South Norfolk MP set for volunteering trip to Tanzania

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon will be using his knowledge of supporting farmers in his rural constituency to aiding agricultural workers in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Mr Bacon will spend 15 days in the east African country of Tanzania lobbying for a better standard of living for marginalised farmers during this summer's Parliamentary recess.

He will be volunteering with the Agricultural Non State Actors Forum (ANSAF) – a network of local organisations that promotes best practice in agriculture and recom-mends reforms to government.

During his time, he will gain first hand insight into how despite new government schemes aimed at encouraging more investment in the industry, the money allocated in the national budget is too low to fully modernise agriculture in the country.

The role is part of leading international development charity VSO's Parliamentarian Volunteer Scheme 2011, which will send 15 MPs and peers from across the UK on placements in Africa and Asia this month.

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Mr Bacon said he was looking forward to learning more about the way things are done in Tanzania and how the country is coping with the current drought crisis in east Africa.

'It's an interesting opportunity and I hope I will learn some things that will be of use back home and hope I can do something to contribute from years of lobbying as a Parliamen-tarian,' he said.

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Mr Bacon's wife Victoria will also be joining him for the last week of his visit. The couple will travel together to Kagera in the north of the country to see the work of a charity called Friends of the Children of Tanzania (FoCT), which helps orphans, vulnerable and disabled children and their carers.

FoCT is the first organisation to be supported by new charity Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope, recently founded by Mrs Bacon and her twin sister Sarah to raise money to provide young amputees in the developing world with essential operations and prosthetic limbs.

In Tanzania, the money will be put towards establishing the Jaipur Limb Centre which will give needy young children access to low cost prosthetic legs.

Kathy Peach, head of external affairs at VSO UK, said: 'We hope their VSO experience will provide both Richard and Victoria with a unique and valuable insight into development issues which will inform their work back in parliament and across East Anglia.'

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