UK Aid is one of the largest bilateral development aid funding agencies in the world. It works to tackle global challenges including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict especially to countries which are at risk of conflict or instability.

In the Middle East UKAID is providing support to mitigate negative economic chocks and stability as a result of the Arab Spring and the Syria conflict. To date, UKAID has committed over £2.71 billion in humanitarian funding to the Syria region. UKAID development programs overarching objectives aim at maintaining the regional stability that will mitigate / prevent the risks of growing violence, extremism and radicalization, as well as the potential for significant irregular migration to Europe that could harm the UK’s national security interests.

UKAID funds programs in the Middle East that

  • Advances economic growth and creates jobs more sustainably
  • Supports longer-term economic reforms and increases investment
  • Increases access to quality and decent education
  • Strengthens resilience and response to crisis
  • Provides humanitarian and human development responses in response to the Syrian refugees’ crisis
  • Supports reducing the widespread inequality and social marginalization

The Department for International Development (DFID) spends 14% of its total budget (£1.9 billion) through commercial contracts, all of which are open tenders and which any organization can apply for, including NGOs and local organizations.

Budget Allocation of the Middle East 2018-2020 


  • Education programs including psychosocial support, safe and violence-free schools and places for children
  • Support to vulnerable boys, girls and women to help them deal with trauma and prevent them being at risk of further abuse in the future.
  • Support the regional wide No Lost Generation initiative.
  • Multipurpose cash grants, improved shelter accommodation and legal assistance for Syrian refugees
  • Funding projects that creates job opportunities for Lebanese and Syrians by supporting Small and Medium Enterprises to grow in addition to supporting targeted infrastructure investments
  • Supporting the World Bank to provide concessional finance to support the government of Lebanon’s large infrastructure projects


  • £110 million of UK aid funding for 2018/19 is allocated for economic resilience and reform including care to children affected by Trauma
  • 10 years education program to boost jobs for its young population by equipping young Jordanians with English language and job skills such as leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving. The project is still at an Early engagement Status. A meeting is slated in June 2019


  • DFID Funded Stability, Services and Reform Program (SSRP). The project is an accepting bids stage
  • DFID support education projects and health services including immunizations and medical care consultations (basic services provided by the Palestinian Authority)
  • DFID funds co-existence programs that support dialogues and trust building


  • DICE: Grants to support the development of Inclusive and Creative Industries, implemented by the British Council
  • DFID and CSSF support s projects that counter extremism through education reform as well as projects that promote Human Rights for the Disabled
  • UK AID supports investment in the Solar Energy Project in Aswan (9 out of 13 panel systems)

Syria and Turkey

  • £450 million has been committed to Syria in 2018 and £300 million in 2019. The program funding will provide vital humanitarian assistance, health and shelter support. 25% of the fund will be allocated to health care)
  • UKAID contributes to the European Union Facility for refugees in Turkey (FRIT2) second rounds. The facility supports refugees with unrestricted, monthly cash transfers to meet their basic needs as well as primary health care consultations. The Facility also helps building schools and provides health services to alleviate pressure on Turkish communities hosting refugees


  • DFID supports rebuilding hospitals, schools, water supply
  • £6.9 million will be allocated to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq
  • £10 million will be allocated to UN OCHA’s Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund
  • £16 million will be allocated to the Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), run by the World Bank
  • 252.5 million in humanitarian support and over £110 million in stabilization funding since 2014.

Sudan, South Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya: Development Grants

  • Impact Grants, UK Direct Aid, Regional, Early Engagement, Deadline is April 2018
  • Community Partnerships Grant, UK Direct Aid, Regional, Early Engagement, Deadline is April, 2018
  • The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF). Grants of up to £50,000 will be available for projects of up to 2 years. Open for applications on a continuous basis and applications are reviewed every 6 months.
  • Girls Education in South Sudan Phase II

How UK AID Does Position itself 

Making UK’s development operations at the forefront of international development best practice


Partnerships: The Way Forward 

UK AID Common Selection Criteria

Have strong safeguards in place which reduce delivery risks

  • Vetting (references)
  • Financial Capacity with Audited Accounts
  • Impact measurement Capacity

Better Value for Money(VfM)

  • Focus on what matters
  • Cut waste and tightening controls on expenditure
  • Rigorous evidence to underpin spending decisions
  • Project Performance regular assessed


  • Proven capacity to adapt to changing contexts, based on learning and evidence generated through projects’ delivery
  • Experience working with communities and local institutions


This report was made possible through the research and analysis, by Beit Al Karma Consulting specialists, of public information and knowledge of development assistance providers and actors in the Middle East. The opinion(s) expressed herein are those of Beit Al Karma Consulting and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of the listed organizations, institutions, companies and foundations. The information displayed doesn’t imply that listed organizations have reviewed or approved such content. This report intended to build the capacity of development implementing partners, profit and nonprofit, to forge informed partnerships, develop and design development projects all aiming at improving project’s delivery and development aid effectiveness. Copyright© 2019 DARPE All Rights Reserved. 

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