Tag Archives: aid

Aid traceability is a worthy goal, but it will take some time

Cross posted from the blog of the UK-based aid transparency campaign organisation, Publish What You Fund. The original was published on October 20th. 


 


“We will require organisations receiving and managing funds from DFID to release open data on how this money is spent in a common, standard, reusable format. They will need to require this of sub-contractors and sub-agencies – right through the aid chain.”

That was Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development, speaking in 2012 on DFID’s commitment to transparency.

The UK’s latest Open Government Partnership Action Plan put a date on this, committing DFID to “a requirement of IATI publication by the end of 2015 for all implementing partners.”

The goal is traceability: for British taxpayers to be able to track the flow of funds from DFID in London to a handpump in rural Tanzania or a primary school in Nepal, even where the funds pass through several different organisations on the way. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and DFID’s Development Tracker website are the means to achieve this. Continue reading

Does the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) apply to Tanzanian NGOs?

IATI cartoon

Twaweza published its first set of IATI data last week. By doing so, Twaweza joined 276 other organisations sharing data on their work in a common standard. And since doing so, I’ve been asked several times why we have done this: isn’t IATI something for official aid agencies like DFID and USAID, and for the bigger international NGOs? Continue reading

DFID turns to “Payment by Results” for rural water supply in Tanzania

Turning money into water has always been the goal of water sector donors. They have money, and they want to use it to improve access to clean and safe water. Sounds simple enough.

But as my colleagues at Twaweza found in a recent policy brief, not much progress has been made on rural water supply in Tanzania, despite a massive increase in spending in the sector. Money flowed, but water only trickled.

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

In truth, it’s far from easy. Getting the engineering right is only one part of the challenge – managing funds correctly, avoiding corruption, deciding which communities should be prioritised, and maintaining newly water constructed waterpoints all add to the difficulty. This blog has documented many of these challenges over the past few years, particularly the struggles of the $1bn Water Sector Development Programme.

So the folks at DFID have come up with a new approach, called Payment by Results, or PbR, which they are about to start applying to rural water supply in Tanzania. And they’re backing it with big money: £150m (Tshs 400bn/-) over 5 years. Continue reading

Budget bling

With Tanzania’s parliamentary budget session in progress at the moment, Mwananchi newspaper’s resident cartoonist, Masoud Kipanya, has found a new theme – budget bling. I think it’s a powerful one, and judging by the number of times these have appeared in my twitter feed and facebook timeline, I’m not alone.

(For non Swahili-speakers, “serikali” means government.)

Hello, yes, donors, yes. As usual, my budget has dropped.

Hello, yes, donors, yes, as usual, my budget has dropped.

Continue reading

When water doesn’t spout from money: the challenge of water provision in rural Tanzania

This blogpost was originally published on the Ideas for Africa blog, run by the International Growth Centre (IGC) of the London School of Economics and Oxford University. It is co-written with Ruth Carlitz of UCLA.

A few weeks ago, the Tanzanian NGO Twaweza released a research brief detailing the ongoing challenge of access to clean water in the country. The brief showed that just over half of all Tanzanians (54%) obtain their drinking water from an ‘improved’ source; the figure for rural citizens is even lower at just 42%. These findings become even more striking when put in the context of recent investments. As shown in the figure below, Tanzania’s current level of access is similar to that of 20 years ago, despite a lot of money having been spent.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

Continue reading

Tanzania’s ongoing water sector mess

Twaweza has a new policy brief out*, on a subject that’s close to my heart: water supply in Tanzania. Money flows, water trickles is the title, and it’s hard to argue with that. A lot of money has been spent, with worryingly very little to show for it.

Over the 10 year period of 1995-2005, Tanzania received USD $57 per beneficiary in aid flows earmarked for rural water supply, but coverage fell by 1%. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda all received considerably less aid per beneficiary, but managed to improve their coverage significantly. Continue reading

Freedom of Information on DFID’s role in BAE Project in Tanzania? Bado

image from http://www.parentalguide.org/article-family-road-trip.html

image from http://www.parentalguide.org/article-family-road-trip.html

I submitted a Freedom of Information request with the Department for International Development (DFID) last month. I’m asking for the Memorandum of Understanding between DFID, the Government of Tanzania, the Serious Fraud Office and BAE Systems, and related budget details. (See here and here for some background).

The government legally has to respond within 20 days – the deadline is tomorrow.  Continue reading

Who would want to be a President? Lessons from Malawi

Presidents Kikwete of Tanzania and Banda of Malawi

Presidents Kikwete of Tanzania and Banda of Malawi

President Joyce Banda of Malawi is in a pickle. A corruption scandal has emerged on her watch, and she’s under pressure from all sides, quite possibly through no fault of her own. In fact, it may even be the case that she finds herself in this mess precisely because she has done something not far from the right thing.

So what happened?

A few weeks ago, an environment ministry official was found with £190,000 in the boot of his car, then the Budget Director – said to be on the verge of blowing the whistle – was shot three times outside his home. According to the Telegraph (not my usual source, but they were given an interview by Banda), 68 people have been arrested in the ensuing investigation, including the Ministers of Finance and Justice. The Minister of Justice has been charged with attempted murder of the Budget Director. The President has cleared out her cabinet, and said that about 30% of the country’s budget could have been stolen over the past decade. Thirty percent.  Continue reading

Investments to End Poverty, in Tanzania

Development Initiatives, where I briefly worked earlier this year, has a fascinating new report out. It’s called Investments to End Poverty, and aims to document as accurately as possible the size and nature of all the resource that are available for poverty reduction. Duncan Green at Oxfam calls it “a goldmine of killer facts and infographics“. I’m going digging, to see if I can find a few nuggets.

In particular, this post will mostly look at what the report says about Tanzania. But first, some more detail on the report as a whole.

The report details aid flows from traditional donors, of course, but also goes much further – looking at private investment, loans, remittances, aid spending by NGOs and non-traditional donors, for example. And as the chart below shows, these other sources of funds now dwarf aid (official development assistance, or ODA).

figure 2.8, from ITEP p.43

from ITEP, p.43

Continue reading

Missionary, Mercenary, Mystic, Misfit, by J.

Missionary, Mercenary, Mystic, MisfitJ. is on a mission: to prove to the world that there’s a market for “humanitarian aid fiction”. As a highly experienced aid worker and prolific blogger (latterly at AidSpeak, formerly at Tales from the hood and one half of the team behind popular satirical aid blog, Stuff Expat Aid Workers’ Like (SEAWL), if anyone has the credentials to make this work, it should be J. But with his latest effort to bring the genre to life, Missionary, Mercenary, Mystic, Misfit, he doesn’t quite hit the mark.

The story centres on a refugee camp just inside Ethiopia’s border with Somalia – Dolo Ado. Or to be more precise, it centres on two American inhabitants of Dolo Ado – Jon and Mary-Anne, employees of Oxfam America and the fictional World Aid Corps respectively. Each lives apart from their partner, leaving space for a will-they-won’t-they relationship to emerge between them.  Continue reading