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How We Channel our Aid

Irish Aid allocates financing using a number of different channels. The choice of which channel to use is determined by criteria including type of partner, context and the robustness of public financial management systems.

A billboard about Concern's latrine programme in Liberia

The different channels we use

The following table sets out how our aid was allocated through the different channels of delivery in 2014:

Analysis of Bilateral ODA by Channel of Delivery





NGOs and Civil Society



Government Systems in Partner Countries



Multilateral Organisations



Delegated Cooperation



Research Institutions and Managment Agents









NGOs and civil society

Irish Aid recognises that civil society organisations:

  • Help the marginalised poor to influence political and economic decisions
  • Can make a strategic contribution to development processes
  • Can provide innovative ideas to inform government policy.

For these reasons, over 25% of Ireland’s totaloverall aid  2014 was channelled through civil society organisations.

Emergency and recovery

In 2014, Ireland provided over €100 million in Humanitaian Assistance. This assistance is provided through the Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Fund (EHAF) for acute crisis situations and through the Emergency Preparedness and Post-Emergency Recovery Fund (EPPR) to assist vulnerable people to re-establish their lives and livelihoods after an emergency.

Longer-term development

Irish Aid also provided some €165 million funding through NGOs for longer-term development programmes through our Programme Funding mechanism and the Civil Society Fund.

Development education and micro-funding

Irish civil society organisations can also apply for funding to carry out development education in Ireland. A small amount of aid is provided to civil society organisations in our partner countries  through micro-funding schemes. 

Government systems in our partner countries

Ireland recognises that sustainable improvements in the overall quality of life in developing countries can only be achieved through the sustained commitment of national governments.

For this reasons, almost 15% of the aid budget in 2014 was channelled through government systems in our partner countries. Regardless of the modality, Irish Aid and other donors provide a common set of inputs:

  • Financial contribution
  • Policy dialogue around desired results
  • Technical assistance/advice
  • Identification of conditionality or triggers to release funds

There are a number of different ways through which Irish Aid channels funding through government systems:

General budget support

This is defined as aid that uses the normal channels used for the partner government’s own-funded expenditures. Aid is disbursed to the government’s finance ministry (or treasury), from where it goes, via regular government procedures, to the ministries, departments or agencies responsible for budget execution. The dialogue and conditions and other inputs associated with it are not focussed on a single sector or thematic area.

Sector support

Sector support includes any form of support to a national sector in one of our partner countries (including sector budget support and pooled funds). Sector budget support is budget support targeted at one specific sector, such as health, agriculture and education. A sector-wide approach ensures that assistance (technical assistance, policy dialogue, funding) take the whole sector into account – regardless of the channel of delivery or the inputs.

Local development programmes

These programmes aim to benefit a particular sub-national administrative area. Also known as provincial programmes, Irish Aid works through the local institutions of the selected province and provides support to a number of sectors. For example, we support the Tigray region in Ethiopia and the Northern Province in Zambia.

Projects funds

Project funds are earmarked for specific activities. Many of these projects include partnerships with public bodies such as Human Rights Commissions or the office of the Auditor General.

Multilateral organisations

Some 49% of Ireland’s support for global poverty reduction in 2014 was directed through multilateral organisations. These organisations play a very significant role in developing countries and humanitarian situations.

As the European Union is responsible for over half of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) worldwide, it is in a unique position to influence national and global development agendas and to carry out large-scale projects in developing countries. Funding provided through the EU in 2014 amounted to over €107m.

Ireland’s relationship with the United Nations is based on our shared commitment to security, human rights and development. Our support to key UN development agencies (such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Food Programme) allows us to widen the reach of our own development programme and contribute to tackling development issues and responding to emergencies in countries where we don’t have a presence on the ground.

Public-private partnerships

Irish Aid recognises the private sector has a vital role to play in creating jobs and growth, which are essential for any country seeking to sustainably overcome poverty.

In addition, Irish Aid enters into specific partnerships with the private sector which target the achievement of clear development outcomes. Our partnership with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the nutrients through nutritionally enhanced food products.  


Irish Aid provides assistance through a number of other channels. These channels include support for partnerships between Irish institutions (such as the Irish Human Rights Commission or the Irish Revenue Authorities) and those in programme countries.

Irish Aid has also developed a Programme of Strategic Co-operation with Irish research institutions. A Fellowship Programme helps build increased capacity in our partner country governments by providing suitably qualified candidates the opportunity to undertake postgraduate studies at colleges and universities in Ireland.

Read more about how we channel our aid

Read the Financial Annexes in the Irish Aid 2014 Annual Report‌ (PDF) for a full breakdown of Ireland’s Aid programme and the results it achieves.