Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, better known by its acronym SCIAF, is the official aid and development agency of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. Established in 1965, SCIAF now works in eight countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America and providing assistance to vulnerable people. SCIAF works with partner organisations and has responded to humanitarian disasters with emergency provisions and support. In Scotland, SCIAF raises awareness of the underlying causes of global poverty and injustice, work that includes visiting schools.

Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
Founded1965; 57 years ago (1965)
FounderCatholic Bishops of Scotland
TypeHumanitarian aid, International development
FocusHumanitarian aid, International development
Area served
Asia, Africa, Latin America, Scotland


SCIAF was set up in 1965 by Monsignor John Rooney and teacher John McKee with funds of £8,000.[1] Efforts that had begun at a parish level were quickly endorsed by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland.[2] In 1980, the organisation raised a record £212,000 for the third world.[3]

When the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred, SCIAF were quick in announcing a £25,000 donation to partner agencies.[4] In 2007, the Scottish Government announced £250,000 would be given to SCIAF to help assist people affected by the war in Darfur.[5]

A response to a drought in the Horn and east of Africa, an emergency appeal raised £1.1 million.[6] In 2013, SCIAF launched an emergency appeal to help people in the Philippines who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan.[7]

In 2015, as SCIAF marked their fiftieth anniversary, their international work included supporting almost 100 projects that provided emergency aid and assistance across at least fifteen countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.[1]

In 2017, SCIAF worked with Caritas Bangladesh to deliver aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who had fled Myanmar.[8] The following year, in conjunction with Caritas Indonesia it responded with aid after the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami.[9] SCIAF has helped vulnerable young people in Uganda.[10][11]

As of 2022, outwith Scotland SCIAF are active in eight countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zambia, Cambodia and Colombia.[12]

Fundraising activitiesEdit

SCIAF runs an annual Wee Box Big Change appeal, which encourages people to give up something for Lent and to use the money saved as a donation.[13][14][15] In 2015 the appeal raised £3.4 million, which was three times the highest amount previously raised.[16] In 2019 the appeal raised more than £0.9 million.[17] In 2021 the Wee Box appeal raised more than £2.8 million, which included £1.3 million of match funding from the UK government.[18]

SCIAF is one of nine partner organisations of Will Aid, the British will-writing scheme in which participating solicitors waive their usual fee to write a basic will and in exchange invite the client to donate to charity.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "SCIAF marks 50 years of international aid". The Scotsman. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  2. ^ Williams, Huw (29 November 2015). "Bookshop find casts new light on foundation of Sciaf". BBC News. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Aid fund's record". The Herald. Glasgow. 12 September 1980. p. 4. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Scottish aid springs into action". BBC News. 28 December 2004. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Executive aid for Darfur refugees". BBC News. 9 July 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Generous Scots save African lives". The Scotsman. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  7. ^ McLaughlin, Martyn (12 November 2013). "Typhoon Haiyan: Official death toll 1,744". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Rohingya refugee horror stories 'beyond comprehension'". BBC News. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  9. ^ Togoh, Isabel (29 September 2018). "Scottish Charity Sends £20,000 To Help Victims Of Indonesian Tsunami". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  10. ^ Brown, Annie (2 March 2019). "Scots charity project giving hope to young people in AIDs ravaged Uganda. SCIAF is helping vulnerable young people in Uganda, many living with the effects of poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS and the legacy of war". Daily Record. Scotland. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  11. ^ Murphy, Simon (5 July 2019). "In photos: life after war for Uganda's former child soldiers". The Ferret. Scotland. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  12. ^ "What we do > countries". Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Five Scottish charities travelling the world to give back". The Scotsman. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Sciaf launches annual Wee Box appeal to help world's poor". BBC News. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Deacon Blue stars launch annual SCIAF Wee Box appeal". BBC News. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Wee Box appeal raises £3.4m for Scots charity". The Scotsman. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  17. ^ Jones, Gareth (23 August 2019). "Wee Box appeal raises almost £1m". Third Force News. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  18. ^ Armour, Robert (24 August 2021). "Scots give big to Wee Box appeal". Third Force News. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Will aid charities > SCIAF". Will aid. Retrieved 16 April 2022.

External linksEdit