A policy of branding U.S. aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan is risking the security of aid workers working in the Islamic nation, according to a group of relief organizations.
>> In Pakistan, Striking a Balance Between Visibility and Aid Workers’ Security
Eleven aid agencies including Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision and CARE International warn that using a “stars and stripes” logo on U.S.-funded assistance compromises their neutrality in a nation mired in anti-U.S. sentiments.
“[T]here are strong indicators that branding will attract violent attacks for both economic and ideologically motivated reasons,” the aid agencies wrote in a letter to U.S. officials in Washington.
The draft letter was seen by The Daily Telegraph.
“Branding in flood-affected areas must not be used as a test-case because the outcomes are likely to be fatal and impact on the longer-term ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance in Pakistan,” the letter reads.
The terms of receiving grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development require organizations to display a red, white and blue logo bearing the legend “USAID: FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”
A U.S. directive has waived this requirement in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkwa, where insurgency is most active. But aid workers working in other areas at risk of insecurity slammed the directive.
“One response would be to say that we will only use the logos in parts of the country that are safe enough for American embassy staff to travel without a bulletproof car but that would leave only Islamabad,” an aid worker was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.
The aid agencies, in their letter, recommend an alternative strategy, which aims to use media packs to raise awareness on U.S. contribution to Pakistani relief efforts without identifying specific locations or projects.