The introduction of a new form of overseas aid has been put on ice, as the Overseas Aid & Development Commission faces losing £800,000 from its annual budget due to the financial impact of the pandemic.
In April 2020, the OA&DC returned £1m of its £3.1m budget to Treasury to hep local initiatives, following the suspension of its small grants programme and the halted introduction of a larger, longer-term investment programme.
The commission was able to continue funding its previously-agreed projects, while emergency aid continued to be sent to aid work that focussed on the prevention of Covid-19 and the hardship it has caused in underprivileged countries around the world.
This included supporting a water and sanitation project in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh; a feeding programme in the South African townships through Guernsey-based charity Goal 50 and the funding of food and medical supplies for a slum in Kenya through Guernsey-based charity School Farms Africa.
Pictured: A Guernsey charity helped to turn a South African brewery into a soup kitchen, feeding tens of thousands of people every day during the pandemic.
Emergency aid will continue next year if the States approves the OA&DC's reduced £2.3m budget, which President Deputy Chris Blin said the commission had to accept in the current circumstances.
"For 2021, the commission has accepted that with the future uncertainties created by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, its proposed budget would also be reduced to a similar level as its revised 2020 Budget. If approved, this would still allow the commission to launch a small grants programme for 2021 and provide emergency relief awards next year, but not launch its first ever large grants programme.
“These are difficult times for the world as a whole and particularly so for least developed countries that often do not have the infrastructure to help cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I am therefore delighted that, with States Members support, the commission should still be able to provide emergency aid relief and small grants for single year sustainable projects in 2021, as it has always done, and I am sure that some of these will be focussed on the prevention and alleviation of Covid-19.
"It is of course unfortunate that we will not be able to launch our first multi-year large grants programme as planned but until there is more financial certainty in regard to the Covid-19 pandemic it would be wrong to make any longer term commitments at this stage.
"However, the commission will be looking for its budget to be at least fully restored in future years if at all possible.”
Pictured: The Kibera slum supported by the Overseas Aid & Development Commission.
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