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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

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20 Feb 2006 - 15:19
"Appropriating" the aid dollar
On the question of how aid recipients can have more

say. I will not comment on broader policy issues on this but limit my suggestions to thoughts on how to get people on

the ground involved in "appropriating" the aid dollar through their normal activities.

Aid agencies need to

exert greater influence on how procurement by their implementing partners is done on the ground. Despite the obvious

increased administrative burden this will create, there are benefits in ensuring that where possible every dollar is

left in the recipient community.

One way of doing this can be illustrated as follows: If an NGO gets funding for

a health project and chooses to buy bicycles as community ambulances, when procuring for them, the donor should insist

that efforts are made to organise community businesses to tender. It is often the case that tenders are awarded at

national level rather at community level. The approach suggested here should be managed to ensure no nepotism, or

corruption. It has the potential to stimulate trade and hence make the aid dollar go further! Surely this deserves

efforts irrespective of the challenges posed in ensuring proper implementation.

Food procurement is a similar

case where the UN and donors should support private interests that are willing to organise small farmers to be able to

tender for the WFP supply of grain. This can only work if donors insist on it. This aspect of aid administration will

grow in importance in the next few years because most donors have committed to increase their ODA with others intending

to double it in the next few years.

The question I'm therefore posing in a round-about way is 'is there

sufficient thought and effort being put to organise communities to absorb this in a meaningful way?' if the answer is

no, then we should be alarmed and there are many reasons why we should be worried chief of which is that most of the aid

will go to the same old beneficiaries and continue supporting historical inequalities in recipient countries rather than

being about the transformation of the conditions of the most needy. Certainly there are many in the recipient countries

who are willing to dedicate themselves to doing the hard work of setting up necessary mechanisms and all donors need to

do is harness their labour.�?

originally submitted via the old FFA website by David, South


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