Update July 2021
On 12 July 2021 the government won a parliamentary vote confirming their plan to reduce UK aid to 0.5% of GNI, until a set of fiscal conditions allow a future return to 0.7%. These conditions have only been met once in the last 25 years - or not at all since the 1970s, depending on how 'sustainable current budget surplus' is interpreted. With the bar set so high, the cut is therefore not temporary, as suggested by Rishi Sunak, but effectively permanent while the current government remain in power. It also put the seal on the withdrawal of Advantage Africa's grant as described below.
We are most grateful to everyone who campaigned against the cut and the restoration of the 0.7% target by writing to their MP. Thank you.
FCDO withdraw Advantage’s Africa grant
A lost opportunity for people with albinism in Uganda
On 28th April 2021 we were informed by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office that the pledge of a £250k grant over three years to fund our project ‘Leaving No Person with Albinism Behind in Uganda’, due to start on 1st April, had been withdrawn. You can read our detailed response to the FCDO on hearing this news here.
People with albinism are among the poorest, most vulnerable and persecuted in the world and their situation has been made worse by the strict COVID-19 lockdown. However, they remain a neglected group and we’re unaware of any significant government aid funding in Africa to help them improve their lives. Building on our ground-breaking albinism work begun in 2013, this grant was set to change all that. Together with our partner the Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA), we worked for nearly three years to secure this grant and prepare to achieve it’s life-changing outcomes.
Impact of the decision
The direct impact of the grant withdrawal means that:
- 1,000 people with albinism will be at increased risk of life-threatening skin cancer as education campaigns, skin clinics, cryotherapy and sunscreen distribution is compromised.
- 150 visually impaired children will not have access to spectacles and other vision aids to support their education.
- 1,500 people in 300 chronically poor families affected by albinism will not have the opportunity to earn an income to meet their basic needs.
- Training for 560 people including teachers, health workers, midwives, police and legal professionals will not take place and the misunderstanding and discrimination of people with albinism within their professions will continue.
- Public awareness-raising and campaigning on albinism will be much reduced. The persecution, exclusion and stigma experienced by people with albinism will remain unchallenged and current discriminatory laws and practices unchanged.
- There will be no replicable model to promote the rights and well-being of people with albinism across Uganda resulting from the evaluation of the project.
Cost to Advantage Africa
The grant presents an immediate loss of funding to Advantage Africa of approximately £80k per year for the next three years.
To submit the application and undergo the due diligence and grant set-up processes, we spent over 800 person hours, answered 351 written questions (plus numerous more during three meetings) and submitted an additional 93 supporting documents and policies.
The cost to our organisation and staff well-being has been immense. The time we spent could have been used on fundraising towards our albinism work from other sources and we currently have very little secure funding for it. We are in a far worse financial position than if we had never applied for a grant.
How you can help
- We and our team in Uganda are devastated by this decision. If you'd like to send an encouraging message to the SNUPA team please do so via our Uganda Programme Manager Jane at email@example.com.
- Oppose the harmful aid cut and request the restoration of the UK's commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid by writing to your MP. More information on how to do this and points to get across can be found here.
- Support our albinism project with a one-off or regular donation so that the work can continue and restore hope among those who would have benefitted from the grant.
Advantage Africa is a small organisation built on strong and trusting relationships with our partner organisations in East Africa and people like you - our supporters. We value every email or letter you write, pound you give, intercession you pray, and Facebook ‘like’ you make to support vulnerable people. In the face of this bitter blow we appreciate you more than ever. Thank you.