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 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 →
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 →
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)
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 →
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 →
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 →
“Chenji ya rada imetolewa!” – “The radar change has been paid.” So tweeted Reginald Mengi early last year when British defence company, BAE Systems, finally paid £29.5m towards education projects in Tanzania. It was not a fine, there was no admission of guilt (beyond a minor accounting irregularity), certainly no admission of corruption. But it was, at least, a settlement that channelled some funds into Tanzania’s education system.
BAE were concerned both that “their” funds should be used effectively and that this effectiveness should be seen as clearly as possible. So they worked closely with the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Tanzanian government to come up with a project to distribute desks and textbooks to primary schools throughout the country – the Primary Education Support Project (PESP). Every primary school will get text books, and desks will be delivered to primary schools in every district.
The project has been up and running for some time, and books have already been arriving in schools in many parts of the country. We know this because earlier this week a new website was launched that shows which books have been distributed by which companies to which schools, all across the country. Continue reading →
Making aid more accountable is a worthy goal. So is building support for public spending on international aid among citizens of donor countries. But a new proposal with precisely these goals in mind risks disempowering the very people aid is supposed to help.
The proposal, which goes by the title Opening Aid Policy, is to give British citizens – call them taxpayers or voters if you prefer – a chance to shape British aid policy: first to determine aid priorities and then even to cast their vote on which specific projects should get funded. Continue reading →