As part of the Global Poverty Project’s ongoing commitment to increasing the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty, we’ve just completed a small research project with Think Global.
From existing research by DFID, we know that the UK public support action to fight poverty, but we also know that there are some important concerns that the public has around issues like aid effectiveness and corruption, which the development sector really needs to understand and respond to.
So, we asked development sector professionals in the UK what they thought about and how they used the tools that exist to understand and engage with public attitudes. We surveyed 53 development professionals between November and December 17 2010, asking about their views towards and use of public attitudes research and development education.
You can read the full results here, or for a quick summary:
- The sector feels that more positive public attitudes to development are constrained by public perceptions of corruption, aid effectiveness and media portrayal of development issues.
- 62% feel perceptions of corruption are very important.
- 54% feel perceptions of aid effectiveness are very important.
- 60% feel that media portrayal of development issues are very important.
- The sector perceives that public support for development is decreasing after several years of steady support … and sees development education as key to reversing this trend.
- Over the past three years changes in public support for development were felt to have been positive or neutral by 58% of respondents.
- 72% expect negative or strongly negative changes in public support for development in the next year.
- The sector sees development education as fundamental to building support for the government’s vision of a ‘big society.’
- 68% of respondents feel that the best statement to describe development education is “a long-term investment in building citizens committed to action on poverty.”
- 95% agree or strongly agree with the statement that “There needs to be a stronger focus on development education to foster responsible global citizens for the future.”
- The sector views DFID’s continued role in funding and support development education work as vital, not just in schools but across the whole population.
- 63% of respondents feel that public attitudes research should be jointly funded between DFID and the sector.
- 93% want DFID should open its development education funding to focus on the whole population, not just schools.
- 68% think DFID should either continue or expand the size and range of funded development education projects.
The report also makes a five recommendations:
1. BOND should collate, publicly share and promote the full range of public attitudes data.
2. DFID should continue to fund twice-yearly attitudes research.
3. Think Global and the Global Poverty Project should build a clearer case for the importance of development education to the sector and the country.
4. Development education should be at the centre of any NGO or DFID plans to build greater public support for development, rather than plans based solely on communications and marketing approaches.
5. The NGO sector, trusts and foundations and DFID should come together to agree collectively how to support development education in the future.
You can download the full report here