HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 cc615-6W
Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will increase the number of local NGOs with which his Department works in Zimbabwe. [135341]

Hilary Benn

DFID is already funding the activities of several local NGOs either directly or through the partnerships local NGOs have with international NGOs in Zimbabwe. The international NGOs that have such partnerships include Oxfam, SCF, CRS, Care, CAFOD, Christian Aid, JSI and others.

An example of a local NGO DFID is funding is the farm community trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ). This is assisting displaced former commercial farm workers with both agricultural recovery inputs such as seeds and fertilizers (with some technical assistance) and food aid. In addition we are providing funding to Fosenet, which is an umbrella organisation of local NGOs, with support for four of its members.

The capacity of the local NGOs is often limited and this is being addressed either directly or through the international NGOs that are providing support and facilitation.

Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures are being taken to ensure that(a) aid distributors in Zimbabwe and (b) those responsible for registration are appropriately trained to ensure they (i) understand and (ii) comply with the apolitical nature of aid programmes. [135344]

Hilary Benn

The memorandum of understanding recently signed between the World Food Programme (WFP) and government of Zimbabwe sets out clear processes for registration of beneficiaries and distribution of food aid. WFP conducts rigorous training of its implementing partners on these aid delivery protocols which stress the apolitical nature of food aid. WFP has also disseminated these guidelines to local government officials to remind them remind of their obligations to ensure food aid is distributed on the basis of need rather than political affiliation.

DFID and other donors are providing additional support to WFP to strengthen their capacity to monitor food aid including registration and distribution processes. Particular focus is on the monitoring of political incidents. WFP and NGOs have a zero tolerance policy with regard to politicisation of food aid. Although there have been a few local incidents of political interference these have been dealt with swiftly at a local level through prompt action by NGOs and WFP.

In addition, DFID holds regular meetings with its NGO partners (many of whom are also WFP implementing partners), to discuss and improve food aid mechanisms. Many DFID partners are also individually negotiating memoranda of understanding at district level to ensure all stakeholders are aware of apolitical registration and distribution processes.

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