DFID, MDG’s and Young People

On Wednesday the 15th of September, I took the day off work to go and meet Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) and Andrew Mitchell (Minister for International Development) , along with 25 other young people. Above is the ‘official photograph’ and here is the ‘official press release‘ , can you spot me? I’m at the back in blue (next time I will focus more on the photo ops 🙂 )  Back to the important matter of why we were there.

We were there to help represent the views of over 30,000 young people from around the UK on International Development at an event called Our Voice. This was a chance to give young peoples’ views, ahead of the two-day UN Summit in New York which starts today on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The MDG were set in 2000 with the task of achieving them by 2015. Our Voice it involved two mini presentations, a Q&A as well the classic politician speeches. I enjoyed the fact that the Q&A session was very intense, and the ministers did agree to have a similar event in the future.

Was it a PR stunt? Well, I think they listened, I guess the outcome of the summit will show if they did. I think that the most important point if the day, was the about the impact these goals have on all generations. A person may sit in the UK and feel detached from what is going on in other countries, yet in our globalised world, we are all effected by the outcomes of the summit this week. Right after our meeting Nick Clegg and Andrew Mitchell had another appointment at the BOND event with 370 UK NGOs working in international development.


Thank you to the great team at the DFID and VSO Youth Working Group for organising such an opportunity.

Nothing to do this summer? ……………Why not volunteer.

As summer approaches there are many students looking for something to do with their time. With many of us struggling to find a job an alternative is to volunteer or be an intern. I have been volunteering for a while with many different types of organisations.

It began with Orange RockCrops in 2008 where the concept is that you volunteer for four hours and in return Orange will give you a concert ticket at the great Royal Albert Hall. Since then the idea has grown and so has the support with the likes of Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Tiny Tempah all showing their support. Click here for Orange RockCorps, Give and Get given.

Next in my volunteer journey was Platform 2. This was an experience that allowed me to go away for 10 weeks to volunteer in Kasapin, Ghana. I had an amazing time and learnt so much about another aspect of volunteering. It was a fully funded volunteer scheme, funded by the Department of International Development and run by Christian Aid and BUNAC. Since coming back I have been given the platform to express my experience in a range of ways from writing in my university newspaper to giving talks at a range of events. Platform 2 is still going on so click here to find out how you can also take part.

Next was Oxfam and the East London Campaigns Group. I thought it would be good to do something a bit more local. So I join the East London Campaigns Group. I love the flexibility of helping out where I can which let volunteering fit around me. Yaarah Schools is another way I involve myself in volunteering as it is a charitable cause that is helping improve the learning of children in villages around the world.

Overall, I am an exception to the rule as I have my fingers in many different aspects of volunteering. Yet this has allowed me to learn so much and also boost so many different skills. In this economic climate volunteering is one way of put yourself out there, showing a different aspect that you have to give. Employers would rather have an active person who is well rounded and volunteering helps do this. So enjoy and get involved this summer :).


Yesterday, I attended the speech of Andrew Mitchell at Oxfam’s 21st Century Aid report launch event, at the Royal Society in London. Here is a link to some of his main points. He also answered some of the questions posed to him by OXFAM supporters. One of which was my own focused on awareness raising. My concern was about who is expected to fill the gap and continue in increasing the knowledge of the British public regarding understanding development issues in a holistic way? Is it not the governments role to help improve knowledge through effective awareness raising to increase the understanding of where tax payers money is going and being spent? £55,000 has been cut from music stalls at festivals, this is an avenue for many young people to get a better understanding of development issues, which is equally as important for a holistic approach to aid and development. Here is his response:

Development awareness is important. It was a DFID scheme Platform 2 which helps increase awareness that allowed me to get a better understanding of development issues first hand. It is important that something fills the gap for awareness raising as how is the tax payer meant to understand where their money is going without the information and knowledge to do so properly.