CID Weekly: Biden and aid, digital cash, donate responsibly campaign launched

Posted on 17 November 2020

+ What does a Biden presidency mean for aid?

How different will a Biden administration be for the development sector? 

There will be change, but some areas still remain unclear. Here's what we do know:

  • Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, more commonly known as the global gag rule, which prevents foreign organisations from receiving US federal funding if they provide abortion counselling, referrals, or abortion services, even in countries where it’s legal, writes Paul Abernethy at BOND UK.

This is likely to change under Biden, according to sources.

  • Congress stopped Trump cutting aid budgets, but climate change was another matter.

Biden has already committed to return the USA to the Paris Climate Accord, but lack of control of Senate may make other climate change initiatives challenging to pass.

  • Trump walked away from the international system, withdrawing funding from multilateral organisations, and US troops from peace-keeping campaigns.

Biden has said he will prioritise rebuilding the international system, and is likely to focus on support for democracy, governance and, he has indicated,  ending the conflict in Yemen. How 'interventionists' a Biden administration will be though, remains to be seen. 


+ 'Donate Responsibly' website launched

The World Food Programme, in partnership with New Zealand’s Council for International Development, launched a new Donate Responsibly website to support generous kiwis to donate more effectively following a disaster.

Member networks, church networks, and diaspora groups will be key in getting the message out. Please contact Aaron Davy at CID to get access to tools you can use, and to find out more about CID's promotional campaign over the current cyclone season.

With the South Pacific Cyclone Season upon us, the website shows how goods sent by the public overseas in response to a disaster can be unhelpful and even harmful. Cyclones can devastate - so can donated goods!
People's generosity, time and money is often wasted and for the disaster-affected country on the receiving-end, the cost of dealing with these donations can be in the millions. This is money which could have been better spent on relief and rebuilding efforts.
Created with the support from the Government of Japan, the Donate Responsibly website is a fun and interactive journey of discover that shows how donations thought to be helpful may in fact have the opposite effect.

+ Digital cash transfer during emergencies  - new app

Oxfam in Vanuatu is pioneering Unblocked Cash, a mobile-based development project using blockchain technology, along with tap-and-pay cards, to provide direct assistance to families recovering from disasters or acute financial distress, writes Dan McGarry in the UK Guardian.

The cards can be ‘loaded’ with money, to act like a debit card, allowing families to directly buy food, medicine, clothes, and other emergency supplies, even hardware to rebuild destroyed homes.

Sandra Uwantege Hart, head of Pacific cash and livelihoods for Oxfam in Vanuatu, told the Guardian the project emerged out of an effort to “shift the delivery model for humanitarian assistance… from goods to cash and vouchers”.

The approach “is more market-friendly, [and] gives people more dignity and flexibility”.

It’s also, proponents argue, more efficient. Traditionally, it typically costs between $2 - $3 to deploy $1 worth of aid post-disaster. The digital model reduces aid distribution costs by up to 75%, Oxfam claims, taking only three minutes to register each new recipient on the network. Older approaches could take over an hour.

The project is jointly funded by New Zealand and Australia.


+ *WORKSHOP TOMORROW* Gender Responsive Programming in a COVID World

Register now for these 2-hour workshops over two days, which will:

  • Revisit the role of gender mainstreaming in development and humanitarian responses, along with the role and impact of COVID on gender equality
  • Provide rich examples of gender mainstreaming in Asia-Pacific
  • Support participants to learn new skills and apply them to case-studies.
Both will be facilitated by two internationally leading gender experts, with vast expertise of working in the field, particularly in the Pacific.

Workshop 1
  • Wednesday 18 November, 12pm-2pm
Hosted by Anna Cowley from Fiji, who is a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Specialist and trainer.

Workshop 2
  • Thursday 19 November, 12pm-2pm
Hosted by Gina Huong Lee, who is a trainer, a practitioner and a feminist and gender advocate for women's human rights in the Pacific

Register here to receive the Zoom link for both workshops, just $20 for both workshops.

+ 'The good, the bad and the uncertain' - NGO donations

Although this DevPolicy research is for Australian NGOs, many of the assumptions can be applied to the New Zealand sector, given what we already know from the 'Health of the Sector' report and the CID Annual Member Survey.

Although 2019 (and even 2020) was a pretty good year for the sector in terms of fundraising, "donations from the public to Australian development NGOs kept falling in 2019," writes Terence Wood.

"So why did NGO donations continue to fall in 2019? Much of the story appears to be to do with economic conditions in Australia. As I’ve demonstrated in previous posts, NGO donation revenue change is correlated with economic growth in Australia."

+ Nominations of CID Humanitarian Network Chair
We are currently looking for a new Chair for the CID Humanitarian Network. This is a prestigious position, well respected by MFAT and government, and we are reaching out to ask humanitarian network members if they have a stand out candidate who might be keen to undertake this role.
The role of the Chair is about bringing everyone together, and being an independent co-facilitator to help corral the network expertise to support collective decision-making, and liaise with MFAT. It is not a unilateral decision-making role. As such, we believe competency for the role of Humanitarian Network Chair does not necessitate seniority within your own humanitarian division. Rather, it is the interest and understanding in humanitarian programming, and the energy and personable skills that an individual will bring that will make the role a success!
We are excited that there are lot of new faces bringing their ‘fresh’ expertise into our community, and we would like to encourage creative thinking about who might Chair this network so that we strengthen up-and-coming leadership within the humanitarian network.

Please contact Aaron for any further information, and nomination form. Nominations must be in by COP Friday, 4th December.

+ UN and faith based organisations increase partnerships

Following the Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake in Indonesia in 2004, Muslim NGOs were the first to recognize a “big gap in humanitarian packages” for displaced people, according to Azza Karam, secretary-general of the coalition Religions for Peace. Women were not leaving their tents because they did not have head coverings, creating a sanitary and public health emergency.

"It took a faith-based NGO to say, ‘We have to provide them with scarves,’ at which point the U.N. [United Nations] actors were like: ‘Absolutely not. As a matter of principle, we can't provide these religious things.’ And it's caused a massive furor,” Karam said. “It was a big issue, and it shows you how there's a different kind of sensibility that faith-based actors bring into this space.”

Amy Lieberman of Devex examines how the UN is increasing its partnerships with faith based organisations.


The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

+ CID Photo Competition 2020 Winners 

CID are thrilled to announce the 2020 Photo Competition as follows:

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - Orphans Aid in Entebbe, Uganda. Photographer: Benjamin Mukisa. 

HUMANITARIAN AID & DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (DRR) - ADRA in Espirito Santo, Vanuatu. Photographer: Jean Pierre Niptik.

PROFESSIONAL - International Needs in Uganda. Photographer: Leon Rose from ‘The Camera Man’

We would like to thank all members made submissions this year - there were plenty of fantastic and compelling photos.

You can view the winning photos here

+ Putting 'adaptive management' to the test

Adaptive management is integral to our way of working, but Covid-19 put our processes to the test. Were we really the responsive organisation we thought we were? 

Emily Malcolm, BOND member examines how COVID has put adaptive management to the test.

Key points:

  • Quick decision making and flexibility to change direction is key
  • Make sure your donors are on side with the need to change direction rapidly if required
  • Be creative - innovate - and allow others to come up with ideas too
  • Keep reflecting and do it often so you can change how you're working if its not effective
  • Hold regular learning sessions with partners and donors

+ Adaptive management tool to measure your success

GrayDotCatalyst is a survey tool  designed to document changes made to adaptive management processes, whether they have a positive or negative impact, and recommendations about keeping them longer-term.

It is easily translated and accessed via a mobile device, allowing frontline staff to capture information easily and quickly.


+ Save the Date: MFAT Virtual NGO Hui on 10 December

MFAT’s Pacific and Development Group are pleased to announce the annual NGO Hui – this year held virtually on Thursday 10 December, 1:00 - 4:30pm

 - MFAT Updates
 - Partnering for Impact
 - Localisation: Initial research findings
More details to come.



Donate Responsibly