Category Archives: International Development

Red Cross Blockchain Case Study – enabling transparency of Islamic social financing

Islamic Finance Global (source: IFRC.org)

In the lead up to Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector (July 10,Melbourne), Melbourne Development Circle is talking to companies and organisations about what is going on in the blockchain space here in Melbourne.

Amanda Robinson shared an example from International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

Case study: Red Cross Blockchain

The value of global Islamic Social Finance is projected to grow from $1.9 trillion currently to $3.5 trillion by 2021. There is increasing awareness that through more effective management and distribution, Islamic Social Finance can play a major role in bridging the gap between available funding and growing humanitarian and development needs. For example, Zakat, an obligation for Muslims to give alms, is already one of the largest existing forms of wealth transfer whereby eligible Muslims are required to donate at least 2.5 per cent of their wealth to improve the welfare of those in need of assistance. But collection of zakat and other types of Islamic Social Finance is largely unregulated and disjointed, which presents a strategic opportunity to engage and direct funding to sustainable and impactful social and humanitarian initiatives.

In early 2018, a blockchain application developed by the International Federation of the Red Cross and AidTech won a global finance competition (FinTech Islamic Finance Challenge). The application promotes traceability and transparency of Islamic Social Finance, and offers individuals and organisations the ability to track their contributions in highly complex humanitarian settings.

Read more about it here: http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/press-release/ifrc-blockchain-application-wins-global-islamic-finance-competition/.

 

Stealing from the Poor: Corruption in the NFP Sector

On 6 March, the Ethics Centre kindly co-hosted SDC’s first event for 2017.  

Over two hours, SDC Convenor Jeremy Sandbrook shared his wisdom on the topic of corruption within the international development sector. The presentation included unpacking a real-life case study of a complex fraud scheme that took place in an INGO based in Malawi. This case study not only highlighted the complexity of the topic, but raised a number of associated ethical dilemmas, proving that corruption is not as black or white as we like to think.

The presentation started with an overview of what corruption is. Costing around five percent of the world’s economy (around US$2.6 trillion a year), corruption is now the third largest industry in the world. In development terms, the current estimate is that between 20% and 40% of total Overseas Development Assistance is “stolen” each year through high-level corruption from public budgets in developing countries. For every dollar of aid received by developing countries, $7 (or US$2.6 billion per day) is lost in illicit capital outflows.

Jeremy Sandbrook - Ethics CentreCorruption is now so pervasive that it is increasingly interwoven into a growing number of societies, and is a systematic feature of many economies. It is now acknowledged (by the UN and the World Bank) as the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty and the most pressing global and ethical problem currently facing the development sector. Despite this, it is rarely spoken about by NGOs!

Jeremy then discussed corruption within the NGO sector in Australia, highlighting several eye-opening facts:

  • A governance deficit: 61% of concerns raised with the ACNC relate to governance breaches, fraud, and private benefit.
  • “Out of sight, out of mind”: less than half of NGOs report corruption to the authorities.
  • Corruption is not seen as a key issue for most NGOs: Whilst 90% agree corruption is a problem for the sector, 72% say it is not a problem for their organisation!? Where is the disconnect here?
  • Over half of fraud allegations received by the ACNC relate to the conduct and activities of senior managers, including the CEO, board directors, and financial officers/CFO.

The additional complexities in the international NGO sector were then discussed, particularly the role culture plays. Research undertaken in Malawi found the three top drivers for corruption to be ‘greed’, ‘poor management’ and ‘staff dissatisfaction’. We were then taken through a fascinating real-life case study of an actual fraud in an INGO in Malawi. The key lessons to learn from the case study and corruption generally are:

  1. To recognise that corruption is an issue for every organisation operating in the international development sector; and
  2. To be aware of the role culture plays in initiating and perpetuating it.

The key pieces of advice given by Jeremy for reducing and eliminating corruption was:

  • Know your corruption-risk profile;
  • Know the main forms of corruption within the sector; and
  • Know how corruption is detected.

About the Presenter:  Jeremy Sandbrook (founder of Integritas360), is a global anti-corruption expert who has conducted corruption prevention work throughout the world, and lectures on the topic at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. He was previously head of anti-corruption and integrity for SOS Children’s Villages International, and led the INGO’s efforts to tackle fraud and corruption across its 131 operating countries, 35,000 staff, and $1.7  billion annual budget. Jeremy was also the inaugural co-chair of the INGO Accountability Charter’s Peer Advisory Group on Corruption.

Tumultuous Times: Aid Cuts & Partnership Impacts – Event Summary

Dave Husy (left) and Adam Valvasori (right)

Dave Husy (left) and Adam Valvasori (right) taking questions from the audience. Photo by Dan A’Vard – Opencage Photography

Tumultuous Times: Aid Cuts & Partnership Impacts

Tuesday May 5th, 6-8pm, Donkey Wheel House Melbourne

Event summary by Kelly Rae

Disproportionate cuts to the Australian aid budget announced last December mean that Australian NGO’s are already starting to axe international programs, with a devastating impact on their partner organisations and communities in which poverty alleviation programs have been operating. With further aid cuts expected to be announced this May, NGO’s are in limbo, many starting to alert partner organisations that programs may have to be scaled down or ceased all together. The impact on partnerships, long term programming, and the people that they work with, will be profound.

Continue reading

Communication for Development Event Melbourne

Communication for Development approaches in the Australian NGO sector and academia / Knowledge sharing & networking for an improved practice

Wednesday 3rd June 2015, 2PM-6PM, Melbourne

2015 ACFID University Network Conference – side event

 

This event brings together academic researchers from Australian universities and think tanks with Australian NGO practitioners. The aim is to provide a platform for international development actors involved or interested in communication for development (C4D) work to share experiences, lessons learned and recommendations that can contribute to an improved practice. Connections between practitioners and researchers on C4D-related research projects that strengthen the value of the practice are also facilitated.

An additional aim of this seminar is to offer a space to those who have an interest in this field and are planning to kick-start new C4D activities. It is a forum to brainstorm ideas and to put forward questions related to programme design to an experienced audience.

This event will be a unique opportunity to gather knowledge on the status of C4D work among Australian NGOs and research institutions, and to create a network of organisations where that knowledge is regularly exchanged.

Visit event website here

 

Apply to present

If you would like to present your work at this event, please email your EOI to Dr Valentina Baú at the address v.bau@unsw.edu.au no later than Sunday 17th May 2015. You will be notified of your outcome by Friday 22nd May 2015

RSVP to attend

This event is free for participants, but RSVP is essential
If you would like to attend, please email v.bau@unsw.edu.au by Sunday 17th May 2015

Venue

La Trobe University city campus Teaching Room 2, Level 20, Westpac Building, 360 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3086

Organisers

Dr Valentina Baú
School of the Arts & Media, University of New South Wales, Sydney Email: v.bau@unsw.edu.au

Tait Brimacombe
Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, Melbourne Email: T.Brimacombe@latrobe.edu.au

Download full event details in PDF, or online here

Spain v Australia: comparing international aid budgets

Guest writer: Celeste Ward

Spain’s commitment to increasing it’s foreign aid in the 2000s was incredible. Spain was itself a recipient of international aid until the late 1970s before becoming the worlds sixth largest bilateral aid donor, increasing it’s aid from less than $2 billion to almost $7 billion in only six years.

In crossing this boundary, from aid receiver to giver, Spain entered a period of prosperity. The country secured a status and place in ‘The west,’ strengthened its links with Latin America and established new connections with Sub Saharan Africa. In 2004, 21% of Spain’s gross bilateral aid went to Africa, this rose to 27% in 2008, but Latin America received the majority; with 44% in 2004 and 49% in 2008. Continue reading

Help CARE and receive FREE entry to Boxing Day test

MCG_standsWill you be in Melbourne for Christmas? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the hallowed turf of the MCG on Boxing Day AND support a great cause? Well here’s your chance!

CARE Australia is heading to the Commonwealth Bank Boxing Day Cricket Test at Melbourne’s MCG and we need a helping hand.

Time: Approximately 1.5 hour shift in the afternoon

Place: Melbourne’s MCG

What you’ll be doing: Handing out information about CARE’s work … and having fun!


In exchange, you’ll receive a free one-day ticket to the cricket (Boxing Day, 26 December).

If you’re interested: please send us a quick email with your contact details (mobile and email) to event.volunteers@care.org.au.

CARE_logo_RGBAbout CARE: CARE Australia is an Australian charity and international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on empowering women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.

Launching our new logo!

As we step into 2015, The Development Circle is excited to announce a bold new vision for its future. Building upon the outstanding work of our existing Circles around Australia, The Development Circle is embarking on a concerted effort to establish a greater sense of national unity by creating new opportunities for collaboration between our State groups.

National network and new website Continue reading