Friday, 23 May 2014

Concern Universal

I had to admit, when the young man stopped me in the street, that I'd never heard of this charity before. Apparently, they don't do much advertising, because of the cost, but they have been on Radio 4 recently, where Marcus Brigstocke talked about the Flower Pot Stoves that have been introduced in Malawi. The stoves use one third of the wood of traditional fires, which means that women don't have to walk so far looking for firewood - and the charity trains local people to make the stoves, so that they have an income as well. They also put people in touch with banks that can provide micro-finance, and act as facilitators to help people in remote villages get goods to market without being ripped off by middle men.
This afternoon, the new CEO of Concern Universal, which is based just down the road in Hereford, will be talking to Andy Fryers at Hay Festival along with the Director of the World Development Fund, in a Free but Ticketed event. The young man under the brolly was intending to go down and see the talk - a chance to get out of the awful weather for a while!
I always think street collectors have a dispiriting job, particularly when they are actually involved in the charity rather than employed for something they know little about. They have to spend the whole day being positive and enthusiastic, and not many people will sign up to give to the charity.
The Concern Universal website can be found at

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