DFID programs in Pakistan: ‘Dynamic and innovative’

A UK aid logo is seen on a truck used to transport humanitarian supplies for flood victims in Pakistan back in 2010. The Department for International Development's Pakistan program is dynamic and innovative, according to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact. Photo by: Vicki Francis / DfID / CC BY-NC-ND

How effective are the U.K. Department for International Development’s aid programs in Pakistan? The Independent Commission for Aid Impact has rated this, and the value the United Kingdom gained from the 250 million pounds ($402 million) it poured into the country in 2011.

In a report released Wednesday (Oct. 17), ICAI gave the U.K. aid agency’s health, education and humanitarian assistance programs a Green-Amber rating, which means improvements are needed but performance is relatively well overall.

“Overall, we found that the DFID Pakistan programme is dynamic and innovative, with a good range of impressive initiatives. Delivering aid there also involves considerable challenges, so we believe that the planned programme scale-up needs to be approached carefully,” ICAI Chief Commissioner Graham Ward said in a press release.

Education projects have shown promising results, although ICAI says it is still too early to determine whether “the results are sustainable and scalable.” The report cites the Punjab Education Roadmap as an innovative monitoring tool which has proved to be a very good platform for policy dialogue. This sector has been and will continue to get the biggest portion of U.K. aid through 2015.

Although ICAI says DfID’s humanitarian work in Pakistan delivered “good results for the modest scale of investment,” the commission remains concerned about the Asian country’s ability to deal with future disasters.

DfID’s health programs, however, have had a limited impact and are now being restructured.

With 446 million pounds in the pipeline, Pakistan will be the largest recipient of U.K. bilateral aid by 2014. Ensuring such aid will be managed well and deliver value for money are seen as big challenges for DfID, given the country’s stability issues and weakness in financial management.

For sustainable progress and in preparation for program upgrades, ICAI suggests DFID to:

  • Manage the risks associated with handling more funds in a volatile environment.

  • Support the private sector’s effective and affordable delivery of health and education services.

  • Promote resilience at the household and community level, making it a core element of DFID Pakistan programs.

  • Ensure transparency and accountability in all budgetary processes.

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    Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news for the Development Newswire. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.