DFID announces new assistance plan

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 3:

The Department for International Development (DFID) today outlined its new assistance policy towards Nepal which will be in force until the year 2008. The quadrannial policy, which was announed by its representative to Nepal, David Woods, focuses on poor women, Dalits and ethnic minorities as the target areas. The new policy focuses on training the target groups on their participation in designing programmes for their own welfare and also its delivery, with tangible support in line when it comes to attend the need of the concerned target community as a matter of priority.

The new policy also includes evolving and sticking to simple delivery mechanism involving local organisations and users groups, with equal emphasis on greater transparency and accountability. Woods reiterated the view that the programme was focussed on key areas with a view to address the immediate underlying causes of the armed conflict and is expected to bring about social justice.

"The programme has been designed in the light of the very uncertain scenario unfolding in Nepal. There would be quick adjustments if the need arises owing to unexpected circumstances," Woods said. While the budget for the fiscal year 2004-2005 has been put at 35 million sterling pounds, the budget for the year 2005-2006 and for the rest of the period until fiscal year 2007-2008 has not yet been determined. The DFID had spent 30 million sterling pounds during the last fiscal year, with 65 per cent going to projects concerning rural poor in mid and far west and 30 per cent going to projects related to economic reforms.

Moreover, while the 45 per cent of the amount spent passed through government agencies, 25 per cent had gone to nongovernmental oganisations (NGOs), 8 per cent to social service organisations and 15 per cent through UN system and 7 per cent through other avenues of development outlets. Woods also expressed the view that spending capacity of the development agencies was improving following the implementation of economic reforms agenda.