Foundation funding key to independent aid research

The Crawford School's Development Policy Centre (Devpolicy), which is receiving $2.5 million over five years from the Ha

Devpolicy Director Professor Stephen Howes said the funding has been key to building this reputation.

"The funding is absolutely critical for us to be a credible, independent voice on aid and development policy in Australia," he said.

With the Harold Mitchell foundation's assistance, the Centre is now a leading source of research and analysis on aid and international development, with a strong focus on Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Pacific.

"Harold Mitchell AC, founder of the foundation] often makes the case that Australia is surrounded by developing, and often fragile, nations and that we should therefore be more attentive to international development challenges. He also argues for greater transparency in and research on aid to the benefit of the entire aid sector," said Stephen.

"These are the perspectives that drive our work, and we have been delighted to find in him and his foundation an enabler of our aspirations."

This generous funding is not restricted to specific projects. In this way, the Harold Mitchell Foundation has enabled the Centre to quickly respond to the most pressing issues of aid in Australia and the Pacific region, and to establish itself as the leading voice on these issues.

In 2013 Devpolicy conducted the first Australian aid stakeholder survey. The survey received responses from 356 aid experts and practitioners on the effectiveness of Australia's aid program and its results provided valuable guidance to the newly elected government on the reform agenda for Australia's aid program.

During the recent changes to the Australian aid program – including budget cuts and the integration of AusAID with DFAT – the newly redesigned Devpolicy Blog provided one of the few sources of ongoing news and analysis. Devpolicy's work in 2013 ranged from research about the impact of the resource boom on service delivery in PNG and the impact of Chinese aid to the Pacific, to advocacy for more parliamentary oversight of aid, and the analysis of Australia's Seasonal Worker Program.

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