Aid/Watch formed in 1992 with a handful of activists concerned that Australia’s overseas aid program was making life harder for the very people it was supposed to assist. For over 20 years we have focused on demanding transparency and accountability for our foreign aid and trade. Today, we still work to confront aid programs that have more to do with exposing developing countries to corporate interests than addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality.
We are proud to run strong, successful campaigns generating positive policy reform and increased transparency, that hold programs that harm to account.
The militarisation of aid in Afghanistan
AID/WATCH exposed Australia’s extensive use of aid money to fund inappropriate military infrastructure, and produced research and testified at a Senate enquiry which resulted in an admission that 80% of aid spending should not have been labelled as aid.
Cambodia railways project
AID/WATCH exposed an aid program that had led to the displacement of thousands of people with inadequate compensation, housing and livelihood options. We published an in-depth report detailing this resulting in the Australian Government creating an Income Restoration Project, and an acknowledgement by the Asia Development Bank of the failures of the project and further compensation for those affected.
Commercialisation of aid
AID/WATCH’s long-standing Boomerang Aid campaign drew attention to the significant amount of aid that is spent going into the pockets of Australian companies, consultants and advisers instead of people who need it which resulted in a halving of the proportion of aid spent on technical assistance and removal of the requirement that aid contracts be awarded to Australian companies.
Advocacy is charitable
AID/WATCH fought a 4-year court battle for the right for Australian charities to engage in political advocacy for the public good, eventually winning at the High Court. This historic win paved the way for advocacy work to be considered charitable for all NGO’s in Australia.