Bond Conference 2019
A session on learning from the global south at Bond Conference 2019

12 achievements we’re proud of from 2019

It’s been a difficult year in many ways. But at Bond we cut through the noise of Brexit, general elections, the lobbying act and an increasingly volatile operating environment to achieve lots of things that will hopefully help the sector thrive in the coming years.

With the help of our 438 members, we’ve had a very busy year. Here are just some of the things we are most proud of achieving in 2019.

1. We helped make the uncertainty around Brexit a little more certain

We helped secure a commitment from the Department for International Development (DFID) to financially assure all UK programmes funded by the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. We also supported members and DFID to establish a financial assurance mechanism.

2. We led the UK development sector to advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals

We worked with members and partners to influence the UK’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) on its progress towards the goals, including giving evidence in the IDC’s and EAC’s inquiries.

Our report on the UK’s international contribution to the SDGs, which analysed all 17 goals with input from over 49 organisations, was shared across UK government to influence the VNR.

3. We held Europe’s biggest international development event

The Bond Conference & Awards 2019 attracted 1,148 people to the QEII Conference Centre in London in March. We hosted 117 speakers, of whom 78 were women and 33 were BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic).

Keynote speakers included Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Indian trans activist Abheena Aher, Kenyan human rights activist Maina Kiai and South African author Sisonke Msimang.

4. We advocated for better policies around UK aid

We influenced government departments and bodies spending UK aid beyond DFID (such as the Prosperity Fund and CDC Group) to more effectively and transparently measure and demonstrate the impact of their spending.

5. We empowered 1,329 people to develop their skills with us

Our unique training programmes helped 1,329 people from 397 organisations to hone their skills and learn more about the intricacies of the development sector, with a total of 145 training days being held in 2019.

6. We helped organisations improve their safeguarding practices

We supported organisations across the sector to make tangible progress against our Safeguarding Commitments. We provided safeguarding training to almost 500 individuals from over 130 organisations and developed 7 new courses. We released our safeguarding reporting toolkit to ensure safeguarding complaints were dealt with safely and seriously. And, in December, over 200 people joined us for our Safeguarding for Development Conference.

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7. We led the way on funding diversification

Our Funding for Development Conference saw over 200 delegates join us for a comprehensive look at the future of funding. We also updated our funding webpages to ensure our members got the most in-depth information regarding funding for their organisations. Our funding pages have been visited almost 400,000 times in 2019.

8. We championed and defended civil society space

We called for the government to engage with civil society in an inclusive, meaningful and deliberative way on policy and programming in our report, resulting in a productive dialogue with DFID on developing a more effective approach to engagement.

We worked with the Electoral Commission and sector bodies to improve the guidance for non-party campaigners. We also briefed peers for a House of Lords debate on the Lobbying Act, which restricts civil society organisations’ ability to campaign.

9. We led the way before, during and after the General Election

With a general election looking increasingly likely as the year went on, we worked tirelessly to make sure we were prepared. When the election was announced, we presented our manifesto for building a just and sustainable world. Many of our policy suggestions were adopted in party manifestos, and all the major parties pledged to keep 0.7. We also released our civil society manifesto.

After the election, we have taken the lead on campaigning for an independent DFID, with over 100 NGOs signing our joint statement on the importance of DFID’s work and the potential disaster that merging the department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office could have on aid. We will continue to campaign in 2020.

10. We launched our apprenticeship scheme to increase diversity in international development

The programme, set up in partnership with Whitehat, supports NGOs to run apprenticeships and has a dual focus on increasing diversity across the charity sector at entry-level and upskilling existing employees. As the first of its kind in the sector, this partnership is set to transform the way NGOs hire, train and retain talent.

Our jobs board also continued to grow, and we revamped our careers pages to make sure we were giving job seekers the right advice for them to start or continue their careers in development.

11. Our working groups continued to change the sector

The Development and Environment Group successfully lobbied for another five-year commitment to International Climate Finance (ICF), emphasising the need for more reliable and predictable long term funding. They also helped influence DFID policy, and were influential voices at the UN Climate Action Summit and COP25.

The Disability and Development Group held a series of events to make development more inclusive, including a Data Lab which encouraged greater inclusivity in data collection. And the People in the Pictures Group produced guidelines which have been adopted by the Bond Charter.

12. We keep the development and humanitarian sector informed

We produced and created 132 news articles and blogs, hosted 6 podcasts, worked on and published 21 resources and toolkits, sent over 500,000 Network News emails out, released 34 press releases and position statements and tweeted over 1,300 times in 2019. Our aim is always to keep you as informed as possible, and we will continue to strive to bring you the most relevant and exciting content the sector has to offer.

We look forward to working with you to deliver this important work in 2020.