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Brand and Deliver

2012 June 26

Last week, pharmacy I was interviewed in relation to a study underway into how ‘aid packages’ could address ‘service and infrastructure delivery blockages’.  My mind’s eye conjured up a traffic jam on the main road outside my flat.  A small motorbike was weaving its way between the stalled vehicles with the urgent task of delivering an aid package to my door.  This time it was a Domino’s pizza I had ordered.  How will the speed and effectiveness of Domino’s delivery compare I wonder with Papa John’s?

Aidland’s revival of branding is integral to the ‘aid delivery’ paradigm and the results agenda that the BPF is challenging. In 1997, Clare Short, DFID’s first Secretary of State issued firm instructions that any logos, flags etc should be removed promptly from every DFID vehicle.  She insisted that the UK government’s contribution to global poverty reduction was an obligation rather than a gift – that it was not us who owned it but the people we were seeking to support.  Now DFID has issued instructions that

Aid from Britain be badged with a Union Flag when it is sent overseas, as a clear symbol that it comes from the United Kingdom. From today, the new UK aid logo will be applied to items like emergency grain packets, schools and water pumps. The new look will help to drive home the message that Britain deserves credit for the results that UK aid deliver.’

Other government agencies are following a similar trend, inspiring two BPF fans to pen the following.  Further contributions most welcome!

So DFID takes a brand new tackBranding with the Union JackSo all can then keep faithful trackOf British ’gifts’, each knick and knack


Generous and pro-poor is our whack

So grateful natives’ll never lack

The means to buy and pay us back


AusAID uses the KangarooTo show that Oz is generous tooAnd if you don’t like itThen bugger you!


So will NGOs take a stand?

And refuse to use the iconic brand,

Or will they take the sullied dollar

Despite the need to really holler.




4 Responses
  1. Patrick Kilby permalink
    July 31, 2012

    Of course the branding thing can go spectacularly wrong. Some years ago a Trade Union NGO had got funding for work with its trade union partners in the Philippines, part of which was the production of a very large poster on Occupational Health and Safety from the local Union, and carefully following donor policy (and after double checking with the donor) put the appropriate branding ‘proudly funded and supported by…’ (I am careful here not to name donor or NGO). Needless to say the Philippines government were not impressed and the donor government at the time were not great friends of trade unions either. So after some bvery red faces, the phrase ‘where appropriate’ was introduced

  2. Tracey Martin permalink
    July 20, 2012

    I suggest that all banks that have been bailed out by the British taxpayer have the Union Jack and ‘a gift from the British taxpayer’ on company cars, offices and any other property they own. That should have some interesting effects – though I’m not sure gratitude will be one of them.

  3. Tina Wallace permalink
    June 27, 2012

    I really enjoyed this Ros, the imagery, the quote from Clare Short and the lyrics others penned. I did not know about the flags…how far has this industry strayed from understanding what enables long term development and change to occur. It is not delivered by us for sure; I wonder when we will start to remember our place and the limited contribution we can make to supporting others to fight injustice, access resources and find ways to gain greater control over their own lives. Some humility would be welcome at this stage!
    We are just finishing the edited book on how aid paradigms are skewing work for the poor, especially women. It is quite disheartening in many ways but also great to see many individuals and agencies do resist and try to keep working differently, in line with learning from experience that shows the critical importance of listening, responding to context, enabling and not dictating standard and simple solutions, and the multiple realities women have to grapple with.

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