Department for International Development
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New support to boost grassroots British charities

International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced an innovative fund to supporting small development and humanitarian organisations.

The UK will champion the passion and experience of grassroots British charities working on the frontline to deliver for the world’s poorest, International Development Secretary Priti Patel said today.

Speaking at the Bond annual conference Ms Patel announced an innovative fund dedicated to supporting small development and humanitarian organisations to scale up the excellent work they already do to help the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

This fresh new approach to supporting small UK charities will increase the reach of their interventions to deliver even more effectively for the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

Britain’s small charities do amazing, often highly innovative work in some of the world’s poorest places. Often staffed by volunteers, their dedication to the most disadvantaged in the world is remarkable.

Giving Britain’s small charities financial support will give a real boost to the excellent work they do. I will increase DFID’s support for these grassroots charities as I believe that smaller charities are a crucial part of the Great British offer on international development.

The Secretary of State also announced a new partnership between the DFID, the Charity Commission and the wider sector. This new partnership will provide training to small and medium sized organisations working overseas on development to build their skills and capabilities and increase their effectiveness, at the same time as increasing public trust and support for development work.

Chairman of the Charity Commission William Shawcross said:

We are delighted to be working closely with DFID on this project. British charities have a proud history in the delivery of overseas aid and development in dangerous places.

Helping small and medium sized charities deal with today’s huge risks is crucial. This work will be key in building capacity to ensure these charities can operate to the highest standards. We hope this new project with DFID will lead to even deeper co-operation between us.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission UK (DAM UK) Programme and Fund Manager Emma Crump said:

As the sole employee of a small UK registered international development NGO working in Bangladesh, we fully welcome a fund specifically tailored to charities like ours. Small NGOs like Dhaka Ahsania Mission UK (DAM UK) often have minimal staff and resources yet carry out vital and unique work reaching some of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities around the world. Small NGOs often have a greater degree of adaptability and specialist knowledge that is directly informed from the communities they work closely with.

Many charities in a similar position to us are funded by dedicated supporters who feel passionate about our work and are essential in assisting that work to continue. Small charities often dedicate their minimal staff and resources towards sourcing larger or multi-year funds, yet for many, the scale and complexity of the application process renders it an unsustainable option. This is despite the work the charity is doing being of great value and often distinctive.

Accessing tailored UK aid funding for small NGOs would enable us to scale up our work, carry out longer term initiatives and focus on sharing our learning. We would feel much more confident in applying for a fund that recognises the challenges faced by small NGOs. An opportunity such as this has great potential to help small NGOs build their organisational capacity and become more robust.

Notes to editors:

  • DFID will be launching the new Small Charities Challenge Fund this summer. This Fund will be specifically targeted at small UK-registered civil society organisations with an annual income of less than £250,000.
  • This will be the first time DFID has set up a fund dedicated purely to charities of this size.
  • The launch of the Small Charities Challenge Fund is in response to the consultation with smaller charities during DFID’s Civil Society Partnership Review.
  • Smaller organisations are a crucial part of the great British offer on international development.
  • DFID’s new partnership with the Charity Commission will provide support to strengthen small and medium sized organisation’s skills and capabilities when it comes to managing humanitarian and development projects overseas.

Following publication of the Civil Society Partnership Review, DFID’s main funding for civil society organisations are:

  • UK Aid Match - a scheme that match-funds public donations to charity appeals for projects to reduce poverty in developing countries, giving the British public a say in what international development issues are important to them. Doubling UK Aid Match is a manifesto commitment.
  • UK Aid Direct - providing grants to small and medium-sized civil society organisations, primarily for work to directly tackle poverty in poor communities around the world.
  • UK Aid Connect - a new partnership approach that will allow civil society organisations to work collaboratively, bringing together knowledge, practice and expertise for solutions to some of the most difficult development problems.
  • UK Aid Volunteers – which will include the manifesto commitment to triple in size the International Citizen Service (ICS) youth volunteering scheme and provide opportunities for new partnerships with volunteering agencies.
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