Dr Michelle Le Cheminant and Dr Lindsay Jefferies have been appointed as new commissioners for Guernsey’s Overseas Aid and Development Commission.
Michelle is a consultant anaesthetist at the Medical Specialist Group and Lindsay is the MD of Island Global Research. Both have extensive relevant experience, Michelle as volunteer anaesthetist in Africa and Asia and Lindsay in policy and research roles in international development. Read their impressive biographies (para 5.9 onwards).
The Overseas Aid Commission has a president and six commissioners. It is funded by a £3.2m grant from the States and distributes that money, on Guernsey’s behalf, to charities undertaking development and humanitarian work in the world’s least developed countries. Guernsey has committed to spending 0.2% of GDP on overseas aid by 2030.
Deputy Chris Blin, President of the Commission, told the Guernsey Press: ‘When the Commission launched the recruitment campaign I said that it always impressed me the depth of experience we have in such a small island – I certainly have not been disappointed.’
We asked Michelle and Lindsay what had inspired them to apply to join the Commission:
Dr Michelle Le Cheminant:
“I found out about the role via social media – there was a recruitment advert on the States Facebook page. I was already familiar with the remit of the Commission, via another voluntary role of mine with Orbis International – an eye care charity for whom I have a position as Volunteer Faculty Anaesthetist. The Commission have supported a number of their Trachoma projects in Ethiopia in past years, the most recent back in 2018.
“Throughout my career I’ve been committed to improving healthcare services in low and middle income countries. In 2017 I spent 6 months as a Visiting Lecturer at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, volunteering with the Zambia Anaesthetic Development Project and for the last 5 years I’ve undertaken regular programmes as a volunteer anaesthetist with Orbis on board their Flying Eye Hospital. Since re-locating to Guernsey in 2019 I’ve been looking for an opportunity to bring together the experience I’ve gained from volunteering and my professional skills,. This position on the Commission allows me to contribute to both the local community and support valuable overseas initiatives.
“I’ve no doubt that this will be a challenging and sometimes difficult role. But I’m looking forward to learning from the other Commissioners, as we all come from different backgrounds and bring different experience. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to look back and reflect on the projects that the Commission supports and understand how our grants have helped those living in the world’s least developed countries”.
Dr Lindsay Jefferies:
“I was lucky enough to spot an article in the Guernsey Press and saw the Overseas Aid and Development Commission were looking for new members. I was intrigued to learn more, and there was lots of information provided on the States’ website. It was particularly interesting to read the reflections of the existing Commissioners.
“I had spent more than 15 years working in international development, mostly before moving to Guernsey. My career has taken a different track since being on the island, and in many ways becoming a Commissioner seemed like an ideal opportunity to draw on my experience, and make a contribution to public life on something I feel very passionate about.
“I’m really looking forward to learning much more about the support Guernsey provides to people living in some of the world’s poorest countries. It’ll be a pleasure to get to know the other Commissioners. I look forward to working with them as we decide how to allocate the funds that Guernsey has set aside for overseas aid, and hearing how the projects we support make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people”.