In November, SIID Researcher Simon Rushton partnered with Mo and Mia Ali from Aid Works to run ‘Aid Worker for a Day’ – practical workshops for 6th form students on international aid work and global citizenship. This is the second year of running the workshops, in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences Outreach Department, and Simon has previously written a blog on the topic of Young People and Overseas Aid.

Mo Ali spoke with SIID about the workshops, and gave us an insight into the topics covered and the response from the students:

“The world is becoming more complex, with increasing numbers of emergencies, violent crises and people in need of aid. However, the work done by our government in international development seems far removed from our daily lives in the UK. Aid Works partnered with the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) and the Faculty of Social Sciences Outreach Department to run two workshops from seven schools. The aim was to broaden students’ knowledge of development aid and raise awareness of related courses offered at the University of Sheffield.”

“The workshop allowed students to debate hot topics in the news, such as UK Aid’s budget, the Ebola crisis and our military’s involvement in aid delivery. They explored the truth behind the headlines – for example, many of the students were surprised to learn that the UK government spends only 0.7% of their budget on international development. The debates sparked animated discussions on our priorities, our responsibilities to the rest of the world, the perspective of the news and much more.

We were incredibly impressed by the knowledge and passion of the students – we think that some of them have a great career in international development ahead of them. The students also completed a rapid needs assessment for a refugee crisis, and then were given £10 million of funding to allocate between various actors on the ground. We’re pleased to report their was no corruption in the process and all the funds were returned at the end of the day!

“The workshops demonstrated the wide range of skills required in the aid sector and highlighted relevant courses offered by the FSS and SIID, such as International Development, Politics and Economics. It also allowed the students to taste the interactive nature of university and the importance of backing their opinions with evidence and argument.  Aid Works believes that it’s crucial to challenge young people to think about our responsibilities to the rest of the world, and to motivate them to get involved as global citizens. If you would like to run a similar activity for a group of young people, then contact us to discuss how we can help you.”


Aid Works is a Sheffield-based social enterprise helping organisations in Africa to strengthen their systems & supports local & international aid workers to reach their potential.  To find out more about their work, visit the website.