An exciting new merger to help eradicate Global Poverty
28 Mar 2018
Efforts to end extreme poverty will be taken to a new level with the merger of two of the longest established international development charities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
War on Want Northern Ireland, which has 13 charity shops, are to formally re-launch as ‘Self Help Africa’, following a merger with the Dublin-based development charity. Self Help Africa also has offices in London, Shrewsbury, and New York.
War on Want NI has been active for close to 60 years and is linking up with Self Help Africa to extend the reach and the breath of its work in sub-Saharan Africa, where Self Help Africa is currently helping to improve the lives of close to four million people.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister hosted the launch in Belfast City Hall. She said: “I’m delighted to host the launch of this exciting new venture. The merging of these two organisations shows fantastic ambition and a determination to offer greater levels of help and support across a number of channels. I’m excited to see what the future holds for ‘Self Help Africa’, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will undoubtedly make on the lives of those most in need.”
War on Want NI supports agricultural development projects in Uganda and previously in Malawi, while Self Help Africa has projects in each of these countries, as well as farm and enterprise development activities in Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia and across several countries in West Africa. Self Help Africa merged with Gorta, one of the Republic of Ireland’s longest established overseas agricultural development organisations, in 2014.
The combined organisation will have a total budget of close to £25m in 2018 and will provide agricultural, nutrition and income development support to over four million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
The merger of War on Want NI and Self Help Africa was launched at Belfast City Hall with Claire Hanna MLA, chairperson of the All Party Group on International Development, and former Irish Government Minister Tom Kitt, who is chairperson of Self Help Africa, in attendance.
Siobhan Hanley, Director of War on Want NI said that the merger would provide renewed impetus and new opportunities for the organisation to reach more people, and make a more significant contribution to the work against hunger and poverty in one of the world’s poorest regions. “Both organisations share the same ‘self-help’ approach that provides marginalized farming communities with the resources they need to work their way out of poverty,” she said.
"We have more than 200 fantastic volunteers who are the lifeblood of this charity, and who have been deeply committed down through the years. By coming together with Self Help Africa, we can deliver far more in our efforts to end global poverty, a task that we undertake on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland who support our work," she added.
As a former Irish Government Minister who was involved in negotiations at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, Tom Kitt said that he knew the power and impact that could be achieved from joint working. “This merger is a practical example of how we can continue to work successfully together to achieve more,” he said.