Reforming Aid

 

Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are the largest per capita recipients of international aid, but they have no control and very little influence over how those resources are used on their behalf. Moreover, while billions of dollars are being spent on Palestinian “development,” many people agree that little development is taking place, and even less that is sustainable. 

 

Dalia Association’s advocacy for Palestinian rights to self-determination in development evolved over time with the 2008 publication of “Does International Aid Violate Palestinian Rights? and a 2009 position paper called, Donors and Aid Actors: Don’t Forget Your Duty to Do No Harm in Gaza. In 2010, Dalia Association researched international agreements, conventions, declarations and other international commitments, which are summarized in a brochure, Palestinians Have a Right to Development and Rights in Relation to International Aid.”
 
Dalia Association is also a proud endorser of the Make Aid Transparent Campaign.
 

 

In 2009-2010, Dalia Association made a commitment to expand its formal research about aid dependence to bring attention to the situation of grassroots CSOs. Grassroots CSOs are usually comprised of the same poor, rural and marginalized members of the community to whom development initiatives are aimed. Therefore, they are often most credible and most effective at leading community change. Although they can play a leading role in development, grassroots voices are often absent in policy discourse.

More than 15 focus group workshops were conducted involving hundreds of activists from small, community-based grassroots civil society organizations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip (plus one workshop in Nazareth). Participants prioritized their main objections to the international aid system and proposed ten recommendations for improving the effectiveness of aid. Although the military occupation is clearly the main obstacle to Palestinian development, participants agreed that the international aid system is having deleterious effects, and since aid is still needed, the system must be reformed.
 
In the run-up to the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea, in which Dalia Association is participating, Dalia Association is initiating an advocacy campaign to:
 
  • Empower Palestinians to express their views about international aid and their specific demands for improved donor practices.
  • Build relationships with donors that enable constructive pressure to improve their grant-making and aid programs and their interactions with grantees and potential grantees.
  • Encourage donors to take more responsibility for the consequences -- intended or unintended -- of their policies and procedures on Palestinian civil society and the population-at-large.
  • Improve donors’ and intermediaries’ transparency and accountability, especially by innovating accountability mechanisms that build on and contribute to international best practices.
  • Put Palestine on the international agenda concerning aid effectiveness and development effectiveness and bring international perspectives into local discussions.
Anyone interested in joining the campaign to reform aid to Palestine can contact Dalia Association at saeedam (at) Dalia (dot) ps.