26 October 2022

Celebrating 25 years of International Development

Hayley Still

A man wearing a Salvation Army apron giving someone a drink. They are standing in front of a queue of people. Everyone is wrapped up in coats and hats.

As part of International Development Week (24–30 October), Hayley Still looks back on how the Army's work has adapted over the years.

This year marks 25 years of International Development in the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory.

Over the past quarter of a century, The Salvation Army has established a presence in 27 new countries and is now officially operating in 133 worldwide. During this time, the International Development Unit has supported projects in more than 60 of these countries, partnering territories and working alongside communities to overcome the challenges of poverty, inequality and injustice.

There have been a few changes over the years, including the team’s name: the unit started life as the Overseas Projects Office in 1997. The way we work has also adapted and changed as we have responded to global trends in international development and emerging challenges faced by communities around the world. Though there have been changes, partnership remains central to all that we do, and we continue to collectively work towards our vision of a world without poverty and injustice.

One of the countries we are working with is Burkina Faso. The Salvation Army has been training small-scale farmers to help them improve the soil on their land and boost their harvests.

Farmers learn agroecological farming methods and how to make liquid fertiliser. This means they no longer need to buy expensive synthetic fertiliser, which can damage the soil. Through this project, farmers learn together and improve their lives together.

Salomon is one of the lead farmers. He grows onions and cereals on his land. He used a combination of compost and liquid fertiliser to accelerate the growth of crops because of a lack of water. He said, ‘I have improved the quality of my family’s diet and our income. From the sale of my harvest, I could afford to repair my old bicycle, which my child now uses to get to school.’

As lead farmer, Salomon mobilised his group of farmers to establish a co-operative store for their harvest. This means they can sell when the demand is high – and the prices are highest – to ensure the farmers benefit from all their hard work.

A photo of Salomon with hundreds of onions stored in wooden shelving
Salomon with his onion harvest

The Salvation Army is a global movement and thus we are connected to people all over the world. However, we recognise that not everyone may know about the work of International Development UK and how the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory works alongside other territories through community development and emergency response projects.

The third annual International Development Week (24–30 October) is, therefore, an opportunity to raise awareness and to explore, celebrate and support The Salvation Army’s work tackling poverty and injustice around the world.

There are lots of opportunities to take part in during the week. A photo exhibition held at International Headquarters will mark our 25th anniversary. Featuring photos from throughout the years, the exhibition will give a glimpse into the lives that have been impacted and the communities that have experienced transformation.

On 27 October, we invite you to flex your trivia muscles in our virtual quiz night. Find out more and book your free ticket for the International Development Week quiz.

We invite corps to highlight International Development Sunday on 30 October. Resources are available on salvationarmy.org.uk.

We will also share videos, resources and updates on Facebook and Twitter, so follow @salvationarmyid or search #IDWeek2022.

Finally, one of the most important ways that we encourage people to participate is through prayer. Prayer is essential in the battle against poverty and injustice. You can use the Prayer Matters resource for daily prayer prompts or read our ‘Pray with us’ article for specific prayer points for our different areas of work.

Written by

A photo of Hayley Still

Hayley Still

UK Engagement Co-ordinator, International Development Unit

Get involved

Throughout this week, International Development will be sharing prayer topics and updates on social media.

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Discover more

Benjamin Gilbert invites the territory to pray for the Army’s work this International Development Week.

Connecting Salvationists around the world so that we can learn from and support one another.  

Social justice and peacemaking around the world.

Support international Salvation Army projects responding to poverty and injustice.

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