Read the latest news about MannionDaniels, our Projects and our Clients

UK AID DIRECT- Portrait line SMIn the locally managed marine area of Velondriake in southwest Madagascar, more than 10,000 people are benefitting from a project supported by UK Aid Direct.

The project, run by Blue Ventures, is working to increase the participation of women and youth in local marine management efforts, while improving both the profitability and the ecological sustainability of octopus fishing for the communities involved.

Octopus is the most important cash crop for remote coastal fishing communities in this region. Women fish for octopus on reef flats at low tide using hand-crafted spears, but local management efforts have traditionally been led by local men.

Through the project supported by UK Aid Direct, these women are now acquiring important literacy and numeracy skills, and learning about local fishery laws so that they can play a more active role in local management efforts. In a recent election for the governing committee of the Velondriake locally managed marine area, a significant number of women were voted in, meaning that women now constitute 38% of committee members; impressive compared to female MPs in the UK, who take up 29% of seats in parliament.

UK Aid Direct Blue Ventures grantee vote

Woman voting for her village representative in Vatoavo © Toni Haddad


Meanwhile the youth of Velondriake are also stepping into leadership roles, with a staggering 47% of governing committee members now being young people aged 18-25 years. These results reflect Blue Ventures’ success in engaging women and youth in marine conservation using reproductive healthcoastal livelihood and education programmes as meaningful entry points, alongside the UK Aid Direct initiative to promote gender equality in fisheries management.

This landmark election is of great significance for locally managed marine areas all around Madagascar, since Velondriake is regarded as the first locally managed marine area in the country. What has unfolded in Velondriake demonstrates that long-term co-management between NGOs and community associations pays off, by instilling a sense of responsibility for marine resources and by nurturing local leadership necessary for effective governance.

UK Aid Direct Blue Ventures grantee pic

© Johanna Medvey


Nnenna Ike, MannionDaniels’ Behaviour Change Communication Specialist, spoke at the MSH Anniversary Event in Abuja, Nigeria.

The event was held to celebrate the work on health system strengthening and community health interventions carried out by a variety of partners in Nigeria.

Nenna Ike MSH Talk

Nnenna’s talk focused on how to promote behaviour change in the community.  Based on MannionDaniels’ experience with the PATHS2 programme in Nigeria, we identified three key strategies:

  1. Inclusion:  If we want people to adopt healthy household behaviours, we have to involve some otherwise ignored informal players in the health sector such as traditional healers, traditional birth attendants and other key influencers in the community. They can feel intimidated by BCC that promotes early care-seeking because it threatens their livelihood.  We have brought them into the program as partners – rather than rivals – by taking their advice, by integrating their responses, and then by linking them to health facilities.  When they have a positive attitude towards health facilities, they promote early care-seeking to their clients.  This has increased the acceptance and utilisation of health facilities.

  3. Acceptability:  Different states in Nigeria have different cultures.  When trying to improve the adoption of healthy household behaviours, we need to work respectfully and sensitively within those cultures and existing traditional structures.  This includes considering the language; in the North, we communicate the intervention in Hausa but have some PhD students in Bayero state University translating it into Arabic to make it more widely accessible.  In the South, messages have been translated into Yoruba and Igbo languages. We even have products in Pidgin English and Egun language (predominant in western Nigeria).  It also involves considering the cultural norms around men and women – for example, in the North, men and women meet separately, whilst in the South they can meet together for community meetings. Also, we incorporate BCC activities into to existing structures like the ‘August meetings’ and the women fellowships or pregnant women support groups in churches and mosques in the southern states.

  5. Involving men: Men are the main decision-makers when it comes to maternal and reproductive health – so they are a very important group to promote early care-seeking to.  The volunteers in the Northern States we work in are largely men, they act as drivers, blood donors and manage the communal purse dedicated to obstetric emergencies.  In the South, there are male leaders in churches who are given responsibilities, for examples they pray with the women in the pregnancy support groups in churches; and women who go to health facilities with their husbands get a special mention by the health providers.

MSH Anniversary Event Nigeria group talk


InternationalWomensDay-landscape rsz

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2016 we are delighted to highlight the work of four grantees supported by UK Aid Direct and AmplifyChange.

UK aid logo

UK Aid Direct is DFID’s central funding mechanism for awarding grants to small and medium sized UK and International Civil Society Organisations working to reduce poverty overseas and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Meet one of our UK Aid Direct grantees:

mothers2mothers work towards ending paediatric HIV transmission by training a network of Mentor Mothers to provide health and social care to other HIV-positive mothers, supporting them to protect their babies from infection and keep themselves and their families healthy.



AmplifyChange is a multi-donor fund that supports civil society advocacy for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Meet our AmplifyChange grantees:

Association for the Promotion of Women (AVAF) are a Cameroon-based advocacy group promoting the human rights of lesbians in Cameroon and to challenge human right violations and stigma that lesbians encounter in the country.

Rede de Defesa dos Direitos Sexuais e Reprodutivos (DSR) is a network of Mozambican health , gender justice and legal NGOs working to strengthen SRHR across the country.



UK Aid Direct M2MMalawi is one of the world’s least developed and most densely populated countries, with a population approaching 17 million.  An estimated 10% of the country’s adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are living with HIV and the majority of them are women.

Support from DFID’s UK Aid Direct global fund, aimed at supporting civil society organisations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, has enabled mothers2mothers (m2m) to create an extensive footprint in Malawi, where an estimated 560,000 women aged 15 and over are living with HIV. The essential health education and support that Mentor Mothers provide is critical to helping women cope with the shock and stress of learning that they are HIV-positive and are being put on a lifelong ARV treatment in a single visit to the health facility. Mentor Mothers continue to provide support to the women in the years that follow in order to help them stay on treatment, minimize the risk of transmission, and make healthy choices for their families.

mothers2mothers Malawi UK Aid Direct Mentor Mothers

Catherine Kassam, PMTCT Coordinator at the Malawi Ministry of Health, discussed the importance of Mentor Mothers and the role they play in creating a generation free from HIV:

mothers2mothers Catherine Kassam Malawi Ministry of Health PMTCT coordinator Malawi“The first time I heard about the mothers2mothers model, I was thinking maybe it would be a challenge. I thought the women [Mentor Mothers] would not be open enough to disclose their status. But after the training, I found them very open so that other women [clients] could cope. Mentor Mothers have helped a lot to assist other mothers to disclose their status, and we are seeing men getting involved in PMTCT. All facilities should have Mentor Mothers so that we can catch every community. And everyone in the community should know the importance of being tested. Those who are HIV-positive should start taking their ARVs, so that we can have a generation free of HIV.”

mothers2mothers UK Aid Direct Malawi Mentor Mothers


Grantee: mothers2mothers

Project title: Improving access to HIV prevention and support services for 243,949 women and children in five countries of East and Southern Africa

Location: Malawi


MannionDaniels is honoured to be selected as Fund Manager for UK Aid Direct – DFID’s central funding mechanism for awarding grants to small and medium sized UK and international civil society organisations working to reduce poverty overseas and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

MannionDaniels took over the existing GPAF grants in January 2016.  We work closely with our consortium partners – Oxford Policy and Management (OPM), the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) at Loughborough University, the Royal Netherlands Institute (KIT) and the Education Development Trust – and have developed strong and coherent approaches to manage this fund, based on our guiding principles of knowledge sharing and transparency.

We are committed to working closely with grantees as well as hearing and responding to suggestions from all sections of civil society.  We anticipate a future funding window opening in the second quarter of 2016, and will ensure that a pre-announcement is released in good time for potential applicants.