Monday, November 24, 2008

DfID, getting out the good word

Was at an aid effectiveness conference in the UK last week. One of the interesting differences between the US and UK system pointed out to me by an official from the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) was that the UK doesn't have the same kind of prohibition on agencies targeting domestic audiences to promote themselves (Smith-Mundt). One of the more interesting instances is DfID's cooperation with the Rough Guide guide-book series to produce the Rough Guide to a Better World. Worth a look, and really worth passing on in support of the propaganda campaign.


  1. Smith-Mundt doesn't apply to USAID. It is only the agency's complete ignorance to the need to explain U.S. foreign assistance -- both the the U.S. and internationally -- that keeps budget numbers well below the amount to be able to communicate to targeted audiences.

    If you believe that USAID should communicate its mission, and that the U.S. foreign assistance story is one that must be told, advocate for more and better staffing and increased resources within your the agency.

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  3. Thanks for pointing this out. DOD actually isn't covered by Smith-Mundt either, but practice has become to assume that it is. Lots of confusion about this act, clearly something I need to get smart on vice going on second hand info.

  4. Update, and I'll post on this eventually (have already fallen behind by months), but USAID's Assistant Administrator, Jeffrey J. Grieco for Legislative and Public Affairs state that USAID in facts abides by Smith-Mundt act because of uncertainty among agency lawyers.

    See the transcript on MountainRunner's site for the Smith-Mundt Symposium earlier this year.