There has been much debate in the UK Parliament, as well as the media, about the future of UK aid to Rwanda, a decision on which will be taken by new Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, next month.
As the Secretary of State has stressed, any decision will be taken on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and Rwanda Government.
A number of UK NGOs, such as Christian Aid, are calling for aid previously restricted to Government to be made available to NGOs. In evidence they submitted last week to the House of Commons International Development Select Committee, they sought to “encourage DFID to reallocate their upcoming disbursements to Rwanda to be channelled through (local) NGO’s and civil society.”
The position of Survivors Fund (SURF) is that any decision must be taken on the grounds of what is ultimately best for the people of Rwanda. As Ms Greening stated in her responses to Parliament earlier this week, though Rwanda has made great progress in reducing poverty, there are still an estimated five million people living in extreme poverty. To address the issue requires the combined efforts of both Government and civil society in Rwanda. Also, to deliver the scale of support required by the people of Rwanda in the fields of education and health, is greater than any NGO alone can do. It requires Government.
As such, the decision will be a challenging one for the UK Government. Though, we hope that any decision will be taken to minimise impact to the many people in Rwanda, still in need and deserving of support from the UK Department for International Development.