Overseas Development Minister Peter Power will launch a new Irish development agency today focusing on eradicating poverty in Africa.
Self Help Africa is the result of a recent Anglo-Irish merger between Irish NGO Self Help Development International and the UK-based charity Harvest Help.
Both groups have been working for the past 25 years implementing programmes to allow rural Africans grow enough food to earn a living.
Self Help Development International was set up in Ireland in 1984 in response to the devastating famine in Ethiopia.
One of its first sources of major investment was Bob Geldof’s Band Aid Trust, which provided more than €640,000 to carry out a rural development project in Ethiopia.
Harvest Help was established in the United Kingdom following a wave of droughts in Zambia in 1985.
The new agency, Self Help Africa, works in nine African countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Togo and Zambia.
It has no expatriate staff in the field, but instead employs local employees and works through partners and communities on all its projects, with a core staff of just 10 in Ireland and seven in the UK.
They provide support by ensuring simple and effective innovations to farming, managing