DFID’s Bilateral Support to Growth and Livelihoods in Afghanistan

7 Mar 2014

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has published a report today on the Department for International Development’s Bilateral Support to Growth and Livelihoods in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is one of the most difficult places to deliver aid and DFID’s staff work hard under demanding conditions. Although the projects that we reviewed were, on the whole, well delivered, we found mixed results. The more ambitious and multi-faceted projects were less successful than those with more limited scope. Our fieldwork provides evidence that a positive difference is being made to the livelihoods of intended beneficiaries in the areas we surveyed. It is not clear, however, how positive impacts will, in all cases, be sustained in the long term. As a result of these findings, we have given a marking of Amber-Red.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “DFID faces a challenge to ensure that its future growth and livelihoods portfolio is sufficiently coherent and flexible, given an increasingly uncertain future. The on-going international military drawdown is an important opportunity for DFID to focus its future strategy solely on poverty reduction and to reposition itself as the lead operator of the UK’s presence in Afghanistan.”

Lead Commissioner, Mark Foster, said, “Once international military forces have left Afghanistan, by the end of 2014, meeting the humanitarian and development needs of the poor is likely to become even more difficult. It is vital, therefore, that DFID selects the right mix of projects for this context – projects that focus on the needs of intended beneficiaries and that are based on sound evidence.”

ICAI has made three recommendations to support DFID’s future work in Afghanistan:

Recommendation 1: DFID should formally review current and future projects to focus its portfolio more firmly on reducing poverty using evidence-based interventions. This should be completed within six months, using a consultative and evidence-led process.

Recommendation 2: DFID should ensure that intended beneficiaries are, as far as practicable, directly consulted when new projects are being designed, so that their needs are clearly addressed and their ownership is enhanced.

Recommendation 3: DFID should enhance its approach and commitment to independent monitoring in order to assess current and future project performance and to allow it to assess the impact of its programme.

The full report is available here: