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‘One of the least effective ways of spending aid’

Responding to Prime Minister Cameron’s comments Ashley Jackson, Research Fellow in the ODI’s Humanitarian Policy Group said:

"We know that aid spending on stabilisation efforts is proven to be one of the least effective ways of spending aid. If we are looking for value for money and impact then we should focus on programming that has a proven track record of effectiveness.

A recent Independent Commission for Aid Impact evaluation of the conflict pool, a joint fund of cross departmental programming, found some positive outcomes but it was highly critical of the funds strategic effectiveness, ability to monitor results and value for money.

We need to be very careful to avoid blurred objectives. The military exist for our national security, aid workers work to alleviate poverty. Just because one may benefit from the other doesn’t mean that we should be getting them to share their jobs – let professionals stick to what they are best at.

The army and DFID are both very good at what they do but they need to be seen to be independent. We should be proud of the fact that DFID is recognised as a world leader in reducing poverty and suffering, including providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflict.

We know from research into the Taliban that they justify attacks aid workers precisely because they were seen to be working with the army. Providing aid to those who desperately need it is no longer seen as neutral. This is something we need to avoid, not encourage."