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!