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Photo: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

2017: A year of achievement

20 December 2017
Author: Mike Wright

2017 has been an incredible year for the development and humanitarian sectors, both globally and here in the UK. 

Despite the challenges of global political shifts and humanitarian crisis, a snap election, the implications of Brexit on the sector, and changes in the funding landscape, Bond and its members have achieved much that we should be proud of. 

2017 has once again shown that when different organisations from across the UK unite and work together we can achieve incredible things. 

Here are our top five highlights of Bond’s work this year. 

1. Defending aid 

Brought together by Bond, colleagues from a core group of NGOs rallied together during the snap general election period to mobilise their supporters and advocate for aid and development. This was a great success, with all major parliamentary parties committing to keeping the 0.7% Official Development Assistance (ODA) target

ODI and Bond hosted a debate between the main parliamentary parties to explore their vision and priorities for international development and the UK’s role in the world.

Bond also convened work across the sector with the previous secretary of state Priti Patel and DFID officials to ensure the rules on aid continued to work for the world’s poorest in light of the government’s pledge to reform OECD-DAC rules

Bond has also been working with our members to push for other government departments that spend ODA to adhere to the same high levels of effectiveness, transparency and accountability as DFID. 

2. The Bond Conference 

The Bond Conference continues to become bigger and better every year, and 2017 was no exception. 

Delegates came from across the world, including Taiwan, Canada, South Africa and Japan, and through social media we extended this reach even further with #bondconf trending in the UK. We also live-streamed the plenaries for those who couldn't attend in person. It was fantastic to see so much interaction and engagement. 

Our media partnership with Devex and the journalists who attended the conference helped provide the sector with great media coverage in the likes of The Telegraph, The Times of India, Daily Mail and Reuters.

Bond also hosted its 3rd Bond International Development Awards. Awards went to many sector heroes including Seema Ghani for her work empowering and creating jobs for women in Afghanistan, and Bassam Hawas Quru from International Medical Corps for his brave humanitarian work in previously IS-controlled territories in Iraq. 

A special thank you to all our sponsors and exhibitors, without whom the event would not have been possible. Special thanks to the primary sponsors Al Khair Foundation, Diversity Travel, INTL FCStone Ltd and Key Travel. Bring on the Bond Conference 2018!

3. The charity operating environment 

During the snap election, Bond worked with colleagues across the sector to ensure organisations did not fall foul of the Lobbying Act. Bond also coordinated a letter, signed by 125 organisations, to the undersecretary of state for sport and civil society Tracey Crouch calling for this burdensome piece of legislation to be reformed.

Bond has been proactively working with our members to apply public and private pressure highlighting the inadequacies of the legislation and we will be continuing to push for reform in 2018. 

4. Bond working groups 

Bond proudly supports its 40 working groups, made up of nearly 3,000 individuals, which come together around key policy and practice areas. These working groups vary in size and make-up and do incredible work focusing on issues such as disability, gender, conflict, fundraising, and the SDGs. 

Some of the many highlights this year include the Disability and development group’s briefing exploring how stigma affects people with disabilities. The group also organised an impressive event on 3 December, hosted by Microsoft and attended by the new secretary of state for international development, Penny Mordaunt. The Disability Working Group is looking forward to working with DFID on the Disability Summit next year.  

Bond’s Humanitarian and Conflict policy groups also produced a briefing for UK parliamentarians, State of the world's emergencies 2017.  

Bond continues to ensure our members’ voices are present in official reviews. For example, the WASH Network group participated in the ICAI DFID WASH sector review (early 2017) and gathered responses from members to feed into their report assessing DFID’s results in water, sanitation and hygiene

5. Training and supporting an effective sector 

Bond continued to provide excellent training for the sector: an incredible 630 colleagues from 267 different organisations attended 49 Bond courses. Our most popular courses of the year were: DFID proposal writing and grant management, Managing the project cycle, Planning and practice in monitoring, evaluation and learning, as well as our new online Theory of change workshop

After three years of advocating for greater transparency from both DFID and CSOs about the true costs associated with development programming, October marked a huge leap forward with DFID finally announcing its new approach to cost transparency. The new guidance and templates went live for private sector suppliers on 1 September and Bond shared the documents for CSOs to view on the same day. 

Bond also provided the sector with support around DFID’s Aid Connect funding stream by facilitating dialogue between organisations to help them find potential bid partners. Bond also hosted an Aid Connect Q&A with DFID to give members the chance to ask questions about the process. 

There is still much we must do to ensure our sector continues to deliver for those facing conflict, climate change, gender inequality, stigma and poverty. Needless to say, Bond will continue to support and champion the incredible work our members do in 2018 and beyond.

About the author

Bond

Mike Wright is director of membership and communications at Bond.