South Sudan 'Hope in hell', Climate Anxiety, Changing restrictive gender norms, and more.

Posted on 18 February 2020

+ South Sudan - 'Hope in Hell'

Andrea Vance (with Iain McGregor) continues her 3 part analysis of aid and development in South Sudan, in Stuff this weekend (made with  support from NZ on Air.)

"It’s been 18 months since South Sudan’s warring parties signed a peace deal to end a brutal five-year conflict. But more than half the population still relies on food rations, disease outbreaks are frequent and more than 2 million children don’t attend school,' writes Andrea Vance.

'The humanitarian community wants to shift from an emergency response and begin investing in the country’s future. So what’s stopping them?'

Have a look for videos, written analysis,  and  in-depth interviews with New Zealanders like the  leader of the UN response, David Shearer, and other representatives of humanitarian organisations on the ground, including the World Food Programme and World Vision.

Some key statistics and facts:

  • More than 100 humanitarian workers have been killed since the country descended into civil war in 2013.
  • The people of South Sudan depend on aid, at US$1.5 billion a year
  • More than 2 million children - about 70 per cent - are out of school in South Sudan.
  • Almost  200 organisations provide emergency operations in the country.
  • 200,000 people remain in POC (Protection of Civilians) camps
  • Another two million live in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
  • Millions need emergency food assistance and in 2019 about 1.7 million people were at risk of acute malnourishment.
  • Nearly 80 per cent of  people don’t have access to clean water 
  • Two years ago, the country had one of the largest number of child soldiers in the world

+ 'Charity Sector needs more transparency', says economist

Although the charity sector appears to have recovered post the Global Financial Crisis, writes Business Desk Economists, Brian Gaynor, 'the Charities Register website, which is supposed to contain information on all 27,396 NZ registered charities, is poorly laid out with data difficult to retrieve and evaluate.' (article behind the paywall).

Another issues, he adds is that the universities are registered as charities, and that distorts the data because they dominate the sector in terms of donations, total assets and expenditure.

These were the only 'charities' to receive donations in excess of $100 million for the latest financial year. But most of this is government grants.

The article goes on to call for more disclosure from charities about sources of funding and spend. But it misses the point that New Zealand's international aid charities who are members of the Council for International Development (CID) sign up to strict requirements to disclose and report on their finances.

The CID Code - like a Master Builder Quality tick - requires all member organisations to produce an annual report with financial statements and to comply with the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand.

The mid-2019 public survey measuring public trust and confidence in the New Zealand charities sector (commissioned by the Department of Internal Affairs, the government agency responsible for the Charities Register), found that respondents ranked the most important charity attributes in the following order:

  1. A charity’s ability to make a positive difference
  2. That the charity was registered
  3. That the charity spends its money wisely and effectively
  4. That most of the donations went to the dedicated end cause(s).


+ CAF World Giving Index 

New Zealand ranked third in the 2019 Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index, behind the United States and Myanmar and ahead of Australia in fourth position and Ireland fifth, writes Brian Gaynor in  Business Desk.

The survey covers 126 countries. 'Giving' is accessed in the following measures: helping a stranger, donating money and volunteering time. New Zealand’s ranking in each of these criteria, writes Brian Gaynor, is as follows:

  • Tenth out of 125 countries in terms of helping a stranger
  • Ninth out of 124 in terms of donating money
  • Sixth of 125 in terms of volunteering time.

+ CID/MFAT Lunchtime Forum with OCHA's Mark Lowcock

MFAT and CID are hosting a lunchtime seminar with Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator.

As head of OCHA, he is one of UN Secretary-General Guterres’ most senior officials - responsible for the United Nation's humanitarian response, which in 2019 provided life-saving assistance to 103 million people.

His trip to New Zealand forms part of a wider week-long Pacific programme which includes visits to Fiji and Australia.

This is USG Lowcock’s first visit to the Pacific.

In the two years since he was appointed Head of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), he has successfully implemented widespread reforms designed to make OCHA more accountable, agile, effective and transparent. 

Date: 26 February 2020
Venue: MFAT (195 Lambton Quay, Wellington)

12.00 - 12.15 pm: Attendees' arrival
12.15 - 12.20 pm: Welcome and introductory remarks by MFAT representative and CID representative
12.20 – 12.35 pm: Mark Lowcock talks on:

• The global humanitarian outlook and OCHA’s strategic priorities
• OCHA’s engagement with civil society
• OCHA’s views on localisation and its challenges.

12.35 – 12.55 pm: Questions from the floor

Please, RSVP here, and make sure to be on time. Places are limited.

+ * Don't forget  - The Localisation Survey *

The new year starts with a call to combine our passion for global development with a solid evidence-based approach and an open attitude to learn from each other and from our own mistakes.

Assessing the current status of NZ INGOs' understanding of localisation is crucial to identify the obstacles, what good practice looks like, and what could be the catalysts for change.

The survey link was sent to all CID members' CEOs. Please, complete the survey by Friday 28th February 2020.

+ Can donors change cultural norms on gender?

The UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, tells us that there cannot be sustainable development without gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. The speed at which countries close gender gaps varies.

However, in many places around the world, gender norms are presented as 'domestic custom' - not to be interfered with.

Gillian Brown investigates the issue in DevPolicy and explains why donors shouldn't be afraid 'to amplify the voices of those that are questioning norms and contributing to removing the constraints among those populations that are ready for change'.

Gender norms, like any other aspect of cultures, are not an untouchable and static block of beliefs. They are shaped by many things and evolve and change over time. 

Brown draws from the findings of the Social Norms, Attitudes, and Practices (SNAP) survey carried out in 2018 for Investing in Women, in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The survey confirmed that the attitudes of urban millennials in these three countries has started to shift, indicating that urban millennials are starting to question old norms on gender.

+ CIDTalk - CIV-Mil Coordination & how to get it right - on Thursday!

CID is hosting a Talk on 'Civil-Military Coordination in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR): Insights from a Decade of Training', by Johanna Brown,

  • Thursday 20 February
  • 12.30 pm
  • Save the Children (117 Lambton Quay, Wellington).

Johanna’s presentation will share her personal experience training with and educating armed forces to respond to HADR activities in a non-hostile environment. Relevant to New Zealand and the Pacific region on the Ring of Fire, Johanna will talk about the “on the ground” partnering that takes place in a training environment to bolster relationships and skills for when the call comes in. 

+ 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.

+ The Rise of Climate Anxiety

It is well known that the damage caused by extreme weather such as storms or flooding can increase the chance of mental health problems such as stress and depression by 50%. The physical impact of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore, however experts are becoming increasingly concerned about another, less obvious consequence of the escalating emergency – the strain it is putting on people’s mental well-being, i.e. 'Climate Anxiety or 'Eco Anxiety', especially in the young.

The Guardian has recently covered the increase in climate anxiety in young people, including practical ways to provide support:

  1. Remember that you do not need to be a climate expert
  2. Try to validate, rather than minimise, children’s emotions
  3. Remember negative information hits harder, so balance is important
  4. Keep explanations for younger children tangible and locally within their own geographic awareness
  5. Set practical environmental sustainability goals as a family and follow-through
  6. Tell them the world if not going to end
We would like to add another tip; (7.) Understand the role of joy in addressing anxiety and building resilience, as outlined in the work of author Sheryl Sandberg ('Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead' and 'Plan B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Find Joy) and psychologist Adam Grant.


+ 'I feel so tied'

Aid is political, we all know that, but the recent report on final 2018 ODA data published by the OECD on 7 February 2020, shows some worrying trends:

  • ODA volumes continue to fall, from US$149 billion in 2017 to US$147 billion in 2018; however, excluding in-donor refugee costs, they show a marginal increase.
  • For the first time since 2010, ODA to non-LDCs (Least Developed Countries) decreased; however, compared to 2010 levels, ODA to non-LDCs is still growing faster than ODA to LDCs.
  • ODA spending to sectors key for strengthening human capital – health, education and social protection – is decreasing as a share of total ODA.
  • The world’s major donors reserved almost $21 billion of their bilateral aid for suppliers from their own countries in 2018 — $4.7 billion more than the year before.

The implications of this last point are unpacked by Vince Chadwick on Devex. In 2018 donors tied 19.4% of bilateral aid, up from 15.4% the year before and 14.3% in 2012. 

The main donors tying aid in 2018 were the U.S. with almost $11 billion tied, or 39.8% of its total bilateral aid; Japan with $4.2 billion, or 22.4%; Germany with $3.1 billion, or 14.9%; and South Korea with $1.3 billion, or 48.2%. 

But it was Japan that accounted for most of the increase in 2018, tying $3.3 billion more than the year before, arguing that citizens were more likely to support high aid budgets if companies in the donor country benefitted.

“If donors are really committed to maximizing the catalytic impact of aid for development in poor countries ... action to untie all aid is urgently needed”, said Jan Van de Poel, policy and advocacy manager at the NGO network Eurodad; and even where donors report aid as untied, Eurodad points out that many contracts still go to companies from the donor country.

Concerns about the sectors involved in tied Aid are raised by Oxfam EU: “We are used to governments tying grants for food aid or student scholarships, but now we are seeing large loans for infrastructure projects...This is more similar to export credits than to development cooperation.”

+ Offer of free photography to members

Giora Dan is an internationally published documentary photographer based in Christchurch. For the last 2 years, Giora has provided an annual offer of two weeks of photography free of charge to CID members. The two weeks are dedicated to creating a body of work that tells a story with strong and evocative images of the development organisation’s work, portraying either a specific project or general exposure for the organisation.
In 2017 the offer was utilised by Save the Children, New Zealand, where Giora photographed and videoed their work in Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2018 the offer was utilised by Fair Trade and the photography covered the production of Fair Trade cacao and coffee in Peru.
CID member organisations wishing to apply for this offer are invited to submit a written proposal for consideration.  The application should state:
1. The nature of the issue/ activity needed to be covered
2. What the organisation wants to achieve with the images
3. Where the activity is located.
Please apply by e-mail to by 20 February 2020.
It is possible to apply for a period of less than two weeks; other organisations will then be able to use the remaining time. If you wish to discuss a possible application please e-mail or call 021 767883.

+ CID Events

+ Other Events Coming Up
+ CID Activities
  • Scoping CID Talks events
  • Code of Conduct Committee meeting (on 11th February)
  • Pre-deployment presentation for NZDF personnel
  • Collation of feedback on Code Review recommendations
  • Feedback on CID Member triennial reassessments
  • Preparations for CID Humanitarian Network meeting (27th February)
  • Localisation survey launched
  • Preparation for CID board meeting
  • Advocacy research started
  • Work on CID safeguarding tools