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Parliamentary activity and lobbying

With so much political upheaval at the minute, countries are looking inward to focus on domestic concerns, and so there’s less interest in global issues like poverty. It’s important to get international development back on the agenda, and you can help to make this happen.

Having just volunteered, you’re in a unique position to speak about your experiences and the benefits of international development. Why is volunteering important? Let people know!

Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North and International Development Spokesperson for the SNP
Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North and International Development Spokesperson for the SNP, with 8 returned ICS volunteers from his constituency.
“I hope that I can influence other young people like me to become less disenchanted and more politically engaged, to view politics in a more positive way despite living in what sometimes seems like times of economic and political uncertainty,”
Rhiann Mirchandani-Cooper
Volunteered in Bolivia

What you can do to help

You can meet with your local MP – most have surgeries where anyone from that MP’s constituency can meet with them. Find out who your MP is and get in touch.

When you meet your MP, you can talk with them about local, national or international issues. Why not use your ICS experience to back up your points? And if you feel particularly strongly about an issue, you can even ask your MP to write to the relevant government minister on your behalf, to highlight the issue.

VSO and Restless Development ask the public how much they really know about aid

Alternatively, online petitions provide a forum for you to engage many people quickly and easily. Sites like 38 Degrees and Change.org can get you started in minutes. And if you want to get noticed by lawmakers, register on the Government petitions site. If your campaign tops 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament – and who knows, you may even change the law!

What are other people doing?

Many returned volunteers often take part in events, such as lobby days in parliament. If you’d like to join in with events like this, sign up to our newsletter for future opportunities.

Many volunteers have also signed VSO’s open letter, calling attention to the importance of UK Aid. Add your signature too.

For more tips and advice on what you can do, VSO has more tips on their Influencing and Advocacy.