Independent Commission for Aid Impact publishes reports on DFID’s work in Western Odisha, Sudan and Nepal

21 Feb 2013

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has published a set of reports today covering three of the Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) programmes:

Together, the three reports provide perspective on a range of UK aid programmes in Africa and Asia in differing environments.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “These reports demonstrate the importance of good planning, beneficiary involvement and responsiveness to changing situations in delivering aid programmes. DFID’s livelihoods work in India shows how a project can improve the lives of beneficiaries significantly when it works with them to achieve clear objectives and takes real account of political analysis and lesson-learning. Difficulties in adapting plans in changing situations such as in Sudan and in Nepal may hinder the programmes there from meeting their full potential or undermine the impact already delivered.”

DFID’s Livelihoods Work in Western Odisha

DFID’s completed £33 million, ten-year project sought to reduce poverty by building infrastructure and supporting community-based business. It was backed by strong local community involvement and political commitment. Beneficiaries now have increased incomes and more secure livelihoods, with communities better able to respond to extreme climate conditions such as drought or heavy rains.

DFID developed a strong project based on lesson learning and detailed political analysis. There were sustainable impacts in areas where the project delivered a comprehensive package of support. Results have been mixed, however, in areas where a less intensive approach was implemented. ICAI found that this project could have been improved by a better planned exit strategy, which would, in turn, have offered greater post-project support to the Government of Odisha.

The overall rating for the project is Green. ICAI has assessed the project as successful and considers many aspects of it to be best practice which should be used to inform future programming for livelihoods and climate resilience projects. These include transparency; long-term planning; and budgeting at all levels.

DFID’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programming in Sudan

DFID’s response to the Darfur conflict in Sudan since 2003 has been one of its largest ever humanitarian operations. In the absence of a clear political settlement, the humanitarian support has continued, even though many displaced people have now settled permanently in new locations.  ICAI evaluated the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) component of the DFID response.

DFID has been the largest contributor to a United Nations-led Common Humanitarian Fund (UN-CHF), with £36 million in WASH support. ICAI found that this was appropriate in the context of a large-scale emergency response.  While impact data is scarce, the early interventions helped to save lives by contributing to a reduction in the incidence of water-borne disease. As the conflict has become protracted, however, the annual emergency support has led to dependency and is not providing sustainable solutions.

DFID attempted to invest more sustainably in water security through the £6.7 million Darfur Urban Water Supply project which was delivered by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). ICAI assessed this to be a poorly designed project which did not sufficiently take account of institutional and economic realities. The project has, therefore, delivered little or no impact for the intended beneficiaries.

Success was achieved through the direct partnership with Tearfund, a non-governmental organisation. DFID’s £2.8 million funding has contributed to a community-based approach, which offers a real prospect of strong and sustainable impact.

The overall rating for the programmes is Amber-Red. Overall, ICAI finds that DFID needs to rethink its approach to chronic, long-term disaster in Sudan. ICAI has recommended that DFID produces a strategy for transition away from emergency programming in Darfur to sustainable investments in infrastructure and services.

DFID’s Peace and Security Programme in Nepal

Nepal’s decade-long civil war ended in 2006. ICAI has assessed five DFID-funded peace and security projects, costing £53 million, which are intended to support Nepal’s transition to peace and which include rehabilitation of former child soldiers, support to elections, access to justice and police reform.

The assessment found that DFID’s initial planning was good, took account of the context and was sensitive to issues relating to the past conflict. The exception was DFID’s proposed Police Reform project, which has now been cancelled. DFID used strong delivery partners and projects have been implemented well. This has resulted in a significant positive impact in supporting the peace process.

DFID has not, however, responded adequately to the changing political situation, including the current political deadlock. Urgent action is required to reflect this change to avoid jeopardising future success.

The overall rating for the programme is Green-Amber. ICAI has recommended that a new strategy be developed and that DFID be more responsive in its project management to build on the work already delivered.

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Sam Harrison on 020 7270 6742 or  email

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is the independent body responsible for scrutinising UK aid. We focus on maximising the effectiveness of the UK aid budget for intended beneficiaries and on delivering value for money for UK taxpayers. For further details on ICAI, the workplan and for links to each report please visit

ICAI’s Chief Commissioner is Graham Ward CBE. The three other Commissioners are: Mark Foster, John Githongo and Diana Good.

These reports were prepared by ICAI with the assistance of KPMG LLP, Agulhas Applied Knowledge, Center of Evaluation for Global Action (CEGA) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU International).

ICAI reports are written to be accessible to a general readership and we use a simple ‘traffic light’ system to report our judgement on each programme or topic we review, as follows:

I.          Green: The programme performs well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Some improvements are needed.

II.         Green-Amber: The programme performs relatively well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Improvements should be made.

III.        Amber-Red: The programme performs relatively poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Significant improvements should be made.

IV.        Red: The programme performs poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Immediate and major changes need to be made.


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