Well done USAID! Allowances goooooone.

This seemingly small announcement in a minor Ugandan newspaper, might herald one of the most significant changes in the future of foreign aid in Uganda,

“The US government will also never support facilitation, participation, or sitting fees for any event,” – US Ambassador Deborah Malac. WOW WOW WOW. This is fantastic for so many reasons, but here are three.

1) There will be less meetings in general as not having a huge cash bonus assoiciated will remove the incentive to hold so many of them. I’ve mentioned this before in a ranty blog about NGO trainings/meetings.

2) More relevant people will be at meetings. There’s no reason why random government officials need to be a major distraction at every health, education and agriculture meeting.

3) Maybe this will spark a local mindset change. Perhaps meetings will become more about the thing they are supposed to be about, not the allowance you get and whether the important politician attended.

Call me optimistic, but this could be huge. I hope that this other foreign aid agencies (DFID, GIZ etc.) and large NGOs follow this lead and ditch the allowances!

OneDAy nurses full team fu.JPG

OneDay nurses discuss how to deliver quality care deep in the village – A meaningful meeting!

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2 Responses to Well done USAID! Allowances goooooone.

  1. Peter Hill says:

    Thanks for this good news Nick. I hope your optimism is realised but I am dubious. The faclitation payments increase numbers and this makes the events look good on paper for funders who are a long way from Uganda. Their credibility to folk higher up the food chain is based on their report including numbers and so on. Not so long ago DFID had diffuculty in spending their money allocated for aid and so employed, at eye watering expense, consutants who devised shemes that spent money quickly but were probably useless. A world wide culture change is requred. Perhaps this announcement is the start. Lets hope so.

  2. Any news on how that is going on the field? I have seen projects where allowance were officially forbidden still happening but just under another name and another budget line. There is a huge gap between official policies and what is really happening unfortunately. Otherwise I couldn’t agree more with you, these allowances are a plague.

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