October 2011

SMIDOS - and now the Wales International Development Hub.

SMIDOS was established in 2007 by a collective decision of a group of small and medium sized international development organisations (smidos). It was later funded by the Wales for Africa Programme of the Welsh Government and subsequently delivered advice, support, training and information. As these services were developed and delivered it became clear that significant gains would be made if there was a very much more extensive degree of joint working and cooperation between international development networks in Wales including Wales Africa Community Links, the NHS Wales for Africa Health Network, Oxfam and other similarly sized bodies, Fair Trade Wales, Welsh Centre for International Affairs, and the Sub Sahara Advisory Panel.

SMIDOS and many partner organisations and networks increasingly recognised that a coherent voice on international development within Welsh civil society was necessary to influence and work with government in Cardiff Bay and in Westminster, and that the sector needed to represent itself far more robustly to key funding bodies and alongside existing international representative bodies in England (BOND) and Scotland (NIDOS). It became clear that significant economies of scale could be achieved in the delivery of training and that information could be far more effectively disseminated with a higher degree of co-ordination.
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Over recent years SMIDOS and others made a number of attempts to generate and consolidate closer working practices but it was not until early in 2009 that conditions became propitious for real progress. With the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA) SMIDOS made a concerted effort to drive collective working forward based on a recognition of this need illustrated at the first Wales International Development Summit in March 2009 which exceeded all expectations in numbers attending and interest.

In late 2009 discussions between the key players began in earnest and SMIDOS decided to relinquish its approved grant for 2010/11 and 2012/13 and request its reallocation as core funding for a Wales International Development Hub designed to animate and administer joint working through the auspices of the WCIA.

The process of clearly identifying the role of the Hub, of securing support from diverse interests, and recasting the Wales for Africa SMIDOS grant has, perhaps understandably, taken longer than might have been hoped. As a result SMIDOS has not been funded for the current year (2011/12). The embryonic Hub was able to organise and deliver the 2011 Wales International Development Summit, funded by the Wales Government Wales for Africa Programme, which was extremely successful and gave rise to significant support for the HUB idea. An agreed grant agreement between the Wales International Development Hub and the Welsh Government is expected very soon.

In these circumstances SMIDOS has ceased to operate on anything but an irregular and voluntary basis confident that its former contribution and capacity will soon be continued, refreshed and increasingly effective through the work of the new Wales International Development Hub. SMIDOS will continue to represent the sector on formal Welsh Government bodies until March 2012 when this function will revert to the Wales International Development Hub. The SMIDOS website will be removed with its information incorporated in future Hub website provision.

Thanks are due to everyone who supported SMIDOS and its efforts to strengthen the work of small and medium sized organisations, and effort to progress the coherence and collective impact of the international development sector in Wales.
Best Wishes,

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