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« The last chance saloons | Main | Buying research »
Thursday
Oct292015

Just what is DFiD spending money on?

On a whim, I downloaded the monthly expenditure details from the Department for International Development for August 2015, the most recent figures available.

Of interest are payments to:

  • ClientEarth £246,171 Aid programme
  • Climate Policy Initiative £32,500 Project delivery
  • WWF £371,860 Aid programme, Asia, Caribbean and Overseas Territories
  • World Resources Institute £867,847 Aid programme grants,Policy division
  • Solar Aid £239,875
  • Environmental Investigation Agency £69,416 Aid programme grants, policy division

I don't know about you but you could get the impression that a great deal of what DFiD reports as overseas aid spending is actually bungs to environmentalists.

 

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Reader Comments (63)

Isn't the technical name: "slops" - as in snouts in the trough.

Oct 29, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

DfID funded the BBC's notorious climate seminar with a grant to the International Broadcasting Trust.

Oct 29, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

You aren't even scratching the surface.

WWF 2008-2011 £13,290,000 http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-113745/
WWF 2011-2016 £15,451,780 http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-202661/

Pick you favourite keyword and find how many millions they are giving away: http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/

Oct 29, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

The ClientEarth spend is for a project called "Forest Governance, Markets and Climate" and the total budget is £158,738,010 (http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-201724/)

If you look at the spreadsheet under the "Transaction Number" you will find a number like 201724-125. Ignore the "-125" and the rest of the number is the project number which you can find by searching here: http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/index.html

Oct 29, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I'm not understanding how you can receive government money and still be either a charity or non-governmental body. They'll tax pensioners but not these charlatans.

Oct 29, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I'm mainly staggered by how much time you've got to trawl those spreadsheets. Impressive!

Oct 29, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I suspect that there are very few genuine "charities" left in the UK today, with most if not all recieving taxpayer funding somehwere down the line! I suspect it all started under New Labour's watch to promote the cause!

Oct 29, 2015 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Which charities do you give to 'Alan the Brit'? I guess you live overseas though?

Oct 29, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Solar Aid are eliminating fuel poverty throughout Africa and improving people's health. Google what they do... how can anyone object to that?

Oct 29, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTruthseeker

I too have seen great support through solar and biogas for rural families in East Africa. All were miles from the grid, so access to energy was impossible to access. No more dirty indoor fires.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Yes, much of the overseas aid budget has been diverted to the green blob, happened under Tony Blair actually.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Spence

Tim Spence, can you give me a % of the DFID budget that is spent on the 'green blob'? Thanks

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Truthseeker

What they appear to be doing is getting people in the UK to contribute to this and then actually selling them in Africa, sweet deal.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Not true in the work I've seen 'Dung'

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Truthseeker
Are you serious?
How many times does it have to be dinned into people that what has dragged the civilised world out of disease, penury, and early death is cheap and above all reliable energy — as in when I flick the switch the light comes on every time, not just when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing?
And how long before the poor (of Africa especially) learn that they are being conned by their own leaders and the patronising attitude of the NGOs who don't give a flying **** for anyone but themselves? As long as they feel good about themselves the rest of the world can go hang.

If you forgot the /sarc tag, I apologise; if not, do please have a think.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson...I've seen biogas work well and provide light and gas to cook on, all from their livestock...no need for wind or sun...although the sun did shine an awful lot.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Mike Jackon...fair shout on the patronising NGOs but you are no better.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

DFID...DfID...DFiD.... The "F" (or "f") shouldn't even be in there (and the "I" should be capitalized). That tells me the level of competence these children possess.

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

This will make you guys angry! - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/solar-boost-to-release-africas-untapped-energy-potential.

Although Grant Shapps always makes me pretty angry!

Oct 29, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I can accept that solar may be able to supply electricity usefully in some remote locations, and will spread a taste for electricity. But it still needs to be compared with alternatives like a portable diesel generator. Everything, including solar, has a capital cost and maintenance/running costs and replacement costs when it degrades and expires.

And once people discover the benefits of daytime electricity, they will want it at night too. The difficulties and costs of energy storage is where solar falls flat. The Bish had a cautionary tale from India in the "Seen elsewhere" column. Greenpeace attempting to walk the walk (or, rather, get Indians to walk the greenpeace-walk). Result? Coal won.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"Solar Aid are eliminating fuel poverty throughout Africa and improving people's health. Google what they do... how can anyone object to that? Truthseeker.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-trumps-solar-in-india/

That article explains some of the problems. What is not discussed is whether people should be encouraged to live in the middle of nowhere and expect to prosper, solar or diesel powered. If most of our ancestors had stayed where they were waiting for prosperity to come to them, they'd have starved to death. Sure, if you want Africans to remain in poverty, impacting on the wild spaces, then support them with solar. Alternatively they could be following the (not always pleasant) path western civilisation followed, which means maniufacturing. Manufacturing can't be done in small villages in the back of beyond.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Biogas worked well, when I saw it. Simple technology as well.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@Steve: How clever of you Steve, your insight & perception is amazing! Yes I live overseas in the good old US of Devon in the south-west of England, have done for years, it's a great life I'd recommend it to anyone, better than slumming it in good old blighty! I donate monthly to Cancer UK by DD as I have done for over 17 years ever since three of my ex-wifes cousins died from it all within the space of 18 months of each other. I also donate to the veriatble army of charity collectors who stand sometimes at the exit of the supermarket I frequent, & sometimes at the entrance, & sometimes at both entrance & exit in a pincer movement! If a "charity" recieves one penny of taxpayers dosh, it's not a true "charity"! However, despite mu criticism of many of so called charitable status, I was brought up to have a concience & with what are now considered an obscenity, good Christian values! How about you?

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

TinyCO2...

Brilliant!

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Alan the Brit...yeah I give 1% of my total income to charity...seemed like a fair amount, maybe a little small. Do you have a problem with a charity being totally funded by a single individual?

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Seems to me that without reliable power supplies from fossil fuels, people in developing countries are dependent on unreliables like wind and solar. Government aid to unreliable technology, is no substitute for proven reliability.

When UK based NGO's, charities and their advocates can operate without mains electricity, to use the internet 24/7, the technology may have improved. Using the internet is fairly low energy use, and is not what is required by those without power in developing countries.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Steve: No, just the taxpayer. It is reasonable for a charity to make approaches for grants under some circumstances, & even tax-breaks when available. It is unreasonable for a guvment to use taxpayers money in any situation where undue influence upon a charity's policy may result! All one needs to do is watch the boxed-set of Yes Minister to see how guvment really works, & whilst the plots are "fictional", the processes around guvment policy & the Civil Service are true!!!

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Fair enough 'Alan the Brit'

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Providing pathetic, puny 'solar power solutions' to poor Africans is akin to lending them plastic teapots. FFS the PV cells have to be produced in the first place.
Living on three acres, raising six-ten kids, two milch cows and a few hens with enough juice to work the Ipad and a night light - is not enough. The UN, the DfiD those privately ill educated kids who work in it - greatly patronize the poor by informing them - that they cannot develop fossil fuel generating capacity.

The Dfid is an excuse, certainly not a solution, giving away money to wet, green, charidees is unconscionably stupid but it assuages Dave's wife's [the executive too] guilt complex for being so fabulously rich - yah? OOh it's so like Batmanjelly's charidee - helping buy whizz an' stuff for da kidz innit?

Finally, the EU dispenses most of the British taxpayers largess, that's why Dave raised the bar so high, and that truly is taking the piss.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Let's face it, dung works too, it just isn't healthy or good enough to support more than subsistence living. What should be decided is how do countries progress. Greens have some vague idea that poor Africans are going to leapfrog power hungry technologies and land in the future, in the same way they've gone straight to mobile phones. But what are they going to do with their internet based education and links to the outside world? What for that matter will we do in the future? As many twenty somethings are finding out, an education isn't all it's cracked up to be. You need a purpose for that education. It's one of the things that greens will never touch, what do they see us doing in the future without energy or a reason to endeavour.

Oct 29, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Many such grants by both government and foundations go to things like "social action" and "community forestry" and "building capacity" which are all codewords for socialism or worse. They aren't actually building roads or vaccinating children or anything, just agitating. An example of the effect is convincing 3rd world dictators to refuse donations of GMO crops.

Oct 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Bob Geldorf ranted and raged about aid money being swallowed up in the country of origin, over 30 years ago. DFID provides proof that nothing has really changed

Oct 29, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie...check Hans Rosling, things have changed...whether as a result of aid is another question but to say nothing has really challenged is incorrect. Check some data.

Oct 29, 2015 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

No need for rancour lads. If something works, is relatively cheap and folk are happy with it then good luck to them. Better harnessing the suns energy than delivering diesel cans by river. Better that Africans stay home than coming here too :). In Spain I was almost carbon free and I'd liked to have replaced my electricity with solar energy to go completely off-grid and suffer no more random power cuts or leccy bills! In Spain and Africa it is probably viable if your roof/garden is big enough.

Oct 29, 2015 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Steve,

I think golf charlie meant a lot of UK charity money intended for foreign programmes is spent in the UK (offices, staff, advertising, lobbying, etc) rather than meaning things haven't improved for the poorest.

Oct 29, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

@Steve, there is no doubt that solar, wind or biogas is an improvement against "next to nothing" but it will never allow them to be competitive against developed economies. Continuing poverty is therefore their destiny unless they have access to dispatchable energy.

Oct 29, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Porter

...fair shout on the patronising NGOs but you are no better.
I don't suppose you'd care to elaborate on that comment, would you?
Nobody that I know is suggesting that solar never has a place where it can be made to work at reasonable cost. Same applies to any form of energy generation. Solar Aid as an organisation suffers precisely the same failings as its longer-established counterparts. What it is flogging is certainly better than nothing but that is not the heights to which government aid is supposed to aspire.
I've been arguing for years against the NGOs that patronise the people they are supposed to be helping and against the government policy that places its own ambitions ahead of those it is supposed to be giving aid to.

Oct 29, 2015 at 4:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Gareth, yes thank you! It is amazing the way the amount of money spent on overseas aid actually gets spent in the UK on salaries.

UK staff are no more immune from corruption than cheaper staff staff in the countries intended for aid.

What happened to overseas aid before NGO's were created to take their percentage cuts? NGO's spend too much money training people how to rant about the evils of fossil fuels, when most people in developing countries are prevented from enjoying life to the full, as it is cut short prematurely due to lack of water, food, medical aid and reliable power.

Countries with reliable power are less reliant on aid. Birth rates go down, as the power of life becomes more reliable.

Oct 29, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This trick of NGO's tapping government money to push policy outcomes while hiding behind "charitable work" is a nasty development in our world.

Oct 29, 2015 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

David Porter, where would NGO's be if they ended poverty?

Mike Jackson, I entirely agree. Solar and wind are a useful backup. They ought to be promoted as back pack portable units for deployment to disasters and emergencies around the world.

The majority of those promoting unreliables as the single source of power, can do so because power failure is not a life or death issue.

Oct 29, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

hunter, the survival of NGO funding, is likely to be more important to NGOs than any of the causes they have fussed about before.

It will be discussed in raised voices over London restaurant tables, until food arrives more worthy of their attention.

Oct 29, 2015 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

There is nothing charming or morally uplifting about subsistence farming, Steve. It is what Karl Marx (remember him?) disparaged as "the idiocy of rural life".

The sooner these people move into the city and start to share in civilisation the better.

Sentimental westerners do them no favours by tinkering round the edges of their straightened lives with gobbets of energy sufficient to recharge a mobile phone, run a lightbulb or otherwise prolong their under-developed agony. As soon as they can afford a bicycle they should relocate to the nearest town and join the burgeoning middle class there where they will probably find both water and electricity on tap and the kids don't have to exhaust themselves on the hungry walk to school! There is no dignity in wondering from one season to the next whether your crops will last out and whether you will go hungry before the next harvest.

Have you seen Prof Hans Rosling's "Don't Panic" programmes? Poignant! Development? Yes, please! Bring it on!

Oct 29, 2015 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Out of curiosity, I followed links supplied by Solar Aid, and found their reasons for opposition to a business giving away millions of solar lights, not sold by Solar Aid.

They seem to think that giving stuff away, provides no incentive for people to aspire to anything. Solar Aid are however quite happy to take money from UK taxpayers, to oppose the generosity of others.

Nowhere do they consider the possibility that darkest Africa would be more enlightened by lights that work when it is dark outside. Research suggests that when it is dark outside, it is more likely to be dark inside. Moles at DFiD say this has never been noticed.

Oct 29, 2015 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I suppose it would be stupid to ask whether any of these charities and NGOs have identified increased UK energy bills as a reason for needing more money, to help people overseas who have no energy, or bills.

Oct 29, 2015 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

There is only one way to stop this.

Vote UKIP

Oct 29, 2015 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

I am a card carrying UKIP member but I forget where the card is as well as what I had for lunch ^.^

Oct 29, 2015 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterDung

@dave, 7:44pm: "vote ukip":

How, Why?? Please F off back to the DM sandpit, idiot.

Oct 29, 2015 at 9:47 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

dave & Dung, I have never carried any political card, but it would be interesting if UKIP made more of a feature of Global Warming's failure to deliver anything predicted by experts, despite the vast cost to every inhabitant of the UK, in a Party Political Broadcast screened on the BBC.

The EU have not realised the Global Warming Party is over. They have a mutual back slapping party to enjoy in Paris.

It is possible that New Revised Old Labour may realise that Miliband's Climate Change Act has exported so many UK jobs outside the EU, but the current leadership is concentrating on purging the rank and file MP's, rather than addressing the needs of the people who might vote Labour.

Oct 29, 2015 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

My online whims lead me - especially with charities (in an earlier life I had a couple of years as a voluntary charity manager) - to their reporting systems (Annual Reports / Project Reports). I want to know what they do and how they organise and spend any monies.

Many are models of rectictude - sources and expenditure itemised clearly and unequivocally - it's not that difficult and most funders would have little to complain about. Unfortunately I see way too much much obfuscation of operations and accounts - in some (too many!) cases impenetrable. Even well intentioned but utterly up themselves folk like Sherbourne 'gel Camilla Batwatserrname - can drift into abusing the system.

Maybe one gets more easily angered as one gets older but the wave (tsunami?) of ideologically driven activism, governmental sock puppetry, "professionalism" and unreconstructed fraudsters that is presently exploiting "charity" status is doing colossal harm.

DfID has been something of a sump of institutional cronyism like forever - doling out taxpayer funded largesse to their chums and operating largely in the bizarre world of the diplomatic circus overseas.

Let's not forget that the UK diplomatic service has some considerable "previous" with climate loonery (Crispin Tickell being not a solitary but definitely a prominent example ) and - if an old school tie / "social status"works anywhere ... The patronage of eco-NGOs by DFiD can actually only be operated by Sir Humprey and his ilk - essentially unencumbered by inconveniences like transparency and accountability.

If you’re too well connected for anyone to effectively criticise you, if you’re always pulling strings - transparency and therefore accountability simply evaporate - In short - DfID stinks and so does the present way 'charities' are funded, governed and controlled .... /rant

Also DFiD aren't above organising soft loans from UK government for v.dodgy social contacts and employing chums in "odd roles". Private Eye archive must have several features documenting shenanigans by "our DFiD man in wherever" over the years iirc.

Oct 29, 2015 at 11:52 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo you could simply google dfid scandal

Even the Guardian is unimpressed

Oct 30, 2015 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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