The lack of support for small UK charities working overseas will hurt the world’s poorest

The Government’s £2.9 Billion global development budget cut comes as 45% of small charities working in international development are forecasted to close within the next 12 months.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues around the world, small UK charities working overseas are continuing to provide vital support to vulnerable communities. Nevertheless, a recent Small International Development Charities Network survey shows that despite nearly three quarters of small international development charities seeing demand for their services increase, funding opportunities are rapidly disappearing. The recent announcement to merge DFID and FCO was a blow to these important charities, and the hundreds of thousands they serve. The future of small international development charities became all the more uncertain when, on the last day of Parliament before recess, Dominic Raab announced a £2.9 billion cut to the UK’s global aid budget.

Without additional funding, 45% of small charities working in international development will close within the next 12 months. This is because UK charities working overseas were not eligible to apply for the UK Government Coronavirus Community Support Fund, many UK funders have amended their giving criteria to only support UK-based projects and the Department for International Development (DFID) has ‘paused’ grants leaving charities and projects in limbo.

Charities like Carers Worldwide, which supports carers in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, have seen demand for their services skyrocket over the last few months. The charity’s COVID-19 response, including provision of sanitation packs, food parcels and PPE, has supported 47,601 people across the region. “The biggest impact of reduced funding will be on our beneficiaries.” says Ruth, Operations Manager of Carers Worldwide.

Similarly, Kids Club Kampala, a charity which supports vulnerable children in slums across the city of Kampala, quickly converted its community classrooms into food banks. They were initially expecting to feed 1,000 families, but have so far fed 27,821 households with over 600,000 food parcels. This number is expected to grow, as Kids Club Kampala have been asked by the Government of Uganda to further expand services to meet growing need.

Many small charities delivering services overseas are struggling to survive with no dedicated support from the Government. East African Playgrounds is a charity which has built over 350 playgrounds, bringing safe play and improved education for over half a million children. Murielle, CEO of East African Playgrounds, states that the charity has seen “95% of its funding disappear overnight”. The future of these small charities looks bleak, as doors continue to close from all angles.

Small UK charities working overseas are a forgotten group. They are supporting some of the world’s poorest communities during this crisis, and will be needed well beyond to aid recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. These charities need funding as a matter of urgency – so that vulnerable communities are not left behind.




  • Ms Jo Ashbridge, Trustee at SIDCN, and Director at AzuKo

075 076 42167 /  

077 459 55682

075 232 04556

078 164 09148


  • Small International Development Charities Network (SIDCN)

SIDCN exists to bring together and amplify the voices, needs and concerns of small UK charities working internationally, and their beneficiaries.

Survey, How is COVID-19 affecting small UK charities working in international development?

  • Carers Worldwide

Registered charity in England and Wales (1150214)

Carers Worldwide is the only organisation working exclusively and strategically with unpaid family carers in the global south. Established in 2012, the charity implements a range of grassroots projects through partner organisations across India, Nepal and Bangladesh and engages in advocacy at national, regional, and global level. Carers Worldwide draws attention to the poverty, vulnerability, marginalisation, and exclusion faced by carers through lobbying local organisations, NGOs, governments, and international agencies for positive change. It also works to develop carer-inclusive initiatives that meet the emotional, physical, social, and economic needs of carers.

  • Kids Club Kampala

Registered charity in England and Wales (1152451)

Kids Club Kampala is working to bring hope and love to vulnerable children in the slums of Uganda. The charity aims to overcome the lack of hope and self-esteem of children living in situations of extreme poverty by empowering communities to bring about sustainable changes. Its vision is to see lives transformed, children and communities empowered and to ultimately not need to exist as poverty will have been reduced throughout Uganda’s slums. Kids Club Kampala both provides for children’s immediate basic needs and works to bring about long-term sustainable changes in their lives. Its focus areas are providing access to education, keeping children safe, meeting basic needs, and transforming communities.

  • East African Playgrounds

Registered charity in England and Wales (1172875)

Since 2009, East African Playgrounds has been delivering safe and exciting play programmes to vulnerable children in East Africa. Founded by two students while at university – the charity has grown exponentially and in just over 10 years, impacted over half a million children, built 350 playgrounds, and facilitated numerous employment opportunities through its volunteer programmes and in-country apprenticeship and work opportunities. East African Playgrounds is a small charity with big ambitions and plans to extend its work to 10 countries in the next 10 years, harnessing its position within the international non-governmental organisation (INGO) sector to bring the benefits of play to even more vulnerable children who could benefit from its support.

Additional high-resolution images available on request.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of AzuKo, on Monday 3 August, 2020. For more information subscribe and follow

Charities International Development Coronavirus DFID Government Funding Poverty Business & Finance Charities & non-profits Coronavirus (COVID-19) Government
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The lack of support for small UK charities working overseas will hurt the world’s poorest