There is a moral duty to provide it—and it grants Britain influence on the global stageby Kate Osamor / January 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
It seems that those on the right of British politics have set their sights on a new target: the UK’s foreign aid budget. Not content with hauling Britain out of the EU and plunging the country into political and economic chaos, next on their list is the £12bn that is distributed to the most deprived and impoverished nations on the planet.
It is enshrined in UK law that we commit 0.7 per cent of our GDP to the foreign aid budget and despite vehement calls to the contrary, our moral duty demands that we should not falter on this.
Sensationalist, headline-grabbing stories of waste and corruption have become an ever increasing staple of British newspapers over recent months. No policy, project or programme designed to improve the lives of destitute and marginalised people around the world is exempt from criticism.
Most recently, a story was widely published and circulated of a £5m figure—0.04 per cent of the UK’s foreign aid budget—delivered to Ethiopian “Spice Girls” group, Yegna. Despite the oversimplified and distorted reporting of the story, the money supplied to the group was part of a much wider campaign—called Girl Effect—that aims to tackle gender-based violence in the country.
The scheme uses storylines and music to tackle violence against women, reduce the proportion of girls who marry or give birth before the age of 18, increase the proportion of girls who complete primary school and go to secondary school and increase the number of girls with control over economic assets. This is just one example of many which constitutes an all-out-attack on foreign aid.
The aid the UK gives does not constitute a supply of money ad infinitum; there are targets to be met once countries have been given the social and economic leg-up necessary. For example, in Uganda, the plan is to end support for a vaccination programme there by 2020, when it is hoped the country will be wealthier and in a better position to fund this service itself.
Stories of government corruption are troubling and present a significant challenge for the delivery of aid to those who need it most. Ultimately, it is not our relationship with these governments that matters, but rather with the people who benefit from the aid we deliver.
It is beneficial to shift the focus…