WINCHESTER residents learned more about the UK foreign aid program last week.

Around 100 people joined MP Steve Brine at a meeting at St Paul’s Church, Fulflood, on Thursday, November 8.

He was joined by Stephen O’Brien, MP for Eddisbury, Cheshire, currently the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the Sahel region in northern Africa.

Mr O’Brien told the meeting the UK is on course to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid by 2015.

The meeting also heard from a number of residents with experience of the field, including 24-year-old primary school teacher Jennifer Hanson of Micheldever, who spoke of her work in Kenya with the Tumaini Kenya charity.

Mr Brine said: “I was delighted that Stephen O'Brien took time out of his busy schedule to come to Winchester and answer our questions on this high-profile and controversial coalition policy area.

"The participation from the floor was superb, and it was great to see so many new faces as well as many of those who are well known in the city for their passionate charitable work.”

Other areas covered were the future of aid to India, micro-financing, al-Qaeda tactics and the challenges of selling the UK aid policy to voters while financial problems continue in Britain.