Voluntary organisations are being offered the chance to apply for grants of up to £10,000 to create links with communities in the developing world and improve understanding of global poverty.
The scheme, to be managed by the British Council, is intended to help organisations to form links with community groups in the world's poorest countries.
Groups such as charities, scout troops and women's institutes in the UK will be encouraged to make personal contacts with groups other countries in order to find out more about issues in the developing world and share what they have learned in their own communities.
For example, they could hold a day of activities to encourage people to save water, raising awareness of the water shortages faced by a community in Kenya.
Gareth Thomas, the international development minister, said the programme would give communities insight into the daily challenges faced by those in the developing world. "Creating links with communities in the world's poorest countries is one of the best ways for people in the UK to learn more about the global issues that affect us all, forging personal relationships that span thousands of miles," he said.