A government minister has heaped praise on a Watford-based organisation providing support and assistance to some of the world’s poorest people.

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, spoke to representatives of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) at their St Albans Road base yesterday morning (Monday).

She was joined by Watford MP Richard Harrington to discuss the organisation’s work in remote regions of Burma, which is partly funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).

Ms Greening said: "It was really, really helpful because the global poverty action fund is all about going beyond working with the biggest NGOs in Britain. We are working with medium-sized NGOs such as ADRA and much smaller ones.

"So to get a chance to meet up and hear about their project that we have helped fund is fantastic, and also to hear about how they find working with DfID.

"It’s really common sense development because it’s about helping people to be in a better position to generate their own economic livelihood both as an individual and as a community.

"The effects of this will last long after this project is finished and that is one of the reasons why it has worked so well."

"It is fantastic for Watford, it means there is a skill set here locally that a lot of other communities would love to have."

Mr Harrington added: "It’s very different from the old type of top-down aid where wealth countries gave money to small countries and hoped that enough filtered through.

"This is actually funding a project at grass roots and it’s helping people to set up their own business, survive themselves and build an infrastructure.

"It’s not a short term fix though."

The programme run by ADRA is designed to lift people out of poverty with training in food-processing and start up skills to help with job creation.

Helia Mateus, chief financial officer at ADRA, said: "It’s very encouraging everything the secretary of state said particularly highlighting that we work at grass roots.

"We work with the most vulnerable in the communities and she particularly appreciated what we do.

"We provide them with skills so they can generate some income to support their families, especially the young people who would otherwise have to leave the villages and head to the urban centres possibly to work in factories in the Thai border and sometimes never to be heard of again."