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Criteria for Irish Aid allocations

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the criteria for which funding is allocated by Irish Aid to non-governmental organisations; the measures in place to ensure these procedures are followed through once funding has been allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 12th October, 2011.

Ref No: 28922/11 Proof: 51

REPLY

(Minister of State Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, T.D.)

The Government’s aid programme, which is managed by Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is sharply focused on the fight against global poverty and hunger. It is recognised internationally for its effectiveness, and for its concentration on some of the poorest countries and communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Irish Aid channels a higher proportion of overall assistance through development Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) than other international donors, reflecting the strong support of the Irish people for the work of NGOs and missionaries. This funding is provided to support the long term development work of NGOs, in accordance with the objectives of the Government’s aid programme, the work of NGOs on emergency and humanitarian assistance, and development education programmes.

All Irish Aid funding of NGOs requires Ministerial approval. Funding proposals submitted by NGOs are rigorously appraised by Irish Aid staff and, as appropriate, by external experts, against criteria which include quality of intended impact, sustainability, cost effectiveness in the use of resources and strength of management systems and oversight within partner organisations. In advance of approval of funding applications, it is a fundamental condition that annual audited accounts are provided by partners. In the interests of transparency, NGOs which receive significant levels of funding from Irish Aid are required to publish their audited accounts on their websites.

Funding by Irish Aid is strongly focused on the achievement of development results. Specific objectives and results are identified, against which all programmes are assessed and evaluated. All development aid funding is disbursed in line with these specific objectives. Procedures to ensure funding is used for intended purposes include regular field monitoring visits to programme partners, annual narrative and financial reporting against agreed objectives and budgets, end of programme evaluations and ongoing reviews of compliance.

In addition, the Evaluation and Audit Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade periodically evaluates and audits partners in receipt of significant funding. Recent audits have included the NGOs, Concern, Goal and Trócaire. These arrangements aim to ensure that Ireland’s development funding to NGOs reaches those most in need and is subject to rigorous oversight.

Irish Aid and our NGO partners are working in some of the most difficult environments in the world. I am satisfied that the assessment, monitoring, evaluation and audit systems which Irish Aid has put in place provide the best assurance that development aid funding is meeting its intended objectives.