Scotsmen & Mercy Corps

Executive pledges A?A?250,000 to aid the crisis in Darfur


THE new SNP government is expanding the reach and scope of the Executive’s international aid fund by committing A?A?250,000 to ease the plight of those suffering in Darfur in east Africa, it emerged yesterday.

Jack McConnell, the former First Minister, set up a fund of A?A?4.5 million for international development during his time in office, most of which was allocated to charities in Malawi, which is now twinned with Scotland.

Mr McConnell believed that the best way to make an impact was to concentrate much of the Executive’s very limited resources in one country.

Now, however, Alex Salmond has changed the emphasis. He has promised to double the size of the fund to A?A?9 million in the new spending round, which will be announced in November, and he has decided to spread the Executive’s resources more widely.

The decision to give A?A?250,000 to the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund for its work in the crisis-hit region of Darfur is an example, both of the extra funds which the new Executive is committed to providing, but also the wider scope of its aid programme.

The Scottish Executive is limited to what it can do in international development and ministers have to be careful not to impinge on the remit of the much bigger Department for International Development in London, which co-ordinates Britain’s aid effort.

But the Darfur initiative falls within the remit of the Scottish Executive, principally because the money is going to a Scottish charity, not to the authorities in Darfur.

A spokeswoman for the Executive also confirmed that ministers in Edinburgh had been in close touch with Whitehall while drawing up this grant and that the International Development Department was “fully behind” the initiative.

Mary Cullen, the head of communications at SCIAF, said the money would be very well spent helping “the poorest of the poor”.

“It will go immediately to projects on the ground in Darfur to help keep people alive through what continues to be a complex and desperate crisis,” she said. “Together with the threat of violence, there is the very real risk of large scale fatalities from diseases such as cholera and malaria.

“The displaced population in Darfur now accounts for a staggering 2.1 million people, with the number of new arrivals going up all the time. Since January alone, 110,000 new people have fled to camps for protection, food and shelter.”

The war in the Darfur region of Sudan has been raging for four years and has left hundreds of thousands dead, either through the conflict itself or indirectly from starvation and drought. Announcing the cash, external affairs minister Linda Fabiani said the money would support more than 120,000 people in communities most affected by the violence and unrest in the south and west of the Sudanese province.

More than two million people are thought to have been displaced within Darfur and a further 235,000 have fled to neighbouring Chad.

Britain had allocated A?A?104 million since April, and the Executive is already contributing by supporting an educational project in south Sudan with a A?A?190,000 award.

Ms Fabiani said: “With the arrival of the rainy season, we are looking at immediate and practical solutions to support impoverished and displaced people.

“In an area where three quarters of the population are farmers, this money from the Scottish government will provide essential seeds, tools and training to allow people to begin planting to feed themselves and their families.”

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond is to try to raise Scotland’s profile on the international stage with a trip to Brussels this week when he will meet a number of senior European figures, including Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner.


THE latest round of Executive grants for international development included many for Malawi and a small number for Scottish charities working in disaster areas.

The grants included:

A?a??A? A?A?250,000 to provide facilities and resources to train Malawians in tourism development.

A?a??A? A?A?137,000 to train people in the Mulanje region in Malawi to deal with and solve their own problems in health, nutrition and HIV/AIDS control.

A?a??A? A?A?70,000 to train specialist eye doctors for Saving Sight in Malawi.

A?a??A? A?A?222,000 on a project to provide reliable power supplies for health facilities in rural Malawi.

A?a??A? A?A?218,000 to help the Malawian growers of macadamia nuts to get their produce to markets.

A?a??A? A?A?185,000 for Mercy Corps Scotland in its work at Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, helping the community to recover after the tsunami.

A?a??A? A?A?167,000 to fund Scottish volunteers to work with local NGOs in Sri Lanka on health and water projects in areas affected by the Tsunami.

A?a??A? A?A?100,000 – two awards of A?A?50,000, one to Oxfam and one to Mercy Corps Scotland – to help them in their work in Pakistan after the earthquake.

This article:

Last updated: 09-Jul-07 00:26 BST
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Comments Add your comment

1. AM2, Glasgow / 1:08am 10 Jul 2007

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SCIAF, their website says, “was set up by the Catholic Bishops of Scotland in 1965” and is “the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland”.Should the executive really be giving to a denominational charity?

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2. James, Dundee / 1:26am 10 Jul 2007
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) has launched an appeal to raise funds for Darfur.Donations can be made via its website or through an emergency donation line on .

Perhaps as a Scottish rather than a UK based appeal is the rationale?

As you’re well aware AM2 the population of Darfur are almost exclusively Muslim.

Helping these people is a noble thing to do.


It seems you just cant help yourself.

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3. AM2, Glasgow / 1:32am 10 Jul 2007
I’m certainly not criticising the aim of helping the people of Darfur. Neither am I raising a “sectarian issue”; that’s a straw man argument if ever I saw one! I’m raising a query about the appropriateness of public funds being given to a charity operated by a religious denomination. You see that as a “disgrace” only because, as we’ve seen before, you can’t tolerate anything that might be construed as criticism of the SNP.Report as unsuitable

4. Hebb, Scotia / 1:34am 10 Jul 2007
Oh for goodness sake AM2, give it a rest. Can you not see anything positive in what our new Scottish government does? You’ll be telling us next that SCIAF siphons off the aid money destined for the poor to fund militant Jesuit training camps preparing to overthrow what’s left of your beloved British Empire in Scotland.Come to think of it that’s not a bad idea. Maybe we could also institute a modern-day Scottish Inquisition to deal with the remnants of the heretical sect that is Unionism.

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5. James, Dundee / 1:41am 10 Jul 2007
#3 No I object not only as a Scot, but also as a Catholic. You are taking a cheap shot.There are certain aspects of SNP policy that I personally disagree with – but I’m on board with most of their manifesto.

I see nothing wrong with this charitable gesture.

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6. AM2, Glasgow / 1:47am 10 Jul 2007
#5 JamesI raised a perfectly reasonable procedural query, but now you’re raising an issue of race and religion. I’m certainly not going down that line with this.

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7. James, Dundee / 1:50am 10 Jul 2007
#6 The ice is particularly thin at this time of the year. Tread carefully! Report as unsuitable

8. AM2, Glasgow / 2:08am 10 Jul 2007
#7 JamesAs I said, I’m certainly not going down any such line.

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9. Buchanan, California / 4:44am 10 Jul 2007
AM2Have some respect for your Scottish Government
and also the the dire situation in Darfur.

Your continual whinging, glass half empty pessimissim is simply depressing in addition to boring.

I see you also criticized Alex Salmond’s nobel & voluntary donation of his salary to local charities.
Do you have something against charities now or is
it simply a brain dead reflex that you have in that
you read any article about SNP or Alex doing something positive so you just automatically criticize
like some Unionist automaton.

Any contribution by any means to help the situation
in Darfur is to be applauded. I suggest you get
out your cheque book and do some good, the
few seconds it takes to write the cheque in support
of Darfur will be time much better spend than the drivel you pen here.

Try and support your elected Scottish government’s efforts to serve the best interests of Scotland. They have no other agenda than that no matter what
conspiracy theories you might have.

Saor Alba

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10. Mercutio, Falkirk / 5:56am 10 Jul 2007
International aid /development is not a matter for the Scottish Executive, as with the previous administration this is political posturing.Report as unsuitable

11. Boy Wonder / 6:34am 10 Jul 2007
Everybody knows how antireligious I am, but even I would never criticise the work being done by any charitable aid to countries that are in dire need.For AM2 to do so is beyond the pale!

It doesn’t matter who is giving the aid in Darfur as long as they are getting every penny we can send to help alleviate the awful plight these people are in.

I’d hate to think that if it was us, people would stop to wonder who’s best placed to render the aid!

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12. ex katman 2, ex sudan / 7:37am 10 Jul 2007
Sadly the truth is ,you can throw all the money you like at these crisis countries but it will never reach the intended victims.If we have learnt anything from past episodes,it is that the money never reaches the poor intended people because of the corruption in all these countries.If you are of the opinion that if only a pitance gets through then thats ok,then you are only fuelling the corrupt govermentsReport as unsuitable

13. Dr Who / 8:00am 10 Jul 2007
Well despite AM2 taking this opportunity to bring his religous bigotry against Catholics, I have to say that I like the way the money is being targeted to actual the concrete goals of enabling the people of Darfur to improve its ability to solve their own problems with education. As an athiest I dont give a whatever to the Catholics using their already established infrastructure to administer these funds. There is little chance of the forces who continue this war getting their hands on these funds.Lets face one other point as well. If these people had massive OIL reserves there the US, UK, Australians would be there quick smart to stop the war and start to asset strip the country. We would have another Iraq on our hands.

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14. Nick_Byrne, Glasgow / 8:06am 10 Jul 2007
A?A?250,000 is not going to make much difference to the atrocities being committed in Darfur.I wasn’t aware the goverment was allowed to make donations to charities – as we’ve seen that leads to all manner of allegations.

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15. James Moore / 8:18am 10 Jul 2007
What a waste of money! This token gesture will not achieve anything! Report as unsuitable

16. paulr / 8:42am 10 Jul 2007
He would be better off giving the 250,000 to the tram scheme in edinburghReport as unsuitable

17. Arugambay, Arugam Bay / 8:54am 10 Jul 2007

“A?a??A? A?A?185,000 for Mercy Corps Scotland in its work at Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka, helping the community to recover after the tsunami.”

I am a professional Brit. Expat living in Arugam Bay since 1977 – 30 years.
This Century me and my family never left the small village, including Boxing Day 2004 when we all learned to swim….so we tend know what is going on.
Let me assure you:
Mercy Corpse Inc. has indeed been ‘active’ around here, but they left a long time ago!
Further, they wasted valuable cash from the US Oprah Whinfrey show on totally USELESS projects, splitting the entire Community by supporting only or mainly the Islamic Community around us.
There are many real Tsunami victims, such as us – and our non-Muslim neighbours, such as Tamils and Sinhalse- who swear on oath that we all have not received a single cent (or anything else) from anyone, incl. Mercy Corpse.
Kind, caring and concerned PRIVATE citizens have trusted large organization too much – and funded nothing but their elaborate lifestyle in our region.
In Tamil, the word “N.G.O.” is pronounced: “E.N.J.O.Y.” they do enjoy life in the tropics – with your kindly donated money – that is our opinion and experience here.
Do not believe their PR exercises!

look at true Community feed back, such as:
and search for the performance of Mercy Corpse and other time and cash wasting NGO’s – specially the Red Cross.
Arugam Bay Hotel Association
Arugam Bay
Eastern Sri Lanka

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