At Karuna, we share the concern expressed by many in the Overseas Aid community about yesterday’s announcement of the planned merger of DFID with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Since DFID was founded in May 1997, it has supported many wonderful projects which address the needs of people from marginalised communities in different parts of the world. Karuna was fortunate enough to receive two grants from DFID for our work in India; first in 2007 and then again in 2012. We are grateful that through our work with DFID we have been able to provide educational opportunities to many thousands of people from vulnerable communities in both the remote, high-altitude Himalayan region and in rural Maharashtra.
Over recent months, we have been in discussion with DFID about an exciting new project that would have provided safe menstrual hygiene opportunities to women and girls in remote areas of Nepal. At the time of writing, these discussions have been put on hold pending a review of Government funding priorities and we are waiting to hear whether the funding partnership will go ahead. We are also hoping to apply to DFID for a new project helping girls in Nepal get back into school once the COVID-19 lockdown comes to an end.
We appreciate that the new Department will face many demands on its limited resources as we all start to adapt to life after COVID-19. We understand that this will mean making difficult choices to balance the needs of people here in the UK with those of people from the poorest communities in the developing world, many of whom were already living on the edge of destitution even before the crisis began.
We sincerely hope that, as we all struggle to rebuild our lives over the coming months, the new Department will continue to address the needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, including the very vulnerable communities we work with in India and Nepal.