Staff News

Raising awareness of global issues through pedal-powered cinema

Tuesday 29 November 2016

This weekend (26-27 November 2016) gave Cardiff residents the chance to learn about life and sustainable development initiatives in West Africa, thanks to a vibrant cinema and cultural event hosted in Canton by local charity Niokolo Network and their partner the Pedal Emporium.

Attendees were treated to traditional West African cuisine whilst being entertained by djembe drumming from African dance and theatre company Ballet Nimba. This was followed by a screening of the film Kirikou & the Sourceress which was entirely powered by the Pedal Emporium system, which uses a stationary bike-like structure to generate enough energy to show films on a large screen without any need for an additional source of electricity.

The event provided Niokolo Network with a platform to speak about their work with economically disadvantaged communities on the periphery of Niokolo-Koba national park, a UNESCO world heritage site in danger located in southeastern Senegal. Their aim is to promote sustainable means of economic growth and poverty reduction, whilst supporting the conservation of the local environment and raising global awareness of the impact of climate change in the area.

This event was supported by a grant received from Hub Cymru Africa, funded by Welsh Government. Liz Rees, Programme Support Officer at Hub Cymru Africa, said “Events such as this are a fantastic way to engage and inform the Welsh public about global issues, whilst also promoting cultural exchange and cohesiveness within the local communities”.

For more information about the work of Niokolo Network and other Wales-Africa links supported by Hub Cymru Africa, please visit

Meet the Disability Inclusion Development Grant Recipients

Monday 28 November 2016

(Jonah Sialumano speaking at the DWA event)

Celebration of United Nation’s International Day of Person’s with Disability (UNIDPD) – 3rd of December 2016.

Disability inclusive development is at the core of Hub Cymru Africa’s (HCA) work and this has been done through promoting and supporting Welsh based organisation to support partners in Africa working on these areas. We have also hosted share learning events and networking events to allow further learning and sharing best practice.

Fadhili Maghiya, HCA’s diaspora and inclusion officer has worked with a number of these organisations to help develop and support their work.

Fadhili said: “We want to encourage more organisation to work with partners in Africa and ensure that disabled people are not left behind. As part of the ‘No One Left Behind’ campaign and celebration of UNIDPD, we will highlight some of the work done by Welsh based NGOs to support disable people organisations (DPOs) across Africa. With this year’s theme being on ‘achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want’.”

Life-changing outreach to disabled children in Tanzania: Working with partners in Tanzania, Hazina are working with disabled children and their families in the Bangalala community through a community rehabilitation training programme. Fadhili visited the community the organisations it supports and seeing how they are raising awareness and educating the local community regarding disability, its causes and the rights of disabled people.

Empowering Learning Disabled People through Drama.

When Hijinx went to Lesotho and showed many of the films or shared photographs of our learning disabled actors performing publically and skilfully in front of large, appreciative audiences, the word they heard more than any other in Lesotho was ‘WOW!!’

On one occasion they showed the films to Mamello - an inspirational disabled woman who runs a village and a school for over 150 disabled children up in the mountains of East Lesotho.  She was so impressed that she brought in ALL her staff and her older children to see the films and the photos for themselves.  She wanted the staff to see what the children in their care could be capable of…..She wanted the children themselves to have their aspirations raised.

This project focuses on developing awareness and understanding of disability issues in both Wales and Africa, and developing volunteering amongst disabled people in Wales.

DWA invited Jonah Sialumano, an activist on disability inclusive development from Zambia. Jonah was able to raise awareness of disability issues in development, as well as being a valuable contact to help further work around disability in Siavonga. When attendees to Jonah’s talks were asked what they had gained from the presentations attendees said "We learned about the barriers Jonah and other disabled people in Zambia face in their day-to-day lives and some of the work Health Help Zambia has done to tackle these."

Capacity Building & Empowerment Initiative (CBAEI)

The Somaliland Mental Health Support Organisation (SMHSO) brings together professional and voluntary expertise from South Wales to improve the situation in Somaliland and increase the understanding of healthcare providers in Wales.

SMHSO is using its grant to recruit and train volunteers in the skills necessary to support people who are living with mental illness, their families and communities.

Service providers and carers will get mental health first aid training while awareness raising and advocacy skills training will be provided for carers.

Scaling up care intervention for mental health disorders in Somaliland

The project aims to address the problem of treatment gaps for common mental health disorders by establishing and implementing scale-up framework: They have trained non-specialist mental health and other health professionals in identified sites within the districts of Hargeisa City, mainly the distant areas and corners of the districts of the city and other main towns in Maroodijeh Region. 

They have introduced a provision of 1st contact mental health service in Health posts and MCHs including setting up Referral system to the main Hospitals of the region and therefore improve access to services for people with mental health issues.

Improving mental health management in Lesotho

Through this project Dolen Cymru were able to improve the ability of health professionals in the country to identify and manage mental ill health by training psychiatric nurses, family medicine trainees and primary health care nurses.

The Welsh healthcare professionals carrying out the training was able to gain teaching experience and benefit from an enhanced awareness of global health issues.

Meeting Grant Recipients: Full Circle Education

Wednesday 9 November 2016

(The Full Circle Education team meeting with local villagers)

An important part of the grants support staff’s work is to meet with grant recipients to talk about their projects and advise them on the challenges they face.

Grants and Development Support Manager, Beth Kidd recently met with Nikki Giant from Full Circle Education following the completion and reporting on their girls’ empowerment project in Uganda. It was great to hear how this project had been a really rewarding experience for the team, and how, having conducted a comprehensive community needs assessment it became clear to Nikki and her colleagues that their initial project design needed to be rethought.

Having originally planned a project to raise the aspirations of girls between 11 and 18 in rural Uganda Full Circle found that there was not a need to raise girls’ aspirations but to eliminate some of the barriers that surround these girls, particularly lack of access to education due to school fees. The community assessment helped Full Circle to gain an accurate picture of life for the women and girls and have a much clearer understanding of their needs, which has enabled them to plan a more realistic and appropriate approach going forward.

Nikki and her colleagues are now looking at the possibility of bringing their partner organisation to visit Wales to see how vocational training and skills development is offered to young people in the UK, and to generate ideas about how such models can be used in Uganda.

Beth was able to offer advice on accessing further funding and put Nikki in touch with other organisations in Wales working on similar issues.

Find out more about Full Circle Education.

Liz's Ugandan International Learning Opportunity (ILO)

Monday 24 October 2016

(Liz sharing a moment with colleagues in the shade)

My name is Liz Rees and I am the Programme Support Officer for Hub Cymru Africa. I have recently returned from a wonderful 6 weeks in Mbale, Uganda, where I was lucky enough to undertake an International Learning Opportunities (ILO) placement funded by Welsh Government. 

My role whilst on placement was to build the capacity of four different Mbale-based NGOs, with the aim of improving their potential to access funding through communications, grant writing and reporting skills training. These skills are extremely important to African organisations; the people I worked with have achieved so much with so little, yet have had very little success to date in accessing larger scale funding to provide some much needed security and project sustainability.

I am relatively new to the field of international development, and it was so incredibly valuable for me to see the types of projects that we are involved with at Hub Cymru Africa in action. I now have a much more in-depth understanding of what works, what doesn't, and the issues and unintended consequences that need to be considered when implementing sustainable development projects in Africa.

If you would like to read more about my work and adventures in Mbale, you can do so at: