A freeze on fake aid
Monday, May 17, 2010
The new “Libservative” alliance is enjoying something of a honeymoon period in the UK, attracting praise and optimism from even unexpected corners. And happily, today we can add to this rare sense of ebullience.
The Department for International Development has declared a freeze on “development awareness” spending – and, even better, a promise to scrutinise all such spending in the UK. There will be “a halt on funding for any project that fails to meet tough results-based criteria”.
IPN has been arguing for some time that spending money on “awareness” within the UK does not help poor people in less developed countries. Worse, it acts as a vehicle for spreading government-endorsed ideas, particularly (and deliberately) to impressionable schoolchildren. Our paper Fake Aid was published to bring attention to this point.
Furthermore, such spending can be used for all kinds of political ends. Our subsequent paper, A Closer Union, revealed millions of pounds being given to trades unions under the guise of “development awareness” work. These programmes are ongoing, and must surely be brought under serious scrutiny.
In recent months both the Times and the Sunday Telegraph have covered the growing scepticism towards these dubious programmes, and the ideology behind them. Let’s hope the new administration follows up on its promise to scrutinise these schemes, and cut funding for all that fail to actually aid development.
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• Freezing “fake aid”.
• Oxfam attacks IPN for “irresponsibly” criticising development aid wastage.