THE Government has cancelled the sixth and final round of its match-funding scheme for foreign-aid charities because the remaining budget had been “fully allocated” in the previous round.
UK Aid Match was set up by the Department for International Development (DfID) three years ago to help vulnerable people in the poorest countries, offering up to £120 million in grants to charities up to 2016. There have been two funding rounds, worth up to £20 million each, in the past two years. The final two rounds were to take place this year.
The Government announced on the UK Aid Match webpage last week, however, that, after the “successful completion” of the fifth round earlier this year, there will be no additional funding. The website previously stated that any “uncommitted” funding will be put into future rounds.
Charities have expressed their disappointment at the decision, which has resulted in wasted applications (the deadline for the final round was the end of February) and the chance of doubling millions of pounds of donations.
A spokesperson for Christian Aid, Dominic Brain, said on Tuesday: “We’re naturally disappointed that this round of funding has been closed at such short notice. . . It is a public showcase of the impact of the taxpayer-funded aid budget and really motivates people to respond generously.”
The charity secured £3 million of funding in the second round to improve the health of 27,000 mothers and their newborn babies in marginalised rural communities in Malawi and Kenya. They are also to receive funding from round four to reduce child mortality in Nigeria.
Since UK Aid Match began, the Government has matched donations to individual charity appeals up to the value of £5 million. Successful applicants include the British Red Cross, Save the Children, CARE International, CAFOD, and Send a Cow. Charities have variously used the money to help people affected by poverty, hunger, drought, disease, conflict, and poor housing in 26 developing countries.
The head of programme fund-raising at Send a Cow, Peg Bavin, said that the charity was “of course disappointed” at the decision, as it had “invested time and effort in planning the project”.
UK Match Aid has pointed disappointed applicants to the “second phase” of the programme, yet to be announced.
The Government, through the DfID, is currently match-funding public donations to CAFOD, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, and Trócaire for their Lent appeals. See www.gov.uk/international-development-funding/uk-aid-match for information on how to donate.