staff from 8 Health Centres received the essential training.

Grant funding also enabled some of the Lesotho based Health Management Team to visit Wales to share their learning and to develop their leadership skills with one to one mentoring.

The ongoing work is part of the Betsi-Quthing Health Partnership that has been running for six years.

The Partnership offered a 2-week placement to a midwifery student from Bangor University. This is part of its commitment to NHS staff learning for the benefit of the people of Wales. Charelle Tilley won this place though her passion for her chosen career and returned with huge respect for midwives in Lesotho. She said: “I am amazed how hard nurses and midwives work in Lesotho, and how committed they are. Everyone was so warm and friendly to us and appreciated our training so much”

Aaron Pritchard from the Betsi-Quthing Partnership said: “Working in the remote parts of the country can often be a logistical challenge, but the dedication and hard work of the health staff in Lesotho was inspirational.

“We always learn so much from our visits and building those face to face relationships means that by using simple mobile apps, we can stay in contact and support each other.”

The project was supported by Hub Cymru Africa with funding from the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Hannah Sheppard, Development Manager at Hub Cymru Africa said: “The Welsh team have benefitted from developing and planning a wide-ranging training programme in a challenging environment.

“They have returned to Wales enthused and motivated and with a lot of practical skills and lessons they can now put to good use in their own practices.”

The project is currently looking at developing distance learning resources in partnership with Bangor University, so that Wales based staff can help support training programmes, without having to travel to Lesotho.

Global Disability Summit 

Monday 23rd July 2018

(Cat Jones, Head of Hub Cymru Africa signs the pledge) 

Dear sirs,

Today is full of opportunity and promise, as world leaders descend on London for the UK’s first ever Global Disability Summit. We, some of the UK’s leading international development organisations, call on decision-makers to make lasting commitments to people living with disabilities across the world.

Through ignorance, indifference or intention, people with disabilities, 80% of whom live in the world’s poorest countries, continue to be excluded from society. They face multiple forms of discrimination and are denied equal rights to many fundamental aspects of life, including access to quality education, earning a living, having a family and even making independent decisions about their own lives.

Inclusion of people with disabilities must be at the heart of all aid, development and humanitarian efforts if we are to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and truly leave no one behind. People with disabilities must not only be heard, but at the forefront of decision-making about their lives and issues that affect them. Assistive technology must also be harnessed to empower people with disabilities to live healthy, productive and independent lives.

Additionally, without good quality, consistent data on disability, addressing the rights and needs of people with disabilities is a challenge and they risk being left behind. For every person to count, people with disabilities of all ages must be counted.

By hosting today’s Summit, the UK has shown leadership in this crucial area and we call on those present to make measurable, ambitious and lasting commitments. Now is the time to end discrimination against, and ensure equal rights for, the one billion people living with disabilities across the world.


Alex Daniels Chief executive, Action on Poverty
Jimmy Innes CEO, Add International
Andrew Betts Director, Advantage Africa
Chris Roles Managing director, Age International
Judith Brodie Interim CEO, Bond
Lewis Temple Chief executive, Brac UK
Michael Adamson Chief executive, British Red Cross
Chris Bain Director CAFOD
Sean Callahan CEO, Catholic Relief Services
Kirsty Smith CEO, CBMUK
Anna-mai Andrews CEO, Chance for Childhood with Street Child Africa
Jill Healey CEO, ChildHope UK
Joanna Clark Director, Deaf Child Worldwide
Steve Crump CEO, DeafKidz International
Tim Livesey CEO, Embrace the Middle East
Amy Agnew European director, Global Citizen
Mark Waddington CEO, Hope and Homes for Children
Cat Jones Head, Hub Cymru Africa
Aleema Shivji Director, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Professor Melissa Leach Director, IDS
Naser Haghamed CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide
Neil Heslop CEO, Leonard Cheshire
Geoff Prescott CEO, Lepra
Vinny Smith Chief executive, Meningitis Research Foundation
Simon O’Connell Executive director, Mercy Corps Europe
Amanda Wilkinson CEO, Motivation
Alex Thier Executive director, ODI
Rebecca Cronin CEO, Orbis UK
Aaron Oxley Executive director, Results UK
Alison Marshall Director, Sense International
Caroline Harper CEO, Sightsavers
Martin James Chairman, Signal
Kavita Prasad CEO, Sound Seekers
Peter Waddup National director, The Leprosy Mission England and Wales
Michele Turner Executive director, Word Learning Europe
Tim Pilkington CEO, World Vision

You can find out more about the pledge as well and general information from the Summit by clicking here.

World renowned Welsh Surgeon talks about work in Africa

Friday 13th July 2018

(Veronica German (Dolen Cymru), Cat Jones (Hub Cymru Africa), David Nott, Wyre Davies (BBC), Kathrin Thomas and Tony Jewell (both Wales for Africa Health Links Network)) 

David Nott, last year's winner of the St David's Award for International Work & co-founder of the David Nott Foundation delivered a public lecture titled; "My experiences practising surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa".

For this lecture he was interviewed by BBC Journalist, Wyre Davies.

This event was organised in partnership with the Wales for Africa Health Links Network.

Cardiff Charity helping families stay together in Uganda

Monday 14th May 2018

(One of the families that have been supported by the project)

Trio Uganda who are based in the capital city, have recently returned from Uganda where they have been developing an outreach programme to work with the poorest families in the community, those living on under 65p a day.

The work by Trio Uganda and their partners in Uganda, Nauyo Community Action (NCA), aims to provide them with the essentials they need to survive and prevent the children from becoming abandoned by families who can no longer afford to care for them. This can range from practical things like ensuring they have food, beds and blankets as well as much needed immunisations for the children.

One of the challenges the project has been facing is that many funders of projects now prioritise income generation and self-help as solutions to poverty, dismissing 'safety net' initiatives fearing that they create a dependency.

Coordinator of Trio Uganda, Jon Sait, explains: “Because the level of poverty for these families is so low, they have no way of getting out of this cycle of poverty. Many of the impacts on the families we are working with are beyond their control such as their age, chronic illness and disability.  

“Our intervention breaks the cycle of poverty and helps get them to a place where they can recover to have a basic level of living and improved health, then we can work with them to develop opportunities to become self-reliant and increase their income and improve their own lives.”

Trio Uganda and NCA have been monitoring the impact of their interventions to make sure they are effective and that the families they support are able to stay together and reduce the number of children who are abandoned or enter other forms of care. 

The project was funded through the Welsh Government Wales for Africa programme with support from Hub Cymru Africa. 

Liz Rees, Grants Support Officer at Hub Cymru Africa said: “Jon’s expertise, having worked with Home-Start, a leading UK family support charity, has provided an excellent foundation for him to be able to transfer his skills and knowledge to family work in Uganda.

“We have been impressed with what they have managed to deliver on a small budget and their commitment to developing sustainable community care in the Nauyo slum in the Mbale Region of Uganda.”

Welsh charity bringing light and Raspberry Pis to Zambian classrooms

Tuesday 1 May 2018

(Howard from Giakonda, working with people from the local community to install the solar panels)

Giakonda Solar Schools from Cwmbran has been using the Welsh built Raspberry Pi computers and LED lights powered by solar panels to transform classrooms in rural Zambia into community learning hubs.

In a country where sunshine is plentiful, Giakonda Solar Schools decided that the solar panels would be the perfect sustainable source to provide energy for the schools.
The panels were installed by people from the local community in the Siavonga region, following some brief training, to power the IT and provide themselves with the opportunity to develop their IT skills.

This is done using the RACHEL platform, an offline server full of educational content from teaching curriculums, Wikipedia, classic literature, reference material and textbooks installed on the Raspberry Pis.

Giakonda Solar Schools have also been working with the Ministry of Education in Zambia to see how the technology can help children achieve key points set out in the national curriculum.

Wendy Kirkman of Giakonda Solar Schools said: “The remoteness of one of the schools we helped, which can only be accessed by boat presented quite a few challenges, but the eagerness and resolute nature of the people in the local community, helped us get all the equipment in place.

“As well as IT equipment, we decided to take an engineer and sanitation officer to check the village facilities and water supply. This helped ensure that the risks of cholera were minimised and that the old damaged water pump was repaired.”

The latest installation of solar panels, means that Giakonda Solar Schools have managed to train and install equipment in 11 of the 26 off grid schools in the region.

The project was funded by the Welsh Government with support from Hub Cymru Africa.

Hannah Sheppard at Hub Cymru Africa said: “The most pleasing element about this project is that local people are now able to install and manage the equipment themselves. Partnership work with buy in from the local authorities means that the long-term success of this work will help develop much needed IT skills and provide teaching materials to rural communities.”

Giakonda Solar Schools have since returned to Wales and are planning their next set of installations and awareness raising activities as well as looking at how they can work alongside other Welsh charities to support IT developments and other development opportunities in rural Zambia.

Can you help to repair machines and improve lives?

Monday 30 April 2018

(The sewing machines are put to good use in Tanzania (above, left), Whilst volunteers work hard to repair them at the workshop (above, right))

Welsh charity, Tools for Self Reliance Cymru (TSFR Cymru) have been fixing old tools and sewing machines for 25 years. The repaired tools are sent to Tanzania where they work with local artisans to support them with tools and help them set up their own businesses.

Their new workshop in Abergavenny is becoming an established sewing machine repair workshop, where old defunct machines are turned into well-oiled and working machines by a group of hardy volunteers.

James Nyakwibata, one of the recipients of the machines in Tanzania said: “The support I got from TFSR Cymru and their partner organisation has totally changed my life and even my family feels it. All my children are now going to school, and I am now able to buy new clothes for all my family members during Christmas. But besides all these I have never seen people who kept their promises as these TFSR Cymru people.”

However, TSFR Cymru are on the lookout for volunteers to help them make a difference and keep up with the influx of old machines that can often take days to fix. The challenge they have set themselves is around 200 machines a year.

Tony Care of Tools for Self Reliance Cymru explains: “Our focus is to provide sewing machines for the women’s groups. The women in the Tanga region are at the heart of the community and supporting them to set up tailoring businesses with our refurbished machines will bring a much-needed added income to these communities.

“If you would like to get involved or develop new skills, please get in touch with us by emailing:”

The workshop was set up with support of Hub Cymru Africa through funding from the Welsh Government.

Hannah Sheppard, Development Manager at Hub Cymru Africa said: “Tools for Self Reliance have a proven track record for helping upskill volunteers in Wales and provide them will excellent skills as well as supporting artisans in Tanzania, giving them the much-needed opportunities to improve their own lives. One of these machines alone is enough to create a small business.

“Minimising our waste is a very current topic and TSFR Cymru have been leading the way in upcycling old tools for many years, some of the machines they fix are over 100 years old!”

Support fair and transparent trade agreements

Friday 27th of April 2018

Aileen Burmeister, National Coordinator for Fair Trade Wales makes the case for new trade deals which are fair to everyone.

Nobody wants to think that things they have bought have contributed to human suffering. People in Wales, and across the UK, have long rallied to promote trade being fair for all: from free person, not slave grown, cotton products in the 1800s, to boycotts of Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s and the growth of Fairtrade products from the 1990s. Wales became the world’s first Fair Trade Nation in 2008 and today, government, business and civil society at all levels continue to show support for Fair Trade.

Trade is an important part of countries’ relationships with each other and, when done fairly, can be a foundation for creating long-term and sustainable livelihoods for poor producers and farmers. Unfortunately many trade deals end in creating unfair rules and tariffs which keep people in developing countries trapped in poverty and only able to export raw products.

For more than 60 years, the Fair Trade movement has worked to demonstrate that an alternative and fair way of trading that benefits all is possible.

As the UK withdraws from the EU, trade is one of the most contentious areas. Trade and Customs Bills have been laid in Parliament but it is still unclear what the process of negotiating new trade deals might be, and what the impact of not having or of transferring trade deals across from the EU will have on Wales, the rest of the UK and other countries around the world. Whatever the outcome, there will be a large impact on Wales and on our international relationships.

Farmers and workers in developing countries could suffer if new trade deals with the UK impose barriers to them exporting products to us. The EU currently has decent trading terms with many developing countries but the UK could do even better.

After much civil society campaigning last year the UK Government made a commitment to carry over the EU commitments for duty-free market access to the world’s 48 officially designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs): the countries that produce 79% of the tea we drink. This was a great commitment, and has since been put into the Customs Bill, but it hasn’t clarified things for developing countries not classified as LDCs like South Africa, India and Colombia. We’d like these preferential schemes to be available to other vulnerable economies.

As it currently stands, Wales will have no say in future trade deals made by the UK Government even though new deals could impact some of its current legislative areas and Wales may have to pay private companies recompense for legislative decisions made by the National Assembly. This is due to possible Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), controversial mechanisms present in several current international trade deals, such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). This enables foreign investors to take States to ‘closed’ international tribunals if they believe a policy undermines their profitability.

For example in 1997, Canada was taken to tribunal by an US chemical company for banning MMT, a toxic additive that was already banned in the US. The case was settled within the private tribunal system and Canada paid the company, lifted the ban on MMT, and had to state that MMT was safe. Other examples of ISDS being used against countries’ policy decisions include: raising the minimum wage of public sector workers in Egypt; placing a moratorium on fracking in Canada; preventing environmental degradation in El Salvador, and and taxing and regulating high sugar junk food in Mexico.

For too long, trade deals have been agreed without proper scrutiny or accountability to the public. It is too easy for social and environmental considerations to be ignored and the voices of poor communities dismissed. We must make sure our future trade is guided by poverty reduction, sustainable development and democracy.

We must raise our voices in support of fair trading arrangements in the future. Both in the interests of Wales and those of our friends in South and Central America, Africa and Asia who grow our coffee, make our clothes and stitch our rugby balls.

In Wales, we should push this case with gusto. So many groups throughout Wales have direct relationships with communities, schools, hospitals, NGOs and universities in Africa and across developing countries. Farmers in Wales and across the world deserve fair treatment and fair prices. Not only were we the world’s first Fair Trade Nation, our Well-being of Future Generations legislation requires all levels of government to be globally responsible.

Fair Trade Wales is working with partners across the UK to advocate for new trade deals which benefit everyone. Through our network, our key suggestions are to:

  • Secure and improve market access for developing countries in ways that support their development priorities – in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Ensure trade deals are negotiated with a proper democratic process, including scrutiny from Parliament, devolved administrations, civil society and the public
  • Carry out impact assessments of each negotiated trade deal with larger economies, investigating how they will affect smaller economies, not just economically but also environmentally and socially.

Of course the Welsh Government must stand up for the interests of Wales as debates on new trade deals progress, but we hope that it, and Welsh MPs, will also remember the millions of people around the world relying on us to engage in trade which is fair and supports their economic development.

Fair Trade Wales is part of the Hub Cymru Africa partnership which is funded by the Welsh Government.

Ugandan High Commissioner visits South Wales

Thursday 26 April 2018

(The Ugandan High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto)

The Ugandan High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto accompanied by Godfrey Kwoba, Minister – Counsellor in charge of economic & commercial matters are currently on a 4 day visit to south Wales.

These are a part of efforts to engage with the Ugandan diaspora community, to build links with charities working in the country and to look at partnership and opportunities for commercial and economic collaboration.

The visit to Wales is being supported by the Cardiff based charity the Sub Sahara Advisory Panel, who support members of the African Diaspora in Wales and are part of the Hub Cymru Africa partnership.

On the first day of their visit by H.E. Moto was to the headquarters of the Brecon Beacons National Park authority to discuss how the park operates commercially and to share the experiences and challenges faced by national parks in Uganda and any links.

Fadhili Maghiya of the Sub Sahara Advisory Panel said: “An important part of our focus is to provide opportunities for collaboration and partnership between African nations and Wales. The diaspora communities which we work closely with play important roles in their communities in Wales, but also often have strong connections with their nations of origin. We try to harness this by developing skills and opportunities in both directions.”

His Excellency, Julius Moto said: “Wales has a unique relationship with Uganda and I am keen to see how we can grow this relationship to serve both countries.

“I found the visit to the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA) extremely informative and I will be relaying what I learnt to my counterparts in Uganda. I’m also excited to hear about the work Welsh charities are doing in Uganda and meet member of our diaspora community over the coming days.”

The visit is the second visit by a Ugandan High Commissioner in the last couple of years, showing the importance placed on developing relations with Wales.

Julian Atkins, Chief Executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said: “We were delighted to welcome His Excellency, Mr. Moto to our National Park and we greatly enjoyed the opportunity to share the challenges that face National Parks in our two countries as well as discussing some of the potential solutions.”

In the coming days the High Commissioner will be in Cardiff to meet with several grassroots Wales based charities that work in Uganda to learn about their work and to see how the Ugandan Government can work closely with them to deliver key benefits to the country.