US Expands Aid Branding Policy in Pakistan

The United States has begun requiring aid agencies working in some of the most dangerous districts along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan to distinctly brand and advertise the assistance they receive and distribute on behalf of the U.S. government.

The move does not appear to sit well with the affected aid organizations, according to The Associated Press. The main concern of the groups is that their workers will come under attack if they openly declare their connection to the United States, the news agency says.

Aid agencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, central Punjab and in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border, where militant activity is high, used to be exempted from the U.S.’s branding policy, which requires all aid agencies receiving U.S. assistance to use a red, blue and white logo with the words “USAID: From the American People.”

But the policy was recently changed and U.S. officials in Pakistan have been pushing aid agencies in those areas to comply. Aid groups can still get waivers to the policy, but U.S. officials have become stricter and less willing in granting such exemptions, AP notes.

Aid organizations have already criticized this branding requirement, particularly in the aftermath of the flood in Pakistan in 2010. Some experts have also criticized the argument that overt branding of U.S. aid to Pakistan could help win hearts of Pakistani nationals.

>> In Pakistan, Striking a Balance Between Visibility and Aid Workers’ Security

>> In Pakistan, Aid Agencies Want to Do Away with US Aid Branding

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, meanwhile, defended the need for such a requirement, arguing that U.S. aid recipients need to know where the assistance is coming from and U.S. taxpayers need to know where U.S. aid is being spent.

>> Rajiv Shah Defends USAID Branding Policy

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.