Sunday, September 06, 2009

DfID and NGOs: corruption a-go-go

I'm a little late to the party on this one—though I received the report some days ago—but the International Policy Network released a report that reveals the extent to which the Department for International Development (DfID) has been funding NGOs to lobby both itself and various other entities [PDF].
The Department for International Development (DfID) claims to be “leading the UK government’s fight against world poverty”. However, by 2011 it will have spent over £1bn of taxpayers’ money on propaganda, according to “Fake Aid”, a new report from International Policy Network.

Recipients of this money include trade unions and other partisan political organisations in the UK. Examples include:

£1.2 million given to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) since 2003 for activities including: lobbying, hiring new staff and an “international buffet and wine” event to celebrate “International Women’s Day” in the UK. DfID also paid the TUC to hold lessons in how to apply for DfID funds.

£300,000 to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to “enable them [teachers] to become global agents of change”.

The creation of fake NGOs such as “Connections for Development” (CfD), supposedly a forum for black and ethnic minorities to engage “on issues relating to international development.” DfID created and is the only donor to CfD, providing it with £600,000 in its first two years, yet an independent review questioned “the purpose of the organisation.”

£10 million spent flying poor Brits to poor countries to work for free.

IPN’s Julian Harris, one of the report’s authors, said “DfID often hand-picks the largest recipients, such as trade unions, behind closed doors. This smacks of cronyism.”

The report highlights the waste of DfID funds on political campaigning while a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria in poor countries.

“The money DfID is wasting in this year alone could in principle treat 230 million people suffering from malaria,” concluded Harris.

This is a welcome extension to the work that your humble Devil and his colleagues have been doing at Indeed, we seem to have kicked off something of a fad or investigating the provenance of non-profit organisations amongst think-tanks [TPA PDF].

More details can be found at the LPUK blog, here is an LPUK press release.

It is utterly unacceptable for the government to use our money to pay organisations to lobby itself—especially as these organisations almost always lobby for more restrictions on our freedoms.

The idea that my money is being stolen so that the fruits of my labour can be turned against me is, personally, extremely rage-inducing. Not to mention that fact that it emphasises the veracity of Ayn Rand's vision of how government works in Atlas Shrugs.

Our own skills and hard work are being used against us but, alas, it simply isn't practical for us to withdraw our labour—for how would we live? At the behest of these same fake charities?

No thanks.


Anonymous said...

And how much money has been spent on sending people on Common Purpose indoctrination courses, I wonder?

john in cheshire

Edgar said...

You're a little late to the party on this one—didn't you receive the report some days ago?

Just kiddin'. It is all extremely curdling of the tripes. But if you won't even invest a few days of your work ...

James Higham said...

£300,000 to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to “enable them [teachers] to become global agents of change”.

I would like to see the break down of figures on this. Just what precisely were they told, which teachers, state or independent, was it via workshops and what did the money cover? Seminar entry?

Who conducted the seminars and meetings? Common Purpose? Were they in-house?

Rob said...

But there's no waste in government spending! Labour said so.

Vicola said...

Is there any area of government that is not a vile cesspit of money-grubbing and back-scratching, whose sole purpose is to make some grey-suited pillocks very rich? If anyone can come up with a government activity that doesn't fit into this category, can they let me know?

Bugger Lugs said...

How much of this money is "recycled" to The Labour Party as donations?

Nice little Labour earner there Guv?

Is there a forensic accountant out there searching for a Nobel prize?

Luis Enrique said...

(The following does not contradict or (perhaps) even mitigate the findings of this report ...)

DFiD is probably the least corrupt, most effective bilateral aid agency in the world. (see Easterly & Pfutze)

Anonymous said...

Nothing surprising in that lot. It's all part of the same scam. Have a look at the number of anti-smoking 'charities' and their funders if you need more proof of this despicable behaviour.

The government fund a load of 'charities' with names that sound authoritative, then they produce wholly incredible reports and support their paymaster's case.

I watched 'A man for All Seasons' on the telly on Sunday... nothing changes...

David Gillies said...

What I want to know is, in the name of all that is holy, why Stuntman Dave and his crew have said that the only area other than the NHS that will be ringfenced is DfID. Closing it down on a platform of 'charity begins at home' would be a) politically costless and b) enormously damaging to the Gramscians. So what the hell is he playing at?

TheFatBigot said...

In answer to Mr Gillies' question, he is playing at trying not to lose votes.

I would expect the vast majority of those who believe the DfID should be abolished, so that international aid is left to private charities except in dire emergencies, are likely to vote Conservative.

It is the floating voters, affected by decades of propaganda about the benefit of the big state, whose votes will determine the outcome of the election. There are votes in institutionalised guilt, however irrational that guilt might be. And it is institutionalised guilt that causes the DfID to exist at all.

Cameron has to pander to the touchy-feely floating voters both in relation to international aid and other cotton-wooly issues like so-called man-made global warming. Some (too many in my view) people have been persuaded that these issues are important matters for government.

They might be completely wrong but they still have votes and a lot of them float vote-wise.

FrankFisher said...

Been writing about this for years - charities and NGOs are the most deceitful and plain *bent* of all organisations. Yet they're always presented as the good guys and are rarely questioned on their daffy claims and reports. Stick at it.