A VOLUNTEER from Dursley travelled to Westminster to discuss foreign aid with a government minister.

Lydia Kenny, 20, spoke to International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, drawing on her time volunteering in Nigeria.

Over 50 secondary school students and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) volunteers met with MPs and Department For International Development officials in parliament to talk about UK aid.

The event showcased the inspirational frontline work of volunteers in delivering the UK’s international development agenda.

VSO volunteers from the government-funded International Citizen Service (ICS) talked of their experience working on a project overseas and the impact of the UK’s commitment to fighting poverty overseas.

Lydia, who spent 12 weeks working on an education scheme in Nigeria, spoke about the importance of volunteers abroad.

“Volunteering within a community on extended projects in mixed teams of in-country volunteers and UK volunteers, whilst staying with a host family, allowed me an insight into a different culture and way of life,” she said. “As a wealthy nation, it is our duty to help those who need it. In a time of division, it is easy to get self-obsessed by our own politics. I think it is vital that we do not forget that teamwork always prevails, both in our own communities, political unions and globally.”

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said: “I was delighted to meet so many young volunteers with such practical and imaginative ideas on sustainable development. 

“Through the International Citizen Service, my Department, working with Voluntary Service Overseas, has helped nearly 40,000 young people to take part in hugely valuable development projects around the world. 

“These young people are not only helping to deliver the Global Goals, they are also fantastic ambassadors for our work on development, both in the UK and globally.”

Felicity Morgan, ICS director at VSO, said: “We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits to bring about positive change in some of the world’s poorest communities.

“As an organisation working on the frontline against poverty, VSO sees how people across Britain play an important role in delivering UK aid.”

“From the NHS and Army helping end the Ebola crisis, to the millions who generously donate, and the contribution we all make through taxes, together we are all making the world a fairer, safer place.”