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International Aid Update

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with International Aid compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.



The UK Government has pledged 38million in food aid to drought stricken Ethiopia. With the worst drought the African country has seen for a decade, 3.2million people are in need of emergency aid.     


Due to the drought that is sweeping across the whole of East Africa, humanitarian agencies are facing a funding shortage. The UN has called for international aid across the Horn of Africa where 10 million people are affected.  Some areas have suffered the worst drought in 60 years and the UN now classifies large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya in a crisis or an emergency.


International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has warned that other counties across the world must give money if a full-scale disaster is to be avoided. The money that Britain has pledged will provide vital food to help 1.3 million people through the next three months. 


Aid money for India questioned

MPs have called for the UK to fundamentally change its aid relationship with India after 2015 by giving less to the increasingly prosperous country. In a new Report the International Development Select Committee backed the government’s decision to continue providing 280million a year in the short term to combat poverty.  But it called for a redirection of money towards other priorities such as improving hygiene and education. The committee agreed with ministers that the existence of ‘large pockets of poverty’ within the country justified the maintenance of UK aid for the immediate future.


The Report added that the test of whether the UK should continue to give aid to India is whether that aid makes a distinct, value-added contribution to poverty reduction which would not otherwise happen. The Report clearly shows that UK aid currently plays an important role in tackling poverty in India, a country with more poor people than the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.


Disaster preparation will be core part of UK aid

The Department for International Development (DFID) said that disaster risk reduction plans will be built into all its country programmes by 2015. It hopes this will save more lives and safeguard gains made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


More resources will be focused on establishing cyclone warning alarms and public shelters, building earthquake-resistant hospitals and schools, and building more and better flood defences. Britain will also call for an overhaul of UN leadership to ensure a more co-ordinated response to disaster relief.


Drive to help tackle crisis in Yemen

Recent fighting has displaced over 40,000 people across Yemen and new emergency humanitarian funding from the UK will help the International Committee of the Red Cross reach people in conflict affected areas across the country. In addition, British support for a consortium of five of the main international NGOs will enable them to pool resources and expertise to help meet urgent needs in areas that can prove difficult for humanitarian agencies to access.


This new British emergency support will reach a total over 300,000 people and will help to:

  • Improve healthcare for 91,100 people to reduce disease and save lives,
  • Provide access to drinking water, shelter and sanitation for 71,000 people,
  • Educate 30,000 children on how to avoid unexploded landmines,
  • Provide 6,900 people a month with food and hygiene kits, and
  • Provide livestock and training for 5,850 people.


‘No Child Born to Die’ campaign

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) held its first pledge conference to help save millions more children’s lives by addressing the need to raise US$ 3.7billion to scale-up immunisation programmes in developing countries. The resources that were committed will allow GAVI to go even further than its original target of immunising a quarter of a billion children and saving 4 million lives by allowing the introduction of new vaccines to more children more quickly in more places.


The UK has made a new 814 million commitment to GAVI and remains strongly committed to strengthening health systems and to support health workers. It is estimated that about 25% of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) spending on health supports human resources for health. 


DFID country-based health programmes work to strengthen national capacity in a variety of ways including through training; reforming public sector recruitment, deployment and supervision; and through quality improvement in service delivery. Of 31 country operational plans that have headline results in health, 14 are directly dependent on an improved health workforce:

  • In Ethiopia DFID will ensure that over 500,000 pregnant women are able to deliver their babies with the help of nurses, midwives or doctors,
  • In Liberia, UK money will help train an additional 3,700 health workers to provide essential health care services for women and children,
  • In Malawi, the UK will continue to invest in the Emergency Human Resources Programme that has to date increased the total number of professional health workers in that country by more than 50% (2004 to 2009),
  • In South Africa, The UK is supporting the government to develop a national strategy for human resources for health.


Don’t support World Bank’s ’dirty’ power subsidies, say MPs

A House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report said that Britain should not continue to channel aid through the World Bank unless it stops lending money to developing countries to build ‘dirty’ power stations. The UK contributes more than 2billion a year to the bank, which heavily funds fossil fuel power projects in the developing world.

The committee said that the World Bank funding undermines global and local attempts to reduce carbon emissions and poverty. The MPs said that Britain abstained last year from a vote to provide South Africa with 2.33billion for a substantial coal-burning project, and argues that in future it should be prepared to vote down such projects.

The recent report put forward by the committee said “The bank is not the most appropriate channel for future UK climate finance. It undermines our low-carbon objectives. Britain should be prepared to vote against any new World Bank lending for coal powered stations. DFID should monitor the World Bank’s progress in controlling carbon emissions and report the results.”

International Development Achievement Award launched

The Guardian newspaper has recently launched its International Development Award 2011. Now in its third year, the award exists to celebrate individuals who do amazing work in global development. The newspaper is asking everyone involved in development to nominate someone who has made a significant contribution to alleviating poverty in the developing world.


Last year the achievement award went to Odette Kayirere, a mother of six young daughters, she lost her husband in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She co-founded a branch of the Rwandan organisation Avega the Association of Widows of the Genocide. Avega now provides its 4,000 members with psychological support, training in trauma healing and counselling, and paralegal skills, among other services.


To nominate someone, visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/achievementsaward



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