Sir, - Your Back Page Interview (
30 December) with Jon Ashworth, who has set up Yala, a tsunami charity,
stated that De Beers had been unable to contact Save the Children, and had thus
donated £70,000 to Yala instead.
Save the Children did have conversations with De Beers early last year. We
also had a constructive conversation with the head of public affairs at De
Beers, when we invited them in to our offices.
We declined the offer of funds because we are one of the lead development
organisations in the Publish What You Pay coalition, which calls on governments
and oil, gas, and mining companies to publish information about revenue
streams. Publication of revenues paid is an effective way of combating
corruption and releasing more money for health and education spending that can
transform children's lives.
Save the Children has valued relationships with many companies. There are
limited circumstances in which we choose not to accept funds. Indeed, most of
our effort goes towards attracting funds for our work. In this instance, as we
were pressing for laws to require companies to publish information on revenue,
we decided it would be better, for a time, in order to avoid conflict of
interests, not to enter into a funding relationship with a company. We judged
that successful advocacy on this issue would have a greater long-term impact on
the lives of children than direct spending of the company donation.
Director of Policy and Communications
Save the Children, 1 St John's Lane
London EC1M 4AR