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  • Report
  • 27 April 2020

DI's Progress report 2019

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In 2019 it was our priority to achieve progress on the quality, availability and use of data and evidence on poverty and resources, to enable better targeting of key resources to improve the poorest and most vulnerable people’s lives.

We focused on improving the quality of data on the poorest people to support government and civil society on the ground to deliver on the promise to leave no one behind. We interrogated the quality of financing being delivered through blended finance mechanisms and whether these investments are targeted at poverty.

We also explored with donors how their portfolios and ways of working can achieve progress in relation to the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus to improve the way financing responds to need. Internally, we began a programme of transformation around our culture and the ways we work to increase communications across teams and locations, as well as prioritise the wellbeing of our staff.

This report unpacks this work and much more to showcase the progress we made in 2019 towards achieving our mission and vision.

Our mission

Our mission

Development Initiatives (DI) provides key actors with rigorous information to support better decisions, influence policy outcomes, increase accountability and strengthen the use of data to eradicate poverty.

Our vision

Our vision

A world without poverty, that invests in human security, and where everyone shares the benefits of opportunity and growth.

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A message from our Executive Director and Board

In our penultimate year of DI’s five-year strategy, a year of action, our priority has been to deepen our work with partners to increase our impact and make much-needed progress at a challenging time of incredible external uncertainty.

We find ourselves in a world where progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been slow and commitment to multilateralism is waning. The impacts of the climate crisis are being increasingly felt across the globe and 2019 sits in the warmest decade on record.

In November, we directly witnessed extreme unseasonal rainfall in East Africa, causing loss of life and livelihoods. Those most affected were those most vulnerable − people living in slums, in non-permanent structures where lives were destroyed overnight, and those living in rural areas whose crops were devastated.

We are not making fast enough progress on addressing vulnerability in far too many places. Too many people still do not have access to nutritious food, social protection and essential services. Too many still lack the chance of a decent education that is vital for a good livelihood and a bright future.

Through our work we are seeing clearly that the decisive action needed by political leaders to sustainably end extreme poverty and build the resilience of people who are so desperately in need seems to be diminishing or in some cases wholly absent.

DI’s strategy is to shine a light on these issues and support decision-makers to be more accountable to their people, and accelerate their actions so that progress can be made at the subnational, national and global levels. Our unique focus is on the existence and use of good quality, disaggregated and real-time data that is key for understanding whose need is the greatest, what works, why many are still not progressing out of poverty and what change is needed. Information and evidence are critical for underpinning efforts to change the current systems and structures that perpetuate poverty, and ensure financial resources are being targeted effectively according to need.

Crucially, we believe our success rests on our openness and collaborative spirit; being a trusted friend to those with whom we can deliver shared aims. In 2019 we were proud to join a new multi-stakeholder partnership led by Sightsavers and, in this first year, we helped open up new possibilities to support economic inclusion of people with disabilities in four countries by uniquely identifying and analysing disability data. We entered a partnership with national civil society organisation (CSO) Maison de la Société Civile in Benin and provided analysis and support for the government to help them focus on the needs of their poorest citizens. In Nepal we worked with The Asia Foundation, successfully supporting 30 organisations to increase the availability, access and use of open data for development. And we continued to partner with the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office for Project Services on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) hosting consortium where, as the technical lead, DI strengthened IATI’s technical infrastructure and helped facilitate an increase in both publishing and use of IATI data.

Beyond these formal partnerships, we collaborated with many others in 2019 including the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Save the Children, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Development Assistance Committee, Oxfam America and CSO platforms in the UK, Sweden, Canada and Germany. These collaborations enabled us to host events and roundtable discussions including senior level meetings at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss our research on how effectively subnational financing from donors and governments targets poverty, and improving the financing response to crisis.

This report unpacks our work throughout 2019 in greater detail to show the progress we are so proud to have achieved this year. I hope you will enjoy learning more about DI, our work, and our impact.

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The year at a glance

23 February

DI supports Nepal’s first Women in Data Conference

Nepal’s inaugural Women in Data conference took place in February with support from DI. The one-day conference brought together an inspiring cast of female speakers, influential panellists, data professionals and aspiring young women to discuss how best to further advance female inclusion in this growing specialism.

1 May

DI convenes first webinar on the triple nexus

In May, we brought together around 80 policymakers, practitioners and researchers in the first of a series of webinars focused on the triple nexus. This webinar provided actors working in fragile and crisis contexts with information on development financing processes, structures and trends.

4 June

Kenyan Government adopts pro-poor budget recommendations

In June the Kenyan Government amended its budget estimates to include greater spending on a number of pro-poor programmes. The changes came following a joint submission from DI and our non-state budget analysis partners advocating for greater allocations to social protection programmes.

30 September

New humanitarian analysis helps donors to meet key commitments

At the end of 2019 we informed the decision-making of major donors through the 16th edition of our flagship Global Humanitarian Assistance report. Unique data collection and analysis in the report helped to drive action on key commitments including the Grand Bargain.

14 October

DI advocates for new approach to civil registration in Africa

The Fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration in Zambia was convened in October, and this was a key opportunity for DI to advocate for a new approach to civil registration and vital statistics in Africa.


Global Nutrition Report’s new Country Nutrition Profiles launched

In October DI transformed the Global Nutrition Report’s (GNR) online Country Nutrition Profiles, which were launched at the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Global Gathering. They provide information on the state of nutrition globally, regionally, and in every country. A range of new data, improved disaggregation and new interactive features were added to help users explore the data with ease.


DI hosts high-level meetings in Benin on leave no one behind

With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the government of Benin and the Maison de la Société Civile we convened government ministers, CSOs and academics for two days of discussion around data to leave no one behind.


DI helps WaterAid understand WASH financing in Nigeria

At the end of 2019 WaterAid published a report powered by DI research which outlined how Nigeria could deliver President Muhammadu Buhari’s national action plan to revitalise the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

5 December

DI launches new website

Our new website, launched at the end of 2019, brings our work to life, shining a light on the impact we are making through our key projects. We transformed our publications into digital formats to make them more accessible, and developed new pages for our in-country work in Kenya, Nepal and Uganda to demonstrate the impact we are having in our focus countries.

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Stories of success

Mapping the data for children landscape

In 2019, DI delivered data strategies for some of UNICEF’s country and regional offices to implement the Data for Children Strategic Framework.

In 2019, DI continued the work we had begun the previous year, when we entered into a long-term agreement with UNICEF to translate their Data for Children Strategic Framework into action at the regional and country level, supporting UNICEF offices to develop more specific and actionable plans for their own data for children investments over a three to five-year period from 2018.

DI has developed new tailored strategic action plans for UNICEF country offices in Nigeria and Bangladesh and the West and Central Africa Regional Office, after previous success in developing similar plans for Zimbabwe, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These plans aim to operationalise the global Data for Children Strategic Framework at a country level. DI has undertaken comprehensive data mapping and diagnostics work in each country, setting out the recommendations for how UNICEF should invest in national data infrastructures and governance frameworks in order to improve the production and use of data for better outcomes for children. A number of key recommendations from the reports are in the process of being implemented.

We also built on work with UNICEF’s Gulf Area Office (GAO) which commenced in 2018 to strengthen the collection, analysis and use of child-related data in the UAE, in order to improve results for women and children. The diagnostic report surveyed the data landscape in the UAE and set out key issues, challenges and opportunities for its evolving federal statistics institutions. The strategic action plan recommended ways to enhance data governance and improve collaboration and openness in order to help facilitate the global reporting of the UAE’s data on children.

The UAE UNICEF office is now taking the recommendations forward. As a direct result of this work, in 2020 DI has been asked by UNICEF’s GAO to work with the UAE’s Ministry of Education to advise on the redevelopment of their Education Management Information System. Additionally, DI is providing technical advice on the interoperability of child protection data across a number of ministries and emirate-level authorities.

Improving the financing response to crisis

In 2019, DI contributed new and unique evidence on the state of global humanitarian assistance, facilitating improved policy and practice on the triple nexus and multi-year funding.

Responding to long-term crises calls for greater coherence between humanitarian, development and peace agendas and scaling up multi-year funding. In order to better support evidence-informed policymaking in these areas, DI’s humanitarian work in 2019 included detailed analysis of both.

DI took action to support joint working at the triple nexus, starting with a webinar series with expert panellists that were attended by over 200 actors working in the development and humanitarian sector. These conversations were an opportunity to explore common challenges and approaches, and also fed into and guided our work on the nexus.

At the end of the year, we presented two donors – the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – with full-length reports that explored in detail, using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, the approaches they had taken to working at the nexus and how these could be developed. Our recommendations were well received by both DFID and Sida, and based on our recommendations DFID has committed to new measures to mainstream resilience across the institution.

We also supported enhanced multi-year humanitarian funding by providing global and in-country analysis on the topic. Working closely with the co-convenors of the Grand Bargain workstream on quality funding, we undertook country studies in Jordan and Lebanon in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council to illuminate the barriers that are holding back progress, the successes that demonstrate what is possible, and share our recommendations.

As DI is neither a donor nor implementing partner, our independence and objectivity allowed us to provide a unique and trusted voice for those working to advance efforts in this area. On the strength of our analysis, the Grand Bargain’s quality funding workstream undertook a consultation process to arrive at a commonly shared definition of multiyear humanitarian funding – one of our key recommendations – and major international implementers are now carrying out internal reviews on how to more effectively share quality funding with their downstream partners.

"The report is very timely, and will increase our common understanding and strengthen our work in this area." Jessica Eliasson, Humanitarian Policy Specialist at Sida, on Donors at the triple nexus: lessons from Sweden

Empowering people with nutrition data

In 2019, DI helped empower global and regional actors with information and evidence on the state of nutrition across the world.

In its second year hosting the GNR– the world’s leading independent assessment on the state of global nutrition – DI transformed and significantly increased use of its online Country Nutrition Profiles. These provide an overview of data-led information on the state of nutrition globally, regionally, and in every country in the world.

We introduced a range of updated data including prevalence of low birth weight, the existence of relevant national policies such as restrictions on marketing unhealthy foods to children, and new levels of disaggregation to allow people to see differences in malnutrition depending on factors such as age and gender. We also brought in new interactive features to help users explore the data with ease, and improved accessibility to ensure a wider range of audiences can benefit from this information.

In 2019, the Country Nutrition Profiles were visited by 24,000 people, an eightfold increase from the year before, demonstrating considerable increases in use. They are being utilised by a range of stakeholders working to tackle malnutrition such as the Pacific Island Food Revolution who have been using the Country Nutrition Profiles to engage policymakers on malnutrition in the Oceania region.

"The Global Nutrition Report’s Country Nutrition Profiles are just awesome – a great resource for public health nutrition." Penghwinde Saana, Public Health and Community Development Consultant, Ghana

Bringing the evidence to life: Investments to End Poverty

In 2019, DI generated an evidence base on global financing flows and highlighted where they are failing to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people and places.

Our work to improve investments to end poverty provides data-driven evidence, policy research and new ideas to inform and improve the use of development finance to deliver the SDGs. Following the publication of the third Investments to End Poverty report in 2018, 2019 saw us building on the wealth of evidence we published with high-level discussions, direct engagement and more specific analysis on the countries, approaches and tools of greatest interest to the stakeholders we work with.

By engaging directly with key donors through a series of roundtables this year, we advanced the debate on aid allocation and had the opportunity to share country-specific analysis with decision-makers to support better targeting of their ODA.

We led discussions around the use of blended finance, both by planning collaborative events – such as the joint side-event we facilitated at an OECD conference in January 2020 – and by contributing to transparency and impact working groups, and peer reviewing key blended finance papers. All of this work was underpinned by specialist knowledge of blending and recommendations that we set out in our paper on the impact of blending on poverty, published in October, which was well-received by readers, including at the Center for Global Development, Oxfam America and The European Centre for Development Policy Management.

We also worked to improve the evidence base on subnational financing to human capital, a vital area for policy dialogue that is neglected in current analyses. Working with ODI, we co-wrote two reports providing essential information on how subnational finance is, and is not, targeted to crucial sectors like health and education. Our analysis was taken up by key stakeholders like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, and our recommendations informed the debate on what needs to change to improve the targeting of finance at subnational level.

"I really like this paper, and I think it does a great job of laying out the theory of change behind blending, the gaps and contradictions in that, and what the reality looks like in comparison to the theory." Marc Cohen, Oxfam America, on How blended finance reaches the poorest people

Supporting disability inclusion through data

In 2019, DI opened up new possibilities to support economic inclusion by identifying and analysing disability data in four countries – Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

High-quality disability data can help communities, policymakers and local officials better understand and prioritise interventions that are vital for supporting people with disabilities and ensuring they are not left behind. That’s why in 2019 DI teamed up with Sightsavers and other partners on the Inclusive Futures initiative, funded by UK Aid. DI’s role as part of this consortium is to improve the quality and use of disability data in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, with the ultimate goal of improving the long-term economic empowerment and inclusion of people with disabilities.

In 2019 we made good headway towards understanding the availability and quality of disability data. We conducted an initial mapping of the disability data that exists and assessed its quality. We identified 18 official sources of disability data across the four target countries.

Our findings, from the data used, suggest that of Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, Uganda produces the most consistent estimates of disability prevalence and its data is largely of high quality. However, we identified significant challenges in the official data sources in the other three countries, which would benefit from a consistent approach to how disability is measured.

Using the high-quality data that we found, we have been able to produce valuable analysis that sheds light on the employment of people with disabilities compared to other groups of the population. Combined with new OECD markers for ODA with a disability-relevant component, this analysis helps us understand how well aid is supporting people with disabilities, and is the first step towards improving their inclusion.

"We urgently need better data on disability, especially in low-income countries. Projects like this are vital to improve our understanding of the existing data and the gaps in that area." Heiner Salomon, Research Officer at ODI

Widening access to water, sanitation and hygiene

In 2019, DI supported progress towards the achievement of SDG 6 in three countries by providing the necessary analysis to advocate for greater allocation of resources to WASH services.

Adequate financing to WASH is crucial to meeting SDG6, which calls for universal access to WASH services by 2030. In 2019, DI was commissioned by WaterAid to provide research and analysis on WASH financing in three countries with high need – Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan – to allow WaterAid to advocate for greater support to this sector.

We produced three detailed case studies on Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan which identified current progress and challenges in the sector; examined trends in public and private financing versus requirements to meet SDG6; and assessed the opportunities to scale up funding and outlined ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending in these countries. We also developed an intervention-based needs assessment model to estimate the cost requirements of the provision of universal WASH access within the target countries.

This work enabled WaterAid to make key recommendations on priorities and improvements in the WASH sector and wider enabling environment – such as robust legal and regulatory frameworks, or reliable electricity supply – in the target countries.

Our findings have supported WaterAid’s advocacy − both at the international level at forums like UNGA, and country level, where they have been used to influence state actors and prioritise future spending. Our methodology is also being reapplied to answer new questions around WaterAid’s work to support SDG6, including the finance required to meet the goal at the global, regional and country level.

"DI produced high-quality research which effectively addressed the key issues, and enabled us to undertake effective engagement on this issue at the UN High Level Political Forum and European Union European Development Days." John Garrett, Senior Policy Analyst – Development Finance, WaterAid

Building poverty responsive budgets – focus on Kenya

In 2019, DI worked in collaboration with stakeholders in Kenya to analyse public investment and improve targeting of resources to help the poorest people.

Working as part of a budget analytics group including the International Budget Partnership, Oxfam Kenya, Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) and the Institute of Public Finance Kenya, among others, DI provided recommendations on the budget estimates for improved allocations to social protection programmes. The joint submission was supported by our non-state budget analysis partners and ultimately adopted by Kenya’s Parliamentary Budget and Appropriation Committee, leading to increased allocation to some of the programmes DI had recommended.

Beyond our annual analysis of Kenya’s national budget, we also analysed subnational budgeting to disaster risk reduction and climate change in four counties, and budgeting to support the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Our analysis of spending to reduce disaster risk and climate change led to the development of an action plan by CSOs from the four counties to work with county governments towards improved investments, which has informed engagement between these groups. The work was also met with enthusiasm in other counties where it was presented, and led to requests for increased coverage in the future.

DI, in partnership with the East African Tax and Governance Network and Tax Justice Network Africa, facilitated training on poverty responsive tax analysis to nine CSOs, of which four were then able to conduct a joint analysis on Finance Bill 2019 focusing on their sectors of interest. We then presented their recommendations and our own as part of a joint submission to the National Assembly of Kenya, which committed to acting on it.

Our work has also been used for advocacy by partners. We provided summary poverty responsive analysis of the national budget to TI-Kenya. This enabled the latter to conduct training to communities in Migori, Kisumu and Homabay counties on how to contextualise the county budgets to address the needs of the poor. This partnership led to increased budget awareness and budget literacy, empowering communities to advocate on their own behalf.

"DI’s budget analysis is very relevant and there is a need to continue providing such information to support informed engagement on budget advocacy." Titus Ogalo, Western Kenya Regional Coordinator, Transparency International Kenya

Leaving no one behind in Benin

In 2019, through our partnership with national CSO the Maison de la Société Civile, DI provided analysis and support to the government of Benin in their efforts to focus on the needs of their poorest citizens.

Poverty and inequality are increasingly seen as a critical issue to be addressed globally. The gap between the incomes of the poorest 20% of the population, the P20, and everyone else is widening – both globally and in most countries.

DI is working with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the government of Benin to better understand the poorest 20% of people through data so that policies and resources are better targeted to ensure those who are at risk of being left behind are included in progress. This year we deepened our collaboration with governmental and CSO actors in Benin, and through this, we gained a better understanding of their specific needs and provided them with the tailored analysis they needed to better target the poorest people.

We galvanised support for the leave no one behind agenda and achieved a better understanding of how data needs vary between actors by convening two days of meetings in Cotonou at the end of the year with support from SDC and the government of Benin, as well as the Maison de la Société Civile, a Beninese organisation dedicated to strengthening and supporting CSOs in the country.

The meetings brought together more than 100 stakeholders representing donor agencies, local and national government officials (including three ministers), academic institutions and local and national CSOs. The dialogue, which was covered by national media, highlighted, for the first time, shared challenges and practical possibilities for reducing inequality. DI shared new analysis on the needs of the poorest, highlighted data gaps that need to be filled, and ultimately helped to shape the approach to ensure that no one is left behind in Benin.

"If we can collect data on the P20, the last quintile, we can know in terms of nutrition, are they being included. In terms of birth registration, are we counting them and putting quality projects in place? In this way, we can address questions of poverty." Magloire Aguessy, Director General in Charge of SDGs Coordination and Monitoring, Ministry of Planning and Development

Building resilience in Somalia

In 2019, DI gathered evidence on the policies, approaches and actions that minimised the impact of crises on people in Somalia.

We need to understand resilience before we measure it. Based on this conviction, between 2018 and 2019, DI investigated how livelihood and coping strategies are changing in the face of protracted crisis in Somalia.

With support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), we assessed factors contributing to the resilience of households and communities in crisis. We also assessed how local communities’ resilience and livelihood strategies relate to the practices of humanitarian agencies.

A series of interviews and group discussions was held with 256 Somalis drawn from groups that are likely to be left behind, including the young, the elderly, people with disabilities and those internally displaced.

The research highlighted key areas that made people and aid agencies better prepared for the 2016 crisis compared to the situation in 2011. These included a more coordinated and localised approach to humanitarian aid, and scaling up and better use of cash transfers and remittances.

Following on from these findings, we examined how cash transfer systems in Somalia are administered and, in particular, how the registration of recipients could be harmonised across different providers. In the second study, we interviewed 24 humanitarian organisations operating in Somalia, using their perspectives to design a roadmap for short, medium and long-term steps towards a harmonised data system.

These insights will inform key actors in Somalia including DFID Somalia, the Ministry of Planning, the Somali Cash Consortium and aid agencies. We expect the findings to prompt dialogue on the emerging coping mechanisms and approaches to further strengthen and sustain resilience. To this effect, we intend to use the upcoming regional disaster risk reduction and resilience working group for Central and East Africa, which DI will co-chair, as a platform to help members understand resilience better and to take forward actionable recommendations.

"I found the report interesting, and my suggestion would be that it be shared widely among key stakeholders." Alessandro Bini, Director of the Somali Cash Consortium

Opening up data use in Uganda

In 2019, DI worked with the Government of Uganda to make sure the national statistical system uses the full range of available data.

Officials from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) confirmed that as of early 2019, only about 5% of published data they have from official sources such as censuses and surveys is actually used. It’s crucial that national statistics in Uganda meet the needs of users, and represent the full range of data available.

DI has been advocating for a change in Uganda’s national statistical system to include unofficial data sources, such as citizen-generated data, for several years. In 2019, UBOS – a longtime collaborator with DI – identified us as a key stakeholder supporting statistics production and development in Uganda, and appointed us to their Technical Working Group on data.

Through this group, which was established by the office of the prime minister as one of five supporting the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we helped to develop the upcoming third National Strategy for Statistics – which will govern how the national statistical system uses data in the future. As a trusted partner of UBOS, we are also contributing to the preparation of Uganda’s 2020 Voluntary National Report.

For the first time, the third national statistical strategy will recognise the role of unofficial data sources as part of the national statistics mix, representing a step change in Uganda’s approach to data that will open up new possibilities for evidence-informed policymaking. What is more, UBOS now plans to develop on this strategy by reviewing and modernising the legal framework around statistics in the country to make it fit for the future.

"Your organisation… [is] a key stakeholder supporting statistics production and development in Uganda." Dr Chris Mukiza, Executive Director, Uganda Bureau of Official Statistics

Advancing transparency in humanitarian spending

In 2019, DI helped drive significant increases in the number of Grand Bargain signatory organisations – including donors, UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – that are publishing open data on their humanitarian financing.

At the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 a number of donor governments, multilaterals, UN agencies and NGOs agreed the Grand Bargain, which included a series of commitments to make progress towards greater transparency. DI supports the Grand Bargain transparency workstream and co-convenors, and focuses on three main areas: data publication, data use, and monitoring and learning.

Through our efforts, more than 80% of Grand Bargain signatories are now publishing open data via the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), compared to 62% in 2017, and almost a quarter (23%) are now providing granular data, which none of them had done in 2017. Signatories are now making strides towards fulfilling their Grand Bargain commitments, particularly in terms of data publication. Further, improved publication of data allowed us to make the case for improving the quality and use of humanitarian data. Our recommendation to make this shift in focus was supported by the co-convenors of the workstream, meaning data quality and use will be a key part of how the Grand Bargain is implemented going forward.

Finally, to facilitate this work we also began a consultative process to prototype new ways to view and access IATI humanitarian data. We developed a new portal for the data, that makes it easy to access and use, and which will be fully launched later in 2020. This is also already incentivising publication of more and better data by signatories.

"The Portal is great and I’m sure it will drive both data use and quality up, thank you for all your work on this." Anna Petruccelli, Senior Data and Transparency Specialist at ActionAid UK

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Our people


We recognise the talents of employees equally – that’s why we’ve been a Living Wage Employer in the UK since 2013, and apply the same principles to salaries across the world.

While we are not legally required to do so, we also monitor our gender pay gap, and in 2019 the UK mean and median gaps stood at −9.47% and −22.61% respectively – meaning that on average we pay a higher hourly rate to women than men.

In 2019 we also launched our Responsible Employer and Business Ethics Statement – this sets out in detail the commitments we’ve made and we will begin implementations from 2020.

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2019 mean gender pay gap of UK based DI employees

2019 mean gender pay gap of UK based DI employees

2019 mean gender pay gap of UK based DI employees

Diversity and inclusivity

At DI we are proud of the diversity of our team, valuing the different skills, experiences and abilities of all individuals. In 2019 we became a disability confident employer, joining the disability charity Leonard Cheshire’s Change Now programme and committing to offer placement opportunities for people of all abilities. Leonard Cheshire also provided disability awareness training to our staff.

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Employee diversity

Employee diversity

Employee diversity

Supporting our staff

DI is committed to providing a supportive working culture. Over the course of 2019 we developed our staff through a new ‘Charter for Change’, an ambitious 12-month programme of targeted initiatives and training to support enhanced leadership and capacity, decision-making, and emotional resilience, and refine our business model. We also offered mental health awareness training with Nine to Thrive.

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Employee Retention (Length of service chart from December 2019 Metrics)

Employee Retention (Length of service chart from December 2019 Metrics)

Employee Retention (Length of service chart from December 2019 Metrics)

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Our finances

Open and transparent

Transparency is one of DI’s core values, and we endeavour to ensure our financial information is open and transparent.

We report our project activities to the IATI Standard, and in 2019 we retained our top five-star rating from Transparify, who look at the financial transparency of major think tanks.

You can find detailed information about who funds us and how we spend our money on our finances page.

Income in 2018 and 2019

A range of organisations fund us, primarily private philanthropic foundations, governments and multilateral organisations that are committed to global development and ending poverty.

In 2019 we diversified our funding base with five new donors contributing to DI projects increasing our income from 2018 to 2019 by just under £1 million. Additionally, the value of funding increased by the continuing weakness of the pound buoying the value of non-sterling donations.

Note: You can download the data on our funding and expenditure from our website at

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2019 income– £5.9million

2019 income– £5.9million

2019 income

1 United Nations Office of Disaster Risk 2 Canadian International Development Agency 3 Sightsavers 4 DII 5 European Commission 6 Irish Aid 7 European Commission funding via Agropolis International 8 Other income 9 SDG Kenya Forum 10 Food and Agriculture Organisation

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2018 income – £4.9million

2018 income – £4.9million

2018 income

1 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation 2 Swedish International Development Agency 3 German Society for International Cooperation 4 The Asia Foundation 5 European Commission 6 Eleanor Crook Foundation 7 New Venture Fund 8 Danish International Development Agency 9 Interest 10 Other income

Expenditure in 2018 and 2019

In 2019, as in previous years, our highest expenditure was on staff costs and professional services. There was an increase in the use of contractors and freelancers again, mainly driven by DI hosting the SDG Kenya Forum in the DI Kenya office and paying the salaries of staff working on their projects. Consultants are an important resource for DI to facilitate agile working, allowing us to be responsive to quick turnaround opportunities.

DI also invested substantially more this year in IT and infrastructure, including moving our servers to cloud-based platforms, and updating hardware equipment for staff in our offices. In 2019 DI also put in place an extensive learning and development programme for staff which accounted for some expenditure. The value of our work lies in our knowledge, skills and expertise, and so this is where we invest most heavily.

Note: You can download the data on our funding and expenditure from our website at

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2019 expenditure – £5.8million

2019 expenditure – £5.8million

2019 expenditure – £5.8million

1 Irrecoverable VAT 2 Foreign exchange – gains/(losses) 3 Other

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2018 expenditure – £4.7million

2018 expenditure – £4.7million

2018 expenditure

1 Travel and engagement 2 Foreign exchange – gains/(losses) 3 Irrecoverable VAT 4 Other

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