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Aerial view of empty streets in Cape Town, South Africa during the Covid 19 lockdown.

12 achievements we’re proud of from 2020

22 December 2020
Author: Jonathan Hatch

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this has been one of the toughest years in our history. 

It would have been difficult enough just to negotiate a global pandemic which has caused such devastation across the world and has fundamentally changed the way we work, interact and operate. 

But we have also had to contend with the fallout from a general election, the Department for International Development (DFID) being absorbed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), aid cuts and now the looming threat of the UK abandoning its commitment to 0.7%.

Still, we have persevered through this unprecedented upheaval, and are proud of what we have achieved across a year like no other. 

Here are a few of the things that we are most proud of. 

1. We helped our members respond to Covid-19

We worked hard to make sure our members could navigate the unfolding Covid-19 crisis in the UK and around the world. We established channels between our members and the government, as well as recovery working groups. 

We also collated resources to help with funding, HR and project management concerns. 

To ensure that we had a grasp of what was happening with our members, we conducted regular financial surveys to keep the government, the sector and the public up-to-date with the difficult circumstances NGOs were in. 

And we produced resources, updates and webinars to keep everyone informed with what the pandemic meant for the sector.

2. We united the sector against the FCO-DFID merger

Just before the general election, the idea of merging the FCO and DFID was being floated. In late December 2019, we managed to convene over 100 signees in a letter to the government warning against the merger.

DFID was given a reprieve when the prime minister announced an integrated spending review into foreign policy and diplomacy.

However, seemingly out of nowhere, the government announced in June that the merger would be going ahead


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We again convened the sector to warn against the merger’s impact on aid spending effectiveness and transparency. Although the merger still went ahead, we’re proud the sector came together to fight for the world’s most marginalised. 

3. And we did it again to rally against cuts to aid

The government recently announced it was going to start cutting aid to offset the inevitable fall in GNI due to the pandemic. Once again, we called upon our members to unite against these cuts, which were made with little transparency or foresight for what it could mean for NGOs, their projects and their partners. 

And then just last month the chancellor announced that they would be attempting to temporarily scrap the 0.7% of GNI commitment to official development assistance (ODA) and instead spend 0.5%. Again, we rose to the occasion with our members, with close to 200 CEOs signing a letter of condemnation against these measures.

The fight to save 0.7% will extend into next year, with the Commons facing a vote to keep the commitment enshrined in law. We will be supporting Conservative rebels in the house to try and stop the law being scrapped.

4. We hosted 36 webinars to help INGOs

With our conference being cancelled due to the pandemic, we quickly moved online to present the brightest minds in development through our series of webinars. 

In all, we’ve hosted 36 webinars, covering far reaching topics, including diversity, safeguarding, planning, ethics and, of course, Covid-19. Over 1,940 individuals have joined us for these sessions over the year, which is a fantastic achievement considering we haven't been able to meet in person.

We will continue to bring you fantastic webinars into 2021, with our conference being completely digital in March next year.

5. We honoured the best and brightest in the international development community digitally

The Bond  International Development Awards are normally held at the same time as our conference. The pandemic caused us to rethink how we would honour the amazing people in our sector.

We announced the winners of our awards on 23 March over our social media channels and our website, with The British Asian Trust, Global Initiative, VSO, Teach a Man to Fish, International Medical Corps’ Khadija Farah and MAITS volunteer Dr Shabnam Rangwala all deservedly winning prizes.

6. We helped 732 people improve their skills online

Another area of our work heavily affected by the pandemic, we were forced to cancel all face-to-face training back in March.

However, our team adapted magnificently, and worked with all our course leaders to ensure the disruption didn’t last long. All of our courses were made available online, and 732 people took advantage.

Hosting our courses online has enabled people from around the world, who would not have usually been able to take part in our training, to sharpen their skills. 

7. We advocated for the House of Commons to keep the International Development Committee (IDC)

Definitely one for the win column, following the merger there were questions over whether the IDC would be allowed to continue their important work scrutinising how we spend ODA. 

Publicly and privately, we worked incredibly hard to make the case for keeping the committee. It was announced just two weeks ago that the IDC would continue

8. We faced our toughest year alone, but remained together

Something we have seen across the sector is the phenomenal job that workforces have done to keep disruption to a minimum, despite working from home becoming the new normal. 

Bond was no exception, with our staff adapting brilliantly through a mixture of zoom calls, slack messages and grit. We have found ways to work together despite being apart, and we’re really proud of that.

9. We helped people diversify their funding with #Funding4Dev week

We hosted five webinars between 23 and 27 November covering several areas of funding. Over 500 people took advantage of #Funding4Dev week, with lots more taking in the recordings that were made available afterwards if they were unable to virtually attend. 

10. We urged organisations to show the salary on our jobs pages to help equality

We signed up to the #ShowTheSalary pledge in October, with organisations who advertise vacancies on our job board now required to publish what salary they are offering. 

Not showing the salary increases gender and racial inequality in this country, and with this simple measure we hope to make the sector more diverse and equal in its opportunities. 

11. We kept the sector informed

Our news and editorial content received 212,976 unique views this year, with 119 new articles written for or by us in 2020. We now have 20,000 followers on Twitter, with our engagement on the platform almost doubling from the previous year. 

12. . . . As well as the general public

Bond was covered in 200 articles. Our letters to the government garnered front page stories in the likes of The Guardian and The Telegraph.

We have worked with countless journalists and member organisations to ensure the needs of the sector are being properly covered by the British press. 
 

About the author

Jonathan Hatch
Bond

Jon is the communications adviser at Bond