The Baring Foundation

17 March 2021

The philosophy and culture of aid

Response to the call for evidence from the Baring Foundation


  1. This is a response to the call for evidence on the philosophy and culture of aid issued by the International Development Committee (the Committee) for and on behalf of the Baring Foundation, a company limited by guarantee registered in England (number 950696) and registered as a charity in England and Wales (number 258583) (referred to here as “we”, “us” and “the Foundation”).


  1. We are an independent foundation which protects and advances human rights and promotes inclusion. We believe in the role of a strong, independent civil society nationally and internationally. We use our resources to enable civil society to work with people experiencing discrimination and disadvantage and to act strategically to tackle the root causes of injustice and inequality


  1. Our International Development programme aims to support civil society organisations to address discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. It focuses particularly on lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women and trans communities


  1. LGBTI communities continue to face significant human rights abuses, including criminalisation, in many countries around the world.[1]  The global pandemic and subsequent response efforts have exacerbated LGBTI exclusion while also generating new vulnerabilities specific to LGBTI populations and their rights.[2] 


  1. However, for all the challenges faced by LGBTI people worldwide, communities continue to advance their rights, wellbeing and economic security.  It is important that aid and development assistance do not lag behind these progressive gains or fail to empower the dynamic civil society that sits behind them.


  1. Our experience supporting LGBTI communities through our programme highlights the following questions that we would encourage the Committee to include and consider in detail during its Inquiry:

Why do LGBTI communities miss out on aid?

  1. Global LGBTI funding from donor governments made up less than 4 cents out of every $100 of international development efforts and assistance or .04% in 2017-18.[3]  The UK currently spends just 0.08% of Official Development Assistance on LGBTI issues worldwide.[4]   


  1. We recommend that the Committee considers if and how the philosophy and culture of aid contributes to LGBTI communities missing out on development assistance.

How can aid reach local LGBTI civil society most effectively?

  1. Our experience is that local civil society is key to effective and long term positive change for LGBTI communities.  However, most will never receive any aid from donor governments either directly or indirectly.  This is a particular challenge for LBQ women, where less than a quarter of local LBQ civil society groups have received some form of government funding.[5]


  1. We recommend that the Committee considers if and how the philosophy and culture of aid can change to focus on and increase funding to local LGBTI civil society.

How can governments partner more?

  1. Only 37% of LGBTI funding came from donor government or multilateral agencies in 2017-18, with the majority of funding coming from private foundations and NGO intermediaries.[6]  Expertise, intelligence and network sharing are important for all these different funders, particularly in a field where an understanding of the lived realities of communities, civil society organising and regional infrastructure are crucial to effective support.


  1. We recommend that the Committee considers if and how the philosophy and culture of aid encourages and builds effective partnerships with civil society of all kinds. 

In 2020, the Foundation – in collaboration with the UK Alliance for Global Equality – published Leading the way: the role of global Britain in safeguarding the rights of the global LGBTI+ communityThis report sets out the need and rationale for the UK government to fund new commitments to help safeguard and protect LGBTI people around the worldWe would welcome the opportunity to share its findings and our experience with the Committee as part of this Inquiry.  The Foundation can be contacted at

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