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CGD in the News

July 13, 2018

Doubtful donors, Afghan balancing act and football felines: The Cheat Sheet (IRIN News)

Every Friday, IRIN’s team of specialist editors offers a round-up of humanitarian trends and developments from around the globe. 


A bit more red, white, and blue for UNHCR

Don’t offer the US a demur ‘thank you.’ The US government expects more credit for its funding to the UN Refugee Agency. UN-watchdog blog PassBlue reported that a May agreement between the US State Department and UNHCR includes more demanding conditions for “visibility” — donor thank yous on websites, publications, and supplies. By the end of the year, the deal says, 75 percent of UNHCR’s public information tools will “more clearly and prominently acknowledge US contributions”. By the end of 2019, the figure should be 100 percent. Other donors have similar demands, often intended to shore up domestic support for aid spending. But a recent paper from think-tank Center for Global Development argues that donor logos on aid projects can have “corrosive” effects, undermining the authority of local government. For more on the pros and cons of aid branding, take a look at this piece from National Public Radio

Read the full article here.

June 25, 2018

Logos On Aid Supplies: Helpful, Demeaning...or Dangerous? (NPR)

It seems like a pretty simple thing. When a humanitarian group hands out bags of food or sets up toilets for people who are poor or recovering from a crisis, the group puts its logo on the product.

It's a way of taking credit, which makes donors happy. It's a way of letting the recipients know where to complain if there's a problem. And if you're sitting at home and catch the logo on a TV report, you might be inspired to contribute to that particular charity.

But now, some people are questioning the branding of aid goods.

The first concern: How do the logos make aid recipients feel?


Logos have become such a powerful tool that there have been incidents of ISIS stealing U.N. food aid, slapping their own logo on the boxes and redistributing it back to people.

Governments — especially those recovering from a humanitarian crisis — are anxious to get credit, too, says W. Gyude Moore, the former Liberian minister of public works. Except there's one problem: They don't often control the purse strings.

Read the full article here.