No sooner had I written a short piece on the spate of criticisms and defences of the effectiveness of aid, than I receive the latest newsletter from Mark Galloway of the International Broadcasting Trust in which he says that "IBT hopes to examine the proactive aid agenda in future research."
He also says that in February the IBT will be co-hosting a parliamentary breakfast meeting that will look at how to use the media to engage the public with aid and how to respond to media criticism of aid. He hopes international development minister Justine Greening will take part.
It will be interesting to see whether participants, particularly those from traditional aid agencies, are caught up in the need to encourage public confidence at all costs, because their organisations need generous responses to specific disaster appeals as well as to general appeals for subscriptions, or whether they are able to take a more considered view that criticism and debate are always valid and may (but may not) promote realistic giving.
Discussion will have to differentiate between emergency aid (where I think people will give money in the full knowwledge that there will be wastage and leakage, because the impetus is to do something, anything, however flawed), and long-term development aid, which will always have its doubters.
Discussion will also have to deal with two fronts: how to respond to criticisms and outright attacks, and how to shape the debate itself.
This isn't a new debate, and preparation is needed for the IBT meeting, possibly in the form of concrete proposals.
+ Thursday 10 January, Haiti+3: Building back better?, an evening with Progressio and Fr Francois Kawas, St Joseph's Hall Brompton Road, SW7. Info: http://uk.oneworld.net/events
+ 'Lack of national plan' heightens struggle to rebuild unstable Haiti