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1. Introduction and context

Our International Strategy, published in January 2020, set out our ambitions to:

  • raise Wales’ profile on the international stage
  • grow the economy by increasing exports and attracting inward investment, and
  • establish Wales as a globally responsible nation.

As part of establishing Wales as a globally responsible nation, the Welsh Government committed in the International Strategy to expand and rename the Wales for Africa programme as Wales and Africa, better acknowledging the mutually beneficial partnership between us.

The Wales and Africa programme is supported by a small team in the Welsh Government and delivered by the public sector and civil society groups with private sector engagement. There is a tension between the desire to support the many Welsh groups working in over 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the need to maximise impact by focussing our support in a limited number of countries or regions. Over time Eastern Uganda and Lesotho have emerged as perhaps our strongest partnership links and we have committed, in the International Strategy, to taking particular action there on gender and equality including developing opportunities for women through mentoring.

For more than a decade, Wales has been developing and deepening community or institution based links and partnerships with sub-Saharan Africa. Partnerships characterise the Welsh approach to international development, sharing experiences and knowledge in a spirit of mutual respect and reciprocity. The programme also supports and encourages people in Wales to become active global citizens and to support actions that other governments and organisations around the world can replicate.

This vibrant and diverse approach has seen friendships formed across Wales and Africa, as people work together practically, purposefully and meaningfully towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Decade of Action towards Agenda 2030. The Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 and, in particular, the goal of a Globally Responsible Wales provides the basis for our engagement. The African community in Wales, which hails from a number of countries including Somaliland, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, plays an important role in building and sustaining these relationships particularly through the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel. A significant and increasing number of people come from sub-Saharan Africa to work in our health and social care services often maintaining strong links with their homeland.

At the core of the Wales and Africa programme are the many dozens of Welsh civil society organisations, health bodies and schools who work in partnership with their peers in African countries. Our focus is to strengthen them through funding advice and training to ensure they are able to operate to international development standards in challenging times. To this end, we fund and partner with a civil society partnership operating under the umbrella of Hub Cymru Africa who are able to offer that critical support and tailor it towards different specialist groups ranging from bodies operating in health and education to those working on climate change and equalities issues to diaspora groups.

Since the international strategy was published, the context has become considerably more challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on us all, including sub-Saharan Africa and the International Development and solidarity sector in Wales. The merger of the UK Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the recent announcement of substantial cuts to the 2020 overseas aid programme, has particularly impacted upon the large International Development organisations with operations in Wales who were already facing major funding challenges, not least from Brexit, resulting in job losses and budget cuts. This all combines to create a great deal of uncertainty which the Wales and Africa programme will need to navigate.

The Black Lives Matter movement, that has highlighted inequality across the world, is also making people and organisations across Wales consider what more we can all do to promote equality and diversity. This action plan has a focus on Fair Nation – and will continue to look at how the Wales and Africa programme can contribute to promoting diversity and inclusion in Wales, building on its foundations in mutuality and partnerships in Africa. The vision of the SDGs is that of a shared, sustainably developed world, in which no one is left behind. The SDGs set out an ambitious agenda for transforming the world for people, planet and prosperity. We share this ambition in Wales and we are committed to making our contribution to the goals. The need for the people of Wales to be active global citizens has never been greater and many people are taking action on global issues; in particular, the Climate Emergency has become a focus for action as partners in Africa are bearing the brunt of increasingly extreme weather.

With the SDGs strapline of “Leave No One Behind” marginalised groups have become a clear focus for activity. An example of this may be seen as capacity building and development of disabled people’s organisations, amongst other marginalised groups and initiatives, promoting their welfare and advocacy, for example the values of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Safeguarding has also, rightly, come to the fore in recent years with a better understanding of the issues and our collective and individual responsibilities with an urgent need to strengthen policies, procedures and practices at every level.

This action plan is one of a suite of International action plans and should be read alongside the 'Priority regional relationships and networks action plan', the 'International relations through public diplomacy and soft power action plan', the 'Diaspora engagement action plan and the export action plan'.

All of our plans will be supported by communication campaigns, using our offices overseas and in Wales and working with our partners. The success of these action plans relies on working collaboratively and harnessing the power of partnership. Working together is the most effective way of ensuring that Wales has an enhanced profile on the world stage.

Our vision

Our vision is:

To support Wales to be a globally responsible nation through building and growing sustainable partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa that support the delivery of the SDGs.

Our mission

Our mission is:

  • To work across the Welsh Government to take advantage of opportunities to build links with sub-Saharan Africa and to draw in expertise to support existing projects, increasing support for participation in partnerships across all sectors.
  • To work with partners to help people in Wales do more, so that people from all backgrounds across Wales can contribute towards work of a better quality, to help achieving Wales’ well-being goals with international partners as active global citizens.
  • To build a strategic relationship with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in the UK and overseas that delivers for the people of Wales and supports maintenance of the UK government commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on development.
  • To support Wales as a Fair Nation – especially as we promote fair and ethical Trade, diversity and inclusion in our international partnerships.
  • To demonstrate the impact of, and showcase, our most successful sustainable development and climate change activities, to promote replication across the world.

Key actions

Our key actions:

  • Plant and nurture at least 25 million trees in Uganda by 2025 to support alleviation of poverty and tackle climate change.
  • Support the development of a major pan-African Tree Planting project through groups across Wales, and seek the support of the UK government to deliver it.
  • Strengthen our Grants Scheme with a greater emphasis on adding value between partnerships whilst measuring and recognising their contribution.
  • Promote the adoption of fair and ethical trade across Wales and the concept of a Fair Nation, linking Fair Trade, diversity and inclusion.
  • Support the delivery of the commitments of the NHS Wales Charter for International Health Partnerships.
  • Support a pilot Gender Equality Programme in both Lesotho and Uganda.
  • Promote and achieve the highest standards in Safeguarding ensuring that the voice and agency of the poor and excluded groups is always considered in how the programme operates.
  • Use global opportunities such as Wales in Germany 2021, World Expo Dubai 2021-22, the annual World Health Organisation Assembly and COP26 to promote the Welsh Government’s approach to international development as a globally responsible nation and to forge new partnerships.

2. Sustainable development and the climate emergency

Mbale Tree Planting Programme

Climate change is having a devastating impact on parts of the African continent and Wales is anxious to play its part in attempting to address this urgent issue. Wales has already planted over 10 million trees in the Mbale region of Uganda and, in the International Strategy, our ambition over the next 5 years is to plant another 15 million to reach a total of 25 million trees. The project seeks to support communities by distributing 3.1 million trees every year – one for every person in Wales. It also seeks to engage people of all ages on climate change and the importance of trees and forests as part of the solution.

In order to do this, the Welsh Government has been working with Size of Wales, The Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise and other partners in Uganda and Wales for over 10 years. Through 45+ tree seedling nurseries, the programme distributes free tree seedlings to local people to be planted on smallholdings and land in the community along with fuel efficient stoves and advice and support for other livelihoods.

The project is also strengthening and improving the current systems in use, including:

  • accurate tracking of survival rates of trees
  • mapping of trees
  • a holistic set of key performance indicators to monitor programme delivery
  • impact and application of adaptive management

This will enable us to develop and refine the programme in light of learning.

Linked to this project is the Welsh Government’s ‘Plant!’ scheme. Now in its 10th year, ‘Plant!’ celebrates the birth of every child born or adopted in Wales by planting two trees – one is planted in new Welsh woodland ensuring trees for our future generations; the other is a fruit tree planted in Mbale.


  • We will support the distribution of over 3 million trees every year in Uganda – one for every person in Wales with a target of 25m by 2025.
  • We will work closely with partners to continue to professionalise and strengthen key aspects of the project programme and to drive up standards, particularly in governance, gender and safeguarding.
  • We will support an improved data capture system in Uganda to better track the location and survival rates of the trees that are distributed for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
  • We will support the development of a major pan-African tree planting project with groups across Wales, and seek the support of the UK government to deliver it. We will also promote the concept to other governments and organisations around the world, including at COP26.

Building a stronger international development and solidarity sector

At the heart of the Wales and Africa programme are the dozens of small civil society groups who work with African partners on education, climate change initiatives, livelihoods, health and sport and culture projects promoting well-being both here and in African communities. It is critical that their work is in line with international development principles and is based on mutual respect and shared learning. Over the years, mostly working through the NGO partnership Hub Cymru Africa (made up of of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Wales and Africa Health Links Network, the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel and Fair Trade Wales), our programme has developed skills around programme planning, evaluation and fundraising as well as helping ensure partners have a strong understanding of the wider development context they are working in. This work remains important and is now being enhanced with additional high quality support around Safeguarding which has become an international development priority in the last few years. Specific support is available for diaspora groups, professionally-led Health links and Fair Trade groups as part of this work.

This work is augmented with direct funding from the Welsh Government via the heavily oversubscribed small grants scheme currently administered by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action which has supported many dozens of groups to do more, with better outcomes, with their partners in Africa.

The awarding of grants falls under 4 themes:

  • Lifelong learning
  • Climate change
  • Health
  • Sustainable livelihoods

The awarding of grants under the ‘health’ theme provides opportunities for the Welsh NHS and the members of the Wales and Africa Health Links Network to engage in, and benefit from, international health partnership activity with the aim of addressing inequalities in access to quality health services through the strengthening of the health workforce. Funding for 2020 was distributed as 26 emergency grants to organisations with partners in sub-Saharan Africa to help with the fight against COVID-19.

The scheme will continue in its current format into 2021 and we will then review it, and its impact, to assess how best it can deliver against the international strategy.


  • The Welsh Government will continue to fund capacity building for civil society with an enhanced focus on Safeguarding quality, anti-racist practices, solidarity amongst marginalised groups and sustainable development that builds resilience to global pandemics and climate change.
  • We will extend the Grants Scheme under its current arrangements for a further year in 2021-22 and conduct a review of how the impact of small grants can best be delivered and captured.
  • We will give consideration to focusing the next round of grants, due to be opened in early 2021, on helping partnerships adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency.

International learning opportunities (ILO)

The ILO has provided nearly 200 people from Wales with 8-week placements in either Lesotho, Uganda or Namibia, which assist partner organisations with their efforts to deliver aspects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Participants report gaining considerable confidence and experience whilst contributing to the delivery of projects of real value. Due to COVID-19, the programme is currently suspended.


  • During the period of ILO programme suspension, we will review our ILO recruitment, safeguarding and reporting procedures. We will also consult with our African ILO partners about ways to further improve the impact of placements and investigate ways of enhancing placements through the use of IT to deliver against the International Strategy.
  • We will relaunch the programme with an emphasis on encouraging members of the African diaspora to volunteer.
  • We will investigate the possibility of opening the programme in Somaliland.

3. Fair Nation

Wales is committed to cementing its reputation as a Fair Nation – a nation committed to Fair Trade, Fair Work and Fair Play, especially through our work to deliver a More Equal Wales.

Fair Trade

The global Fair Trade movement aims to make trade fair for all and promote alternative forms of trade that put people and planet before profit. It does this through pricing mechanisms, democratic decision making and independent assessments.

As many producers in developing countries already work on very low margins close to the poverty line, the shock of COVID-19 has challenged the production of food, the well-being of whole communities, and increased the likelihood of human rights risks.

Ensuring supply chains are Fair Trade provides security and resilience to producers, giving them a voice through community cooperatives and workers committees and through the guarantee of a minimum price. The global pandemic has shown how vital more resilient, fairer, and more sustainable supply chains are as a focus for international development.

The Welsh Government has been committed to Fair Trade since 2006, with Wales meeting the original Fair Trade Nation criteria in June 2008, after an assessment by an independent panel. Criteria included measures on areas and institutions, public awareness and purchasing, and government commitments.

Since then, global responsibility has been embedded in Wales through the Well-being of Future Generations Act, public sector procurement, ethical employment in supply chains, and work on anti-slavery. In 2019, Wales hosted the International Fair Trade Towns Conference, with 250 people from over 40 countries visiting Wales to discuss the future of living incomes, Fair Trade activism and to showcase the Welsh Government’s pioneering work on Fair Trade.

Fair Trade Coffee 2020 – Fair Do’s Siopa Teg

The Welsh Government is funding and working closely with Coffee 2020 to support Fairtrade farmers involved in the Mbale Trees project by buying their coffee and promoting it in Wales as a Climate Friendly brand – demonstrating the link between Wales, Uganda, Fairtrade and Climate Action.

In partnership with the Mount Elgon Agroforestry and Communities, Cooperative Enterprise, a Wales-based partnership led by Fair Do’s Siopa Teg (a long established Fair Trade enterprise in Cardiff) is importing 6,000kgs of Fairtrade and Organic coffee from Uganda to Wales and supporting the sustainable livelihoods of up to 3,000 Fairtrade farmers in Uganda.

The partnership has conducted market research and is now looking to generate sales online through a subscription system and will be using social media and networks to promote this.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment

“Women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5.”

With a particular focus on developing mutually beneficial opportunities for women and girls with our partners in Uganda and Lesotho, Hub Cymru Africa has recently received funding from the Welsh Government to support a pilot gender and equality programme in those countries. These programmes will award grants and support to Welsh organisations working directly in partnership with organisations there.

Key programme outcomes will be increased leadership, work towards increased rights for women and girls in Uganda and Lesotho, including programmes to reduce domestic abuse, increase business and skills and develop peer to peer learning. In Wales we will increase knowledge and understanding of gender equity programming in the international development sector in Wales.

Fair Nation actions

  • We will support partner organisations to deliver on the Welsh Government’s commitment to be a Feminist government by funding gender specific partnerships between Wales, Lesotho and Uganda.
  • The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with both projects to ensure that maximum impact and publicity is achieved.
  • We will continue to work cross-departmentally, focussing on procurement, education and business, to deepen understanding and support for Fair Trade.

4. Our partners and working with others

In developing the international strategy, we consulted widely with almost 600 partners and stakeholders. The people who deliver this plan mainly sit outside of government and we rely on them to deliver the collective agenda. We will continue to work collaboratively with partners – at home and abroad – to continually drive up standards and improve impact. We will continue to work with partners to develop a sense of community in Wales, using the grant scheme and the services of Hub Cymru Africa to develop and disseminate best practice. The Welsh Government has memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with 4 districts in eastern Uganda and with the government of Lesotho. We will keep these MoUs under review and continue to seek to provide meaningful and mutual benefit.

Some of our strategic partners are:

Size of Wales

Size of Wales provides funding and expertise to local and indigenous communities in tropical regions to support them to secure and sustain their precious forests, grow more trees and establish sustainable livelihoods. Through education, community engagement and advocacy, Size of Wales also raises awareness in Wales of the importance of tropical forests and trees in tackling climate change and inspires people to see that they can be part of the solution.

With the support of the Welsh Government and others, Size of Wales seeks to protect an area of tropical rainforest twice the size of Wales. Size of Wales encourages the people of Wales to help tackle climate change by taking simple positive actions. It works with schools and businesses to raise funds for forests and raise awareness of the importance of forests in tackling climate change.

Hub Cymru Africa (HCA)

Hub Cymru Africa is a partnership bringing together the work of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Wales and Africa Health Links Network, the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel and Fair Trade Wales. Its purpose is to grow, educate, professionalise and mentor small groups to enable them to work more effectively and achieve their goals. The groups are usually Wales-based international development organisations, working in solidarity with African partners to create and deliver innovative solutions for communities living in poverty.

Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP)

The Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel was formed in 2009 when a number of African diaspora groups in Wales met to consider how they might collectively advance their common interest in local and international development. Whilst not representing African Diaspora communities in Wales, SSAP seeks to utilise skills, capacity and knowledge found within Welsh African diaspora communities for the benefit of all. It brings together lived experiences and provides a reality check for the charity sector as well as advocating for diaspora for development.

Disasters and Emergency Committee Cymru (DEC Cymru)

DEC Cymru secures funding from the Welsh general public, Wales-based institutional donors, trusts and foundations, corporate donors and high net worth individuals. It delivers enhanced coverage from media partners such as the BBC and S4C as well as new supporters such as Wales Online. With support from the Welsh Government, DEC Cymru is able to employ an External Relations Manager with the aim of raising more money, more quickly and efficiently, demonstrating the generous spirit of the people of Wales at times of international crisis.

Disability in Wales and Africa (DWA)

DWA is a Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) which aims to promote disability inclusion within the Wales Africa Sector through training, campaigning, research, and project support. It uses the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals to underpin its work. The Vision is of a world where disabled people are full, equal, and participatory members of society. DWA is currently exploring ways to facilitate the sharing of experiences, expertise, and ideas between disabled people in Wales and Africa in keeping with its objective of Global Solidarity.

Cardiff University Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a partnership with the University of Namibia which works to reduce poverty, promote health and produce a sustainable environment. Over the last 9 years the Phoenix Project has led and managed over 40 different education and research projects.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

It is important that we have a strategic relationship with the newly formed Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on issues around international development – one that delivers for the people of Wales and one that supports the maintenance of the UK government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on overseas development. The Department for International Development (DFID) was renowned for its pioneering work to deliver aid to countries facing the most incredible challenges, particularly those caused by climate change. The success of DFID has made it a world leader in international aid and the Welsh Government will press for reassurances that the merger of the FCO and DFID will not dilute that work.

Dolen Cymru. The Wales Lesotho Link

Dolen Cymru was formed in 1985 and has evolved from a friendship link into an international development organisation based on a strong partnership with the people of Lesotho. Dolen Cymru’s work involves teacher mentoring, mental health training, support for a rugby academy, water sanitation and hygiene and supporting dozens of school links between the 2 countries.

Annex A: Wales and Africa grant scheme

Small Grant Awards – £230,000 pa in total

2018-19 (Round 1 and 2)

  • Betsi Quthing International Health Partnership - Lesotho/North Wales
  • Cardiff University - Namibia/South Wales
  • CEMPOP UK - Uganda/South Wales
  • Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link - Lesotho/All Wales
  • Giakonda Solar Schools - Zambia/South Wales
  • Glan Clwyd-Ethiopia Link - Ethiopia/North Wales
  • Griot Creative - Kenya/South Wales
  • Love Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe/South Wales
  • Teams for U Ltd - Uganda/North Wales
  • Treeflights Ltd - Kenya/Mid Wales
  • Tropical Forest Products - Zambia/Mid Wales
  • Wales African Film Festival - Kenya/South Wales
  • Partneriaeth Masnach Deg Ynys Môn - North Wales
  • Blossom Africa - Uganda/South Wales
  • Chomzungari Women’s Co-operative - Zimbabwe/West Wales
  • Disability in Wales and Africa - All Wales
  • Dolen Ffermio - Uganda/Powys
  • Fair Do’s/Siopa Teg - South Wales
  • Fairtrade in Football Campaign - Kenya/West Wales
  • Friends of Monze - Zambia/South Wales
  • Hayaatt Women Trust - Somaliland/South Wales
  • Hazina - Tanzania/Mid Wales
  • Interburns - Malawi/West Wales
  • Life for African Mothers - Sierra Leone/South Wales
  • Montgomery Young Farmers Club - Powys
  • South Wales Sierra Leone Cancer Care - Sierra Leone/South Wales
  • Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association - Zimbabwe/South Wales
  • Zanzibar Mental Health Shamba (ZAMHS) - Zanzibar/Mid Wales

2019-20 (Round 3 and 4)

  • Bees for Development - Somaliland/South Wales
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board - Ethiopia/North Wales
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board - Namibia/North Wales
  • Eqlwys Gymraeg Mynydd Seion (EGMS) - Uganda/South Wales
  • Gift of Grace Education Project - Nigeria/South Wales
  • Heb Ffin - Uganda/South Wales
  • Interburns - Malawi/West Wales
  • PONT - Uganda/South Wales
  • Salt Peter Trust - Uganda/South Wales
  • Swansea Bay University Health Board - Zimbabwe/West Wales
  • Tools for Self Reliance - Tanzania/Mid Wales
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board - Kenya/North Wales
  • Betsi Quthing International Health Partnership - Lesotho/North Wales
  • Brecon Molo Community Partnership (BMCP) - Kenya/Mid Wales
  • Cardiff University School of Optometry and Vision Science - Ghana/South Wales
  • Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link - Lesotho/All Wales
  • Engineers for Overseas Development Limited (EFOD) - Uganda/South Wales
  • Fair Do’s/Siopa Teg CIC - Kenya/South Wales
  • Fairtrade Llanelli - South Wales
  • Food Adventure Ltd - Cameroon/South Wales
  • Giakonda Solar Schools - Zambia/South Wales
  • Grwp Masnach Deg Bangor/Bangor Fairtrade Group - Malawi/North Wales
  • Niokolo Network - Senegal/South Wales
  • ResponsABLE assistance - Kenya/South Wales
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - Zambia/Wales
  • Swansea Quaker Meeting - Cameroon/South Wales
  • Teacher Aid - Zambia/South Wales
  • Teams4U - Sierra Leone/North Wales
  • Treeflights Ltd - Kenya/Mid Wales

2020-21 (Round 5 and 6)

  • Bees for Development - Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda/South Wales
  • Blossom Africa - Uganda/South Wales
  • Care for Uganda - Uganda/South Wales
  • Africa Greater Life Mission UK - Uganda/Mid Wales
  • Breathe Creative - Kenya
  • ChallengeAid - Kenya/West Wales
  • Chomuzangari Women’s Cooperative - Zimbabwe/South Wales
  • Discovery Student Volunteering Swansea - Zambia/South Wales
  • Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link - Lesotho/All Wales
  • Give me hope Africa Wales - Uganda/South Wales
  • Hay2Timbuktu - Mali/East Wales
  • Life for African Mothers - Sierra Leone/South Wales
  • Love Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe/South Wales
  • Mothers of Africa - Zambia/South Wales
  • Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust (PONT) - Uganda/South Wales
  • ResponsABLE Assistance - Kenya/South Wales
  • Swansea Bay University Health Charity - Liberia/South Wales
  • Teams4U - Sierra Leone/North Wales
  • The SAFE Foundation - Sierra Leone/South Wales
  • Treeflights Ltd - Kenya/Mid Wales
  • Trio Uganda - Uganda/South Wales
  • United Purpose - Senegal/All Wales
  • ZAMHS - Zanzibar (Tanzania)/Mid Wales
  • Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association - Zimbabwe/South Wales