Sir Lenny Henry celebrates 10 years of positive change with UK aid

In a new film released today to celebrate 10 years of Comic Relief’s partnership with UK aid, Sir Lenny Henry shares the story of his inspiring visit to Cape Town to spend time with two organisations and their partners whose projects are helping to bring about positive change thanks to funding from Comic Relief and the UK government through UK aid.

Lenny spent time with Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC) and their partners to see how efforts to improve and upgrade an informal settlement is helping to transform a community with high levels of crime and violence, to one where children have space to play, and community members share a strong sense of belonging.

He also visited Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) who, together with their partners, are delivering a community development programme that improves and upgrades informal settlements so that communities feel safer and more integrated.

While there, he visited an Early Childhood Development Centre and an adventure playground to learn how safe spaces are being created for children and their families.  

He also learned how technology is supporting social change via an innovative new app which lets community members report to the City Council on services in the community – such as water taps – that are broken and need fixing.

Lenny met Thulani from VPUU who talked about the importance of community-led change:

“I grew up here. It’s better when you bring a change in your own community … When you stand up and do it for yourself it means something to you”. 

Both projects are funded through Comic Relief and UK aid’s Four Cities Initiative. It aims to test innovative approaches to the development of informal settlements in Kampala, Lusaka, Freetown and Cape Town.

The programme focuses on promoting a city-approach by bringing together communities, civil society and government to strengthen people’s rights and livelihoods. To date, the programme has directly benefitted over 1.1 million people in a variety of ways, from improved access to safe drinking water, to access to health care and education. 

Comic Relief CEO, Liz Warner, said; “We are proud to have partnered with UK aid for the last decade. Together we are making a real difference to the lives of people across the African continent.  Thanks to the generosity of the British public, we have worked with incredible individuals, and communities, funding projects that are creating real and sustainable change.”

Comic Relief has partnered with UK aid since 2009 to jointly fund projects in more than 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa to help deliver the Global Goals.

These projects are supporting people’s access to quality health and education, enhancing people’s income-generating opportunities, empowering women and girls, and improving the lives of those living in informal settlements in some of Africa’s fastest growing cities.  

Together, these projects have contributed to improving the lives of more than 7.5 million people over the past decade by supporting incredible individuals, and their communities, to bring about positive change.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said;

"For many of the British public their insight and interest into aid has been achieved by Comic Relief's fundraising.

“By joining forces, Comic Relief, UK aid, and the generous British public have changed the world for the better over the past 10 years by empowering people and their communities in ways that will benefit generations to come.”