News

5.05.20:

Redemption from COVID-19 lies in thinking and working globally - Welsh International Development Sector

As local communities across the country rally around each other in the face of COVID-19, the body representing the international development sector in Wales has called for a rallying of our global community too.

The Wales Overseas Agency Group (WOAG), a representative alliance of the international development sector in Wales is not immune to the challenges of COVID-19. The urgency of the domestic situation is obvious, but we have seen the best of humanity, as local communities rally around each other to support our vulnerable through this unprecedented time. We mustn’t forget also that we are part of a global community, in which we rely upon for vital support such as food and medicine, just as others rely on our help.

The challenges faced by the sector are similar to the challenges faced by other sectors. A much-decreased workforce, inability to recruit new staff and fundraising activities have all but ceased.

War-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen are already in a precarious position without the added pressure of a pandemic; their fragile health care systems are ill-equipped to deal with COVID-19.

The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP26, was due to be held this year in Glasgow, Scotland. This is now postponed until 2021, and with it, important and pressing decisions on dealing with the climate crisis have been postponed too.

Despite unprecedented challenging times, Wales has much to celebrate. The sector has been able to move lots of educational activity online ensuring Welsh students can continue their learning with excellent resources 1.

Webinars have been organised between organisations in the Global South and Wales to ensure shared learning and mutual support.

The sector’s international networks through churches, fair trade groups and hospitals, are all working to look after the immediate needs of the communities they operate in. The sector is doing this by building and supporting campaigns to write off the debt of developing countries that are being devastated by this pandemic.

Co-Chair of WOAG and head of Hub Cymru Africa, Claire O’Shea commented:

“The pandemic shows us just how vulnerable we all are to a virus that does not discriminate.

“While the effects here in Wales have been devastating, many people in the developing world are even more vulnerable. Most don’t have access to handwashing facilities, cramped living conditions mean social distancing isn’t an option, and the threats posed by hunger are more immediate than the risk of catching COVID-19, so their better option is to continue to work. We must act in solidarity with our global neighbours. This virus will remain a risk as long as we have countries with fragile health-care systems.”

Co-Chair of WOAG and head of Oxfam Cymru Rachel Cable commented:

“For decades, Oxfam has worked with partners in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“We’ve provided life-saving water and sanitation facilities to promote good hygiene practices like handwashing to help tackle diseases like cholera and typhoid, as well as Ebola.

“Never did I imagine that, here in Wales, washing our hands would become quite so vital. But handwashing alone isn’t enough. Oxfam is deeply concerned about how the poorest and most vulnerable people will be hit by COVID-19 - both at home and around the world.

“The economic fallout from the pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken by world leaders. Wales must now step up and demonstrate its commitment to being a globally responsible nation.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1 The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) have published resources for primary school-aged and secondary school-aged pupils. Available at: https://cafod.org.uk/Education/Education-resources

1 Size of Wales have published outdoor activities, classroom activities, and more on their website. Available at: https://sizeofwales.org.uk/education/education-resources/

For interviews, please contact:

Peter Frederick Gilbey, Communications Manager, Hub Cymru Africa
petergilbey@hybcymruafrica.org.uk

15.04.20: Masks for all – advice on preventative measures for groups working in Africa during the COVID19 outbreak

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Lately, we have all had to think differently and desperately try to find to the best ways to deal with the rapidly developing pandemic, especially in relation to projects overseas and the safety and health of those connected with international development projects. One of the hot topics is whether homemade masks are any use. This is a summary, but evidence and guidance are changing daily.

Dr Kathrin Thomas, GP, Public Health Doctor and Chair of the Wales for Africa Health Links Network answers some of your most pressing questions about the issue of masks here.

How does the virus spread?

COVID19 is a virus that is spread through droplets from the respiratory tract of an infected person (and possibly aerosols during some medical procedures). Droplets are bigger and heavier and fall to the ground quickly, aerosols are smaller and can hang in the air and travel further for longer. Virus in the droplets can survive for up to 72 hours on some hard surfaces. People get infected by breathing in the virus in droplets or touching a person or a surface contaminated by virus in droplets and then touching their mouth or eyes. Those who are working and living in environments that do not easily allow social distancing of at least two metres between people from different households are therefore more at risk of infection. Most people who are producing infected droplets have symptoms, such as cough, fever or loss of smell/ taste. It’s not really understood yet how many people may be infectious before they get symptoms, or who never get symptoms (a couple of studies from China and Singapore suggest between 6.4% and 12.5% of those who test COVID19 positive).

The best ways to stop spread

The simple measures of isolating symptomatic people, frequent hand washing, cough hygiene and avoiding touching the mouth and eyes are by far the most effective ways of protecting people

If you have staff, volunteers or partners who are still working in environments that increase their risk of catching the virus, you may be thinking of recommending that they wear a mask in order to avoid contracting it. However, evidence on the effectiveness of surgical or simple homemade masks against COVID19 transmission, for asymptomatic members of the public is lacking.

Surgical masks

There is evidence that infectious people with other viruses who wear surgical masks would protect others. Guidance from the WHO and in most countries has been for those with symptoms and those caring for them to wear masks, but not healthy people.  The WHO reviewed this evidence on 6th April and did not change this advice. They emphasised that surgical masks should be reserved for care staff and symptomatic people. There is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of cloth masks for the public. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organisation Executive Director of Health Emergencies, talked on April 3rd about the use of cloth masks for the public, but warns that the main driver of this disease is infected people coughing and contaminating surfaces and others. He said that cloth masks risked people not using the proven prevention measures, such as handwashing, but reluctantly conceded that they “may not be a bad idea in some contexts”.

Home-made masks

So what should you recommend for your organisation if the topic of using masks to continue work comes up? According to the evidence, there is a risk that masks could create a false sense of security that could end up putting people at greater risk. Even with the mouth and nose fully covered, the virus can still enter through the eyes. Homemade masks may encourage people to go out when they are symptomatic, in the false belief that they will not infect others. Add to that the fact that people may relax social distancing, handwashing and cough hygiene if they are wearing a mask. To make much difference to overall death rates, a very high proportion of the population would need to wear a mask, perhaps 80%. If there is a stigma to wearing a mask, the uptake could be too low to make much difference. 

However, the first comprehensive review of community face masks specific to the current COVID19 pandemic, published without peer review on April 12th comes out strongly in favour of cloth mask wearing, stating that the theoretical benefits outweigh the theoretical harms. They suggest that cloth mask wearing could reduce the Ro (number of people infected by each infected person) down, and hence reduce the cases over time (see diagram 1). This needs a high take up (over 80% of the population), so they suggest that mask wearing should be mandatory to achieve this and to avoid the stigma of only sick people wearing a mask. They believe that combining this with strong public messaging on maintaining all other preventive measures, will mean that risk compensation is unlikely to undo the positive beneļ¬ts at the population level.

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The review points out “To put this in perspective, 100 cases at the start of a month becomes 31,280 cases by the month’s end (R0 = 2.4) vs. only 584 cases (R0 = 1.35). Such a slowdown in case-load protects healthcare capacity and renders a local epidemic amenable to contact tracing interventions that can eliminate the spread entirely”.

So there is a growing public clamour across many countries for the universal wearing of simple homemade masks when out of the home. 'Masks for All laws' are now in place in Israel, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mongolia and elsewhere, with more countries advocating this. The US Centre For Disease Control initially did not recommend masks for the public, but then endorsed cloth face masks in early April. There is a similar advocacy for home-made masks growing in Africa, with calls from some media in South Africa to encourage the use of masks by the public to protect themselves from contracting COVID19. Although it seems to be a plausible theory, it is currently not advocated by the WHO African Office, or Africa CDC. However, in situations where social distancing, handwashing and isolation are very difficult, it is likely to take off. It would be hard to discourage a livelihood to those who can make and sell masks.

Ideally, lots of people will do pragmatic research and find some answers that would help us all.

A reminder of the important messages for your organisation during the COVID19 outbreak:

  • Anyone with symptoms should isolate themselves until they recover and not go out, even with a mask.
  • If they need food or medicines, ask someone else to get these, and wear a mask when receiving them.
  • The best protection is physical distancing, handwashing, not touching the face and cough hygiene.
  • Masks do not protect the wearer; they may protect others only if properly used and in addition to all other measures.

Governments hence have a decision to make on whether to encourage mass mask wearing or even make mask wearing mandatory. In most sub Saharan African countries, cloth mask may be the only option. If your partner country opts for this, you could encourage cloth mask making and distribution.

How to make a homemade mask

Here are simple instructions on how to make a bandana mask in 1-minute video from Dr Jerome Adams, USA Surgeon General. And here are the CDC simple instructions on sewing or making cloth masks. The website Masks4All also has information and how to sew a cloth mask instruction. Masks must be removed carefully and washed after being taken off.

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COVID19 in sub-Saharan Africa: What does it mean for partnerships?

What does the global pandemic mean for partnerships between Wales and Africa? We are small but can still make a difference to the lives of many individuals even though we can expect to have very little impact at national, or international, level in the face of a such an overwhelming threat.

We are also in the business of long-term development and not humanitarian crises, so we should not abandon this principle. However, we have strong relationships of trust with partners who are facing a health, social and economic crises and we would all wish to do the best that we can using the capacity that we can mobilise.

For a good overview, try this short podcast from Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health Research, University of Oxford, or brief interviews with WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti

How do you catch COVID19?

COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from symptomatic people to others who are in close contact through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. People are most infectious within the first 3 days from onset of symptoms. The incubation period for COVID-19, between exposure to the virus and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, up to 14 days. A small number of people may be contagious before they get symptoms, or without having symptoms at all (6.4% to 12.6% in a couple of small studiesi)

Predictions of death rates

Estimates are that, If no action is taken, the pandemic could result in 2.4 million deaths across sub Saharan Africa, while full suppression measures (for example, full social distancing and sheltering the elderly and vulnerable) could reduce this by half to 1.2 millionii. In Africa, a smaller proportion of the population is over 65, so most modelling suggests that the overall number of deaths could be lower than in similar sized Western countries. However, this is by no means certain.  Older people may be more at risk of becoming infected as they tend to live in much larger multi-generational households where it would be difficult to shield them from the disease.  There are also many younger people who are more vulnerable, because of HIV, TB, malnutrition and other health conditions. There is very limited evidence that higher temperatures (above 29’) and more humid environments may slow the transmission of COVID19iii. However, health system collapse, and the higher proportion of vulnerable younger people, could result in higher mortality. 

Impact on health care

The COVID19 pandemic is now in many African countries. The response has been rapid and firm from many governments, perhaps learning from Ebola public health measures. The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) established the Africa Taskforce for Coronavirus (AFCOR) as early as February 5, before the continent had reported a single caseiv. The estimate is that over $200 billion will be needed to implement the Africa-CDC preparedness strategy. Additional resources will be needed to tackle the direct and indirect non-health consequences of this crisisv.

Many African countries are putting in place full lockdowns at a much earlier stage of local outbreaks than most European countries did. All the talk in the news is of “flattening the curve” so that the number of COVID19 patients do not overwhelm the healthcare system. In low income countries, the principle is the same, although the risk is a collapse of primary health care and basic hospital care, as critical care facilities are very sparse. This risks people with other acute needs missing out altogether. We could see maternal and infant mortality rise, as well as mortality from many other conditions.

However, it will be interesting to see how innovation in Africa comes up with better solutions, for example a simplified triaging such as that developed in Uganda, where health facilities do not have access to X-raysvi

Mitigation and suppression

The simplest strategies include reaching all communities to advise basic public health measures such as hand washing, cough hygiene and self-isolation for anyone with symptomsvii. Many countries are practiced with community public health messaging and will already have implemented these. But what about where water and soap are not easy to get?

Another major tool is case finding and contact tracing to break chains of transmission. Testing helps with this, however, limited availability of reliable testing kits would limit the feasibility of this option in most resource-poor countries.

More draconian strategies being used include social distancing to reduce face to face contacts by varying degree of lockdowns. This should be combined with sheltering of the elderly and vulnerable. WHO recommends that there should also be ongoing surveillance to test and isolate all identified cases and their household members as rapidly as possible to reduce onward transmission. Testing should also be used to check health workers, protecting patients, but access to testing is limited and patchy, and not always fast enough.

Misinformation can drive risky or useless behaviours. There is concern that myths are circulating on social media and through informal community networks. Authorities are working hard to effectively communicate factual information across different community groups and to counteract inaccurate, false statements relating to COVID19.

Social distancing is often impossible, leading to severe hardship and is perhaps even dangerous. According to estimates by UN-Habitat, 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were living in slums in 2010, or 61.7 per cent of the region’s urban population, the highest rate in the world. A very vivid account of the how the control measures advocated across the world may do more harm than good in large slum cities such as Lagos is laid out by Nigerian journalist OluTimehin Adegbeye viii

Masks for all

COVID19 is spread through droplets and possibly aerosols from an infected personix.  Guidance from WHO and in most countries has been for those with symptoms and those caring for them to wear masks, but not healthy peoplex.  WHO reviewed this evidence on 6th April and did not change this advice. They emphasised that surgical masks should be reserved for care staff and symptomatic people. There is insufficient evidence for cloth masks for the publicxi Michael Ryan, the World Health Organisation Executive Director of Health Emergencies, talked on April 3rd about the use of cloth masks for the public, but warns that the main driver of this disease is infected people coughing and contaminating. He said that cloth masks risked people not using the proven prevention measures but reluctantly conceded that they “may not be a bad idea in some contexts”xii Time will tell, and any country advocating this should research its impact.

Economic and social impact

Apart from the direct effect of COVID19 deaths, there will be enormous short- and long-term indirect impacts on health and wellbeing. Few African countries have comprehensive social protection in place, although many have some form that could be extended and implemented quickly to get money to those who are most vulnerable. The UNDP says: “Income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries. With an estimated 55 per cent of the global population having no access to social protection, these losses will reverberate across societies, impacting education, human rights and, in the most severe cases, basic food security and nutrition”

Women and children may suffer the most. Closed schools mean lost education but also children exposed to sexual and physical abuse.

Conclusion

One size does not fit allxiii The global impact will vary, with variation in who is vulnerable, who will die from the virus and who will die from the effects of control measuresxiv . A combination of home isolation of suspected cases, home quarantine of those living in the same household, and social distancing of elderly people and others at most risk of severe disease as optimal mitigation policies, which might reduce peak healthcare demand by 2/3 and deaths by a halfxv. But the cost of these measures may mean a greater toll in the longer term, with a severe slowing of development progress.

What can partnerships do?

Ask your partners what challenges they are facing and what do they think you can help with now. Think laterally:

  1. Do they want information and guidance?
  2. What can you do about social protection measures?
  3. How could you help health workers protect themselves?
  4. What would help your partners to mitigate the impact on communities?
  5. Can you fundraise and send money safely to your partners?
  6. Provide signposting to guidance and information that is appropriate
  7. Review your current projects: you will not be able to visit for many months, so how else can you deliver the objectives? DO you need to switch to something different? Discuss with your funder and just do it
  8. Fundraise for your partners or for other organisations (for example the WHO COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund)
  9. Consider longer term goals and objectives: what will you need to do differently in the longer term?

Resources for Africa

  1. Africa Centre for Disease Control https://africacdc.org/
  2. WHO Afro https://www.afro.who.int/
  3. WHO COVID19 resources https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  4. openWHO courses https://openwho.org/
  5. International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) https://ianphi.org/news/2020/covid-resources.html
  6. London School of Tropical Medicine COVID 19 https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/
  7. Our World in Data stats, charts and maps https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus#confirmed-covid-19-deaths-by-country



i Wycliffe E. Wei, Zongbin Li; Calvin J. Chiew et al Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — Singapore, January 23–March 16, 2020 Early Release / April 1, 2020 / 69 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6914e1.htm?s_cid=mm6914e1_w

ii Patrick GT Walker, Charles Whittaker, Oliver Watson et al,  WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling; MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis; Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics; Imperial College London, UK  Report 12 - The global impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression http://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/covid-19/report-12-global-impact-covid-19/

iii Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Oxford, Do weather conditions influence the transmission of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?  https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/do-weather-conditions-influence-the-transmission-of-the-coronavirus-sars-cov-2/

viRodgers R Ayebare, Robert Flick, Solome Okware et al Adoption of COVID-19 triage strategies for low-income settings The Lancet March 11, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30114-4 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30114-4/fulltext#articleInformation

viii OluTimehin Adegbeye Why social distancing won’t work for us The Correspondent March 2020 https://thecorrespondent.com/378/why-social-distancing-wont-work-for-us/441111671154-a87a2691

ix National Research Council 2020. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 1, 2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25769.

xiii Editorial, The Lancet Redefining vulnerability in the era of COVID-19 Volume 395, ISSUE 10230, P1089, April 04, 2020 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30757-1/fulltext

xiv Patrick GT Walker, Charles Whittaker, Oliver Watson et al,  WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling; MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis; Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics; Imperial College London, UK  Report 12 - The global impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression http://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/covid-19/report-12-global-impact-covid-19/

xv NeilMFerguson, Daniel  Laydon,  Gemma  Nedjati-Gilani et al Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand Imperial College London 16/3/2020  https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

Volunteers wanted - are you looking for a new challenge?

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If you’re looking to expand your skills, use your existing skills for the greater good, or to bridge the gap between your experience and a career in international development, volunteering with Hub Cymru Africa may be for you.

We’re currently living through eventful times both in the UK and globally, with the spread of Coronavirus causing many of us to work from home, or casting uncertainty over jobs and careers. Hub Cymru Africa work with many organisations who are continuing to plan projects that link together Wales and Africa, and who would benefit from volunteer support.

Volunteering doesn’t have to be office-based – in fact, we’ve helped people carry out volunteering projects remotely in the past, and in these uncertain times, volunteering your time and skills can help you gain valuable experience that could be of benefit once the situation with COVID19 is under control. And of course, it will positively impact the organisations that we help to support, which has impact on the lives of those living in Africa.

You could already have experience in an area, such as fundraising or communications, and want to donate some of your time to helping our partner organisations achieve their potential. Or you could be a student or job-seeker starting from scratch, and are looking to get some relevant international development work onto your CV. Whatever your level of experience, we’d like to hear from you.

You could gain experience in the following:

  • Writing for fundraising
  • Communications and digital media
  • Administration and organisation

To find out more information, email enquiries@hubcymruafrica.org.uk with the subject line ‘Volunteering’ and we’ll be in touch to help you find the perfect opportunity.

COVID19 in sub-Saharan Africa: What you need to know

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The situation with COVID19 is changing daily, and there are conflicting reports on what steps should be taken to avoid being exposed. What do development organisations need to take into account when planning partnership activities over the next few months?

Dr Kathrin Thomas, GP, Public Health Doctor and Chair of the Wales for Africa Health Links Network answers some of your most pressing questions about the outbreak here.

Will it reach some African countries?

Yes, it will. Nigeria and Senegal have reported 3 cases to date. The World Health Organisation AFRO office has said that “..fragile health systems and links between China and the African continent mean that the threat posed by this new virus is considerable”. Most countries do not have the capacity to do surveillance (testing of at-risk people), so there may well be circulating virus already that hasn’t been picked up.

How long will it last?

This is the first big wave, which is spreading globally, and there seems to be a 2-3 months curve in each epidemic area where the virus peaks. So, it depends on when it starts widely circulating in the community and how effective that community is in slowing the spread through public health measures (and ‘flattening’ the curve).  

What impact might it have in Africa­­?

There are some mitigating factors: many people still live in remote rural areas where spread will be slower. There is less mass travel between countries and isolating outbreaks may be easier. There is some evidence that the virus may not spread so well in hotter climates. However, containment and slowing spread through public health measures will be very challenging with far fewer health workers, and particularly in areas where there is distrust of government and authorities. Access to soap and water is a challenge in some areas, even for some hospitals. Help from the international community will be very limited, because it will be focussed in the richer countries. Most African countries do not have the capacity to treat large numbers needing critical care or to protect all health workers with PPE.

Should we cancel or delay trips?

This is now arguably a pandemic, although not officially named so by WHO at the time of publication. Once it is, authorities can use greater powers for controlling infection. This might affect advice for all international travel. However, travel restrictions are likely to be few as they are not very effective and have large economic impacts. Temperature screening isn’t very effective in preventing spread. So, if you have already booked a trip, check with your insurance what happens if you choose to cancel, as it won’t cover you if you are just “disinclined to travel”. If you haven’t already booked, consider delaying booking until it’s clearer what the epidemic is like in your partner country. Your partners may be too busy (e.g. health links) or you would feel too anxious to be away from home, or you are at higher risk yourself

Check the WHO page for travel advice which is regularly updated, and the FCO travel pages and Public Health England travel advice, and the Travel Health Pro website

What could we do differently?

This is the time to be imaginative and use technology: communication through WhatsApp or similar, trying distance conferencing (try www.zoom.us ) and distance learning methods. Please do share anything that you find is working by tagging @HubCymruAfrica on social media.

You might find that your partners have different needs and priorities during this time, and you might need to change plans for your activities anyway. You may want to consider fundraising instead of travel, for example.

Where can I get information from?

World Health Organisation AFRO office here and for COVID19 updates here

World Health Organisation global COVID19 pages here with some excellent resources

Updated 10.03.20

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 enquiries@hubcymruafrica.org.uk 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.

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KXVXI/

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: http://fairtradewales.com/

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