Earlier this month – on hearing the news that Rory Stewart had stepped into the best job in government – we reached out to our amazing supporters for the third time in as many years asking them to welcome the new Secretary of State to his role. And to tell him about their priorities for UK aid.
The powerful responses we received were added to those collected by the ONE campaign and Global Citizen. Last week we handed in more than 2,000 messages to him at the Department for International Development.
What did people have to say?
Bar a few humorous suggestions, and the calls to put party politics aside, overwhelmingly the clear themes were about upholding children’s rights and prioritising building futures. Here’s a flavour of what we received
As a rich country in the developed world we must ensure that children in developing countries are given a chance to grow up healthy and strong and that means supporting quality healthcare systems, a good education system and ensure that their human rights are safeguarded. It is our moral duty to do this – Deirdre, Maldon
Congratulations on your appointment to this very important post! I know that my child is fortunate to be growing up with enough food, clean water, and a good education. I would like this to be the norm for all children rather than some being lucky. Please help to work towards this goal. – Rosemary, Surrey
Welcome to your new post. Please be aware that despite the criticism of some politicians and commentators the majority of people support the national commitment to overseas aid as morally essential. – Andrew, Lewisham
Young people have been making their voices heard too. Just before Rory Stewart took on this role, my colleagues visited a school in East London to hear what schoolchildren would do if they were in charge of the UK’s aid budget. Their messages are full of hope – check out this video to find out what they said.
Why messages matter
As debates continue among politicians and the media about how much aid we give, to which priorities and from which departments, you could be forgiven for forgetting this simple truth: across the country there are people who feel proud of UK aid and its ability to help save and transform the lives of the world’s poorest people.
It’s rumoured that the previous Secretary of State kept her welcome card displayed in her office the whole time she was in office. Here’s hoping Rory Stewart does the same – and the messages inside act as a powerful reminder of the passionate support that exists for aid and it prioritises helping children access the essential services many of us take for granted.