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Dynamics - September 2011 - Growing international development brick by brick - Making aid work better - EY - Global

Growing international development brick by brick

Making aid work better

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"Aid is at its best where it is most open and transparent," Owen Barder, senior fellow and director for Europe at the Center for Global Development.

How can governments and NGOs deliver aid more effectively? Owen Barder, senior fellow and director for Europe at the Center for Global Development, explains.

Improving social services

For Barder, understanding the objective of an aid program is absolutely fundamental to making it effective.

"There are lots of reasons why governments give aid, many of which are related to other objectives such as security, commercial and political projection of influence across the world," he points out.

"In practice, a lot of aid…helps people live better lives, such as vaccinating children, giving people access to drinking water and so on. Most aid — well over half — goes toward this purpose."

This, he believes, is something that the aid industry has been collectively reluctant to admit.

However, Barder thinks that by admitting aid sometimes improves human lives rather than improving the local economy, organizations give aid can direct it more effectively.

Measuring results

Although Barder doesn't think it's necessary for all aid organizations to earn a big profit, he does think it's important for them to track where their aid is going so it's not wasted.

Plus, the tax payers giving the aid in one country have the same questions as the other people receiving the aid: is it meeting the need.

But for Barder, the bottom line is accountability, "Aid is at its best where it is most open and transparent," he says.



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