My placement at VSO in Uganda is now coming to an end. What I’ve found most notable about my time here is the fact I’ve had the opportunity to devote myself to one project for two weeks, pretty much without interruption (although I’ve been keeping in touch with Westminster and the constituency by email, and have been signing off remotely on some important correspondence which can’t wait for my return).
As an MP there are so many different demands on your time: one moment you’re in committee, trying to scrutinize the intricacies of some piece of legislation; then you might pop into the Chamber, to speak on a completely different topic; then you might have a series of different, unrelated meetings; and then there’s all the letters and emails, from casework issues to constituents expressing their views on an incredibly diverse range of policy areas. (I think that’s partly a Bristol thing, or maybe a city thing, as I know some other MPs who don’t get anywhere near as much correspondence).
But here I’ve had the chance to spend 10 days thinking about international development issues, talking to people involved in development work, and learning a little bit about what it’s like to live and work in one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s been interesting, but, more importantly, been useful, in putting some of the work we’ve been doing as a governing party into context. Some Government ministers will be heading out to Uganda for CHOGM in November. I hope I get the opportunity to talk to them before they go, and that they get the opportunity to see some of the development work that’s being done in Uganda while they’re here.