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Nik Gill

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Can first world countries spend their overseas aid budgets more effectively?

On March 20th 2013, Great Britain's government firmly backed a legislation that would ensure that 0.7% (~£11 Billion) of Gross National Income will be spent on Overseas Aid.

With many skeptics feeling that this money is often wasted or better spent in more important areas, how would you like to see this money spent to change the perception that International Aid isn't effective?

Myself and Maddy Nash would love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Mar 28 2013: Nik, I think the key here is *transparency*. Regardless of how much money is thrown (and I use that word deliberately) at overseas aid, you'll always have skeptics if no one can actually see where the money is going and the actual impact it's having.

    For this average Joe, foreign aid is a fantastic concept and I think as a developed nation we should contribute towards those who are less well off than ourselves but I have absolutely no idea where that money's going and what it's being spent on. Without that level of transparency it's easy for many skeptics to presume a high level of wastage. The solution? A greater level of openness which makes it clear where money is going and what organisations are involved at all levels of the process - then people can actually have an informed opinion about whether or not money is being wasted and if it turns out that there is wastage then those in power are in an informed position to try and action some change.

    As for those who believe that this money would be better spent in 'more important areas', maybe a better job should be done on demonstrating the positive outcomes that come about as a result of foreign aid. One of the many reasons why Comic Relief is so successful is because they show the human element to aid and the monumental impact it has on people's lives. If foreign aid is truly having an impact then this has to be communicated to get these skeptics on board.

    Even if such an approach highlighted a number of flaws in the current system (and I certainly believe it would) then at least we'll be more informed as a result and will be better placed to distribute aid more effectively.
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      Mar 29 2013: Hi Adam,

      Thanks for contributing your thoughts to this conversation! So you feel the key is 'transparency' which is a theme that has come up before from those living in other countries as well, which is good to know.

      It's an interesting thought that we should 'expose' the currently failings of Overseas Aid and perhaps start afresh in a way. Are there any examples, not necessarily charity related, where this has happened in the past and been successful? I'm just trying to think, I am sure there a few and this could potentially be a great concept for a documentary that could placed online for the world to see and react to.

      Thanks Adam!
      Nik

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