The following is a guest post by UK fair trade organization Traidcraft.
Does ‘aid for trade’ work?
Aid for trade involves assistance given to developing countries in order to build their trading capacity on different levels. Recently, the fourth global review of aid for trade took place in Geneva, July 8th. The aim of the review was to examine opportunities for donors to help developing countries and access what has been achieved so far. The Joint OECD-WTO publication Aid for Trade at a Glance: Connecting to Value Chains was published to coincide with the convention in Geneva and indicates that Aid-for-Trade is making an impact, with women in particular.
However, some non-government organisations (NGOs) in the UK have questioned the accuracy of the report. Traidcraft, a UK-based fairtrade organisation established in 1979, and Cafod, the relief agency of the Catholic church of England and Wales, commissioned their own study to examine the effectiveness of the evaluation of the initiative and their conclusions were not quite so glowing. Aid for Trade: Reviewing EC and DFID Monitoring and Evaluation Practices,the NGO’s review, pointed out that there’s very little information available in the public sphere that reveals whether a-f-t schemes are impacting positively on property and the programmes are frequently only assessed during their lifetime. This makes it difficult to see whether impact is lasting. In addition, the way projects are assessed means causal linkages between project delivery and impact on poverty are often based on assumptions, unless the poor are direct beneficiaries of the project.
Overall, the NGOs called for more rigorous assessment of these type of initiatives and a greater degree of accountability for donors to achieve clearer goals. They suggested this impact be assessed regularly to ascertain impact past, existing and future, with regards to both poverty and trade infrastructure. They also suggested projects be levelled more at benefitting the poor directly.
The following is a guest post by UK fair trade organization Traidcraft. Traidcraft’s mission is to fight poverty through trade, practicing and promoting approaches to trade that help poor people in developing countries transform their lives.