Philosophy of Aid


Kids Club Kampala


Kids Club Kampala are a small, community led charity working in slum communities in Kampala. We work to help vulnerable kids in Uganda survive and thrive. Providing for both their immediate needs and strengthening their futures through educating, feeding, protecting, and skilling projects. Our vision is to see children’s lives transformed, communities empowered and poverty reduced throughout Kampala’s slums. We are a small international development charity, in 2020 raising £465,699 which provided 15,000,000 meals to 165,000 vulnerable people, and we touched the lives of 167,312 people through one of our vital services.


We were supported by UK Aid through the Small Charities Challenge Fund with a grant of £49,966 which ran from November 2018 - October 2020 with our Early Education for All Project, which supported 187 direct beneficiaries of young children aged between 3-6, and 1,640 indirect beneficiaries of their parents and community leaders and members. We applied for the Small Charities Challenge Fund in 2020, but were unsuccessful, due to UK Aid closing this project in March 2021.


Fundamentals of Aid


Is international aid effective at reducing poverty?

Yes. International aid is effective at reducing poverty in many circumstances, but it requires targeted solutions. The impact and effectiveness of aid are dependent on the methods employed by donors to allocate aid and the recipient country’s characteristics such as governance, commitment, ownership of projects and institutional capacity (Riddell, 2008). Small NGO’s are extremely effective at poverty reduction. Often small NGO’s ensure participatory approaches, building local capacity and local ownership.

As a small NGO working with communities at a grassroots level our interventions are very targeted and very responsive to the needs of the communities we work in. The development techniques employed are not top-down, but directly shaped by the communities served. Small NGOs are well situated to shifting the power in development aid, amplifying the voices of local people and valuing local knowledge, contexts and resources most effectively to ensure poverty reduction. As with many small NGOs, we are focused on long term development which impacts the wider community. Our education projects offer opportunities for early learning literacy development, and work with parents to deliver skills and business training, breaking the cycle of poverty and allowing families and communities to achieve greater economic attainment.



Who decides what success looks like and how do we measure it?

Success to Kids Club Kampala is when we are no longer needed, and indeed we believe that this should be the success measure for all aid organisations working in communities. When there is no longer a need for food banks in slum communities, where children have an equal access to high quality education, and when communities have the resources they need to thrive, we will know that our work is complete. This requires long term development projects and practices in partnership with local governments, which are evaluated consistently against benchmarks such as child literacy rates, household incomes and a reduction in safeguarding cases.

There is a need to consider the role of metrics in measuring success. Though there are times that numbers and targets can be informative (e.g. 184,475 people reached with emergency provision during the COVID-19 pandemic, or 867 children participated in our education or play activities during 2020), there is a risk that these metrics become the only form by which we measure success. Good, sustainable development funding has the power to be transformative to individuals and communities in a way that is rarely captured in simple numbers. That is particularly the case with smaller projects and NGOs. Perhaps to truly capture the benefit of such projects there is a need to review the success of development projects with small budgets in a formal capacity, speaking to workers and beneficiaries throughout the world through a more holistic lens to properly gauge a) success and b) what we can learn from those projects that deliver.

Success is not easily achieved with short term investment, but long term commitments to improving lives in a tangible way, with input from the communities that are being served.

Is it helpful to distinguish between humanitarian aid and long-term development spending?

Humanitarian aid is designed to save lives and alleviate suffering during and in the immediate aftermath of emergencies, whereas development aid responds to ongoing structural issues, particularly systemic poverty, that may hinder economic, institutional and social development in any given society, and assists in building capacity to ensure resilient communities and sustainable livelihoods. However, we must also consider the nexus of linking relief, rehabilitation and development aid. In order to do that pots of funding also need to be considered for humanitarian, rehabilitation and development aid.

Kids Club Kampala has been able to work across both humanitarian and development interventions in our work in Kampala - our food banks are very much emergency interventions while skilling projects are focusing on building the capabilities of the communities we work with. We are fortunate to be flexible and agile to respond quickly to the needs of the communities we work with and can work across these sectors.



Donor countries

Should the UK have an aid budget? Why is this?


"Investing less than one percent of our national income in aid is creating a safer, wealthier and more secure world", Official Development Assistance, UK Government, 2015.

Reducing the aid budget will harm the world's poorest, hinder climate action and damage the UK’s reputation as a responsible world leader.

The UK has a responsibility as a wealthy nation to help alleviate world poverty. We have seen first-hand what poverty in a pandemic can cause. In our communities, we prevented thousands of the world’s poorest children from dying due to the effect that lockdown was having on families’ incomes. That is thousands of deaths prevented due to a simple and cost effective solution of providing food parcels at this critical time of need. The pandemic has highlighted how there is no safety net for the world’s poorest when they need it. We have a responsibility to commit to long term solutions which create lasting change for the poorest communities. Not only is this incredibly impactful for the world economy, it is also the right thing to do.

This involves not just committing to aid spending to foreign policy interests, but long term investments in poverty alleviation.

We are already witnessing the impact that COVID-19 is having on poorer countries with limited access to the vaccine. Economies are stagnating, poverty is increasing and many millions of children have missed out on nearly two years of education. Investment is needed to ensure a sustainable recovery and a brighter future for millions harmfully impacted by extreme poverty. The UK’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals have never been more necessary.

The UK has a commitment to the commonwealth: We recognise that sustainable development can help to eradicate poverty by pursuing inclusive growth whilst preserving and conserving natural ecosystems and promoting social equity...We are committed to removing wide disparities and unequal living standards as guided by internationally agreed development goals. We are also committed to building economic resilience and promoting social equity, and we reiterate the value in technical assistance, capacity building and practical cooperation in promoting development. - (Commonwealth Charter, 2013)


How is the UK Government held accountable to the UK taxpayer and the countries and communities where the programmes it funds are delivered?

The UK Government has a responsibility to both parliament, UK taxpayers and the communities where funds are delivered. Conditional aid is irresponsible if it is only partially funded, and the UK Government should be legally accountable to deliver on its promises concerning aid. Funds already committed to projects should not be withdrawn at the whim of political agendas. This is a profound waste of time and resources of all involved, but particularly of the UK Government and the recipients of this aid. The cumulative impact of these cuts are staggering, with GPEI funding cuts jeopardising the vaccinations of 380 million children against polio alone.

Had we received the funding applied for from the Small Charities Challenge Fund we would have kept at least 1000 children from 10 slum communities in Kampala safe and made these communities safe places for children to live. Since COVID-19, we have experienced a 437% rise in the number of safeguarding issues reported to our team in the first two quarters of 2021, and our staff are struggling to cope with the increased issues directly related to poverty including increasing instances of abuse and abandonment. As a small charity, we are agile and responsive to crises, working on the ground with communities to deliver the maximum impact to them in alleviating poverty. Small charity projects are able to test projects, identify where money is best spent, allowing us to learn and scale projects when proven to be effective. We are transparent in funds down to the pound, and make resources work hard to maximise efficiency and meet the needs of the most people possible.

DfID ranked ninth in the world on the global transparency index, whereas the FCO (now the FCDO) ranks 38th. Sixty one percent of the British population are at least marginally engaged in development funding[1]. The UK taxpayer and the countries where aid is spent must be able to access information regarding spending if we are to ensure aid directly benefits the most marginalised communities and delivers value for money.

There is an opportunity to re-conceptualise aid, and we applaud the UK Government for launching this enquiry to assess the current landscape and explore avenues to make UK Governments spending on aid more effective at alleviating poverty. As a small international development charity, and a member of the Small International Development Charities Network, we are calling for a shift in development aid towards greater recognition of the value of small NGO’s. Small NGO’s are small but mighty. We are efficient, effective and agile. We can play a key part in shifting the philosophy of aid towards local led development and working from the bottom upwards to create sustainable, lasting change and break the cycle of poverty.

Kids Club Kampala

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