Looking Beyond the Lowest-common Denominator? DFID/FCO Merger

Poor families can seldom afford the cost of private
pre-schooling. They rely on free education provided by NGOs like
BRAC to give their children a leg-up in life. Credit: Mahmuddun
Rashed Manik / IPS

By Asif Saleh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jun 25 2020 (IPS)

Nazia has a herd of 5 cows. She has two daughters in secondary
education, a seat on the Village Council, a savings account and a
permanent home. Nazia has dignity, security and prospects beyond
poverty. This is Nazia’s story because alongside her commitment
and conviction to create a better life, she benefited directly from
the UK government, and its global leadership in the drive to end
extreme poverty.

Nazia is no longer Left Behind. And neither are millions of
fellow Bangladeshis, previously struggling to survive, far below
the international poverty line. Over the last two decades, the UK
government, in partnership with BRAC, one of the world’s foremost
NGOs, has directly enabled over 2 million of the very poorest
families on the planet to graduate from poverty. And for the
long-term; 97% of households continue to show dramatically improved
lives and livelihoods 5-7 years after they leave poverty. We are
immensely proud of this innovative, impactful Partnership – which
delivers equally for the UK taxpayer and the poorest families
across Bangladesh.

In fact, this ‘Ultra Poor Graduation’ approach is, this
week, receiving the Audacious
Award
, and over 60 million USD, in recognition of its truly
transformative potential. Without support from the UK government,
with their laser-like focus on impact, appetite for innovation and
determination to Leave No one Behind, there would be no Audacious
Award for this Initiative. In fact, without support from the UK
government, BRAC wouldn’t have the audacious ambition of reaching
out beyond Bangladesh, to millions more of the world’s poorest
people.

Much has been written in recent days on the merger of the
Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign
Office. Undoubtedly, an independent DFID has delivered.
Generation-changing impact on the global issues that matter most.
But the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) can
too. It must. The progress on ending extreme poverty, preventable
child deaths, gender equality and climate change, as well as
DFID’s world-class reputation on these issues, was too hard won
to be side-lined. As an organisation born in the Global South and
one of the UK government’s largest development partners, BRAC has
seen first-hand the ability of UK Aid to make transformative
change.

We choose to believe that the UK government takes incredibly
seriously, and won’t consider reneging on, its commitment to
Agenda 2030. We choose to believe that this merger could result in
greater impact on poverty, combining the best of DFID and FCO
expertise, ideals and standards to reaffirm, rather than reduce,
the UK government’s contribution to the international
community.

In announcing the creation of the new FCDO, the Prime Minister
has continued to commit to 0.7% of GNI being used to drive
development. The need to invest this budget – which, as a result
of global recession, will be significantly less than in recent
years – with a focus on impact, value for money and the most
vulnerable, is more important than ever before. DFID has rigorous
analysis of the ‘best buys’ for development. The new FCDO
should trust the evidence, embrace the expertise and lean into the
legacy of the UK government as a world-leader in saving, and
changing, the lives of the world’s poorest people. Supporting the
governments and communities of the Global South to enable families
to survive, and thrive, should always be a central, and celebrated,
component of the UK’s international leadership.

The COVID-19 crisis represents a moment of reckoning for our
shared global commitment to ‘Leave No one Behind’. It also
represents the perfect opportunity – and responsibility – for
the new FCDO to prove its intent and impact in ‘Building Back
Better’ with a priority on the poorest. The international
community – both government and civil society – will expect,
and require, no less, in line with DFID’s track record, and the
true ideals of ‘Global Britain’.

This story was originally
published
by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The post
Looking Beyond the Lowest-common Denominator? DFID/FCO Merger

appeared first on Inter Press
Service
.

Excerpt:

Asif Saleh is Executive Director of BRAC
Bangladesh

 
The progress on ending extreme poverty, preventable child
deaths, gender equality and climate change was too hard won to be
side-lined

The post
Looking Beyond the Lowest-common Denominator? DFID/FCO Merger

appeared first on Inter Press
Service
.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Looking Beyond the Lowest-common Denominator? DFID/FCO
Merger