Direct Aid Program factsheet 2017-18

Photo of schoolchildren performing in Tatale, Ghana.
Schoolchildren perform at the launch of the Don Bosco Rural Reading Hub in Tatale, Ghana. The Reading Hub is the first and only library in the community. Credit: Australian High Commission Ghana.

What is the Direct Aid Program (DAP)?

DAP is a small grants program managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that works directly with communities in developing countries.  It focuses on supporting small-scale aid activities that deliver practical and tangible results. In 2017-18 Australia supported 843 DAP projects in 130 countries. Projects helped people with disabilities, provided small-scale infrastructure, encouraged community income generation and improved people’s health.

DAP supports local community efforts towards poverty reduction and engages a wide range of partners including non-government organisations, community groups, schools, health facilities and local governments.  Through helping people in need we can show Australia is a supportive and trusted partner in addressing aid challenges in partner countries.

  • Countries — 130
  • Funding — $22 Million
  • Total projects — 843
  • Average project — $26,000

Where do we provide support?

We supported 843 projects in 2017-18. about one quarter of the total were in Africa.

Pie Chart with text verion below.

Text version of Pie Chart

  • Africa — 201
  • Latin America/ Caribbean — 163
  • South/ Central Asia — 90
  • Middle east — 60
  • Asia — 145
  • Pacific — 87
  • Europe — 71
  • Multilateral* — 26

*“Multilateral” refers to a separate component of DAP called the International Development Fund.  This is managed by selected Australian multilateral posts (those involved with the United Nations and World Trade Organisation) and helps developing countries to engage more effectively with these organisations.

What type of projects does DAP support?

Approximately one third of DAP projects helped children and adults improve their education.

Pie Chart with text verion below.

Text version of Pie Chart

  • Education — 33%
  • Water/ Sanitation — 9%
  • Agriculture/ Industry — 18%
  • Health — 18%
  • Civil Society* — 11%
  • Social Services — 6%
  • Other — 5%

*Civil Society includes gender equality, human rights and disability.

Direct Aid Program case studies

GHANA — Clean water to improve women’s and children’s health

Photo of a person and their baby, filling a water container from a tap.
Community member able to access clean water for her family, reducing the number of sepsis cases in Chuchulga. Credit: Australian High Commission Accra.

Many health facilities in rural Ghana lack access to clean water, compromising healthcare providers’ ability to offer basic, routine services, such as child delivery and the prevention and control of infections. With DAP funding a local NGO ‘Rise Ghana’ was able to provide four health centres in the Upper East Region, Ghana, with fully mechanised boreholes.

As a result, the Chuchulga Health Centre, along with three other health facilities, now have 24-hour access to clean water, significantly improving the quality of maternal and neonatal health delivery.

“We used to record up to 20 cases of sepsis and other infections in a month. After the project, we barely record one," says Salam Abdul-Rahman, Head of the Chuchulga Health Centre.

“Attendance to Antenatal and Post Natal care has increased because pregnant women and their relatives are no longer required to fetch water for deliveries and this has led to improved maternal and child health,” says Samuel Anyogdem, District Director of Health Services.

BALI — Waste Management Program

Group photo of the Sayan Hidup waste management plant workers and an Australian Consulate General representative.
Sayan Hidup waste management plant workers and Australian Consulate General representative. Credit: Australian Consulate General Bali.

DAP Bali funded a project in the Sayan Hidup Community that created a sustainable community waste management program. DAP funded the purchase of equipment to support the program as well as running workshops in the community about the program.

A waste bank was established where the community can bring their waste for recycling. Waste collected is then turn into many products including recycled items and organic compost. Every month they produce an average of 1,600 kg of high quality compost that is in turn sold to local businesses such as hotels. The profits from the sale supports the sustainability of the facility. Sayan Hidup also delivered workshops on basic waste management to schools and nearby communities. The workshops taught how to sort waste at home and the dangers of polluting the water with plastics and other contaminants. Up to 1000 people in the Sayan Hidup community have benefited from this project. It is a model that can be adapted to other communities in Bali.

ECUADOR — Restoring eyesight and treating cervical cancer

Photo of a doctor using ophthalmological equipment.
Local doctor using new ophthalmological equipment to restore eyesight in Ecuador. Credit: FIBUSPAM.

Mobile clinics are delivering life-changing medical care to some of Ecuador’s most vulnerable communities though a project supported by the Australian Embassy in Santiago’s Direct Aid Program.

The project equipped a local clinic with new high quality medical equipment and is training local doctors to use it to improve the lives of thousands of people in need. The flow on effects of better health outcomes benefit whole communities.

Using the new ophthalmological equipment, doctors have already carried out 1,100 vision screenings and 375 life-changing cataract surgeries for indigenous and older Ecuadorians who are disproportionally affected by poor eye health.

With restored vision they are empowered to return to economic, community and family life. State of the art cervical cancer screening and treatment equipment has removed barriers preventing vulnerable women from accessing detection and on the spot treatment of cancerous lesions. So far, the clinic has delivered 220 screenings and treated 62 lesions.  

SOUTH AFRICA — Communities no longer walking blind in South Africa

A blind person taking a walk with his cane trainer.
SAMBT trainer taking Gideon through the white cane techniques. Credit: Australian High Commission Pretoria.

Despite having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, people with disabilities still face many challenges accessing basic services in South Africa.  This is especially the case for people with disabilities living in rural areas. This is why supporting organisations like the South African Mobility for the Blind Trust (SAMBT) who have been doing this work for over 20 years is important.

Gideon (pictured) lives outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo. He is partially sighted and has glaucoma. His sight started deteriorating quite fast in recent times. The rural clinics often lack the necessary eye drops to treat Glaucoma. These drops are essential as they prevent a person with Glaucoma from losing their sight.

DAP funded a project where trainers visited eight rural communities in the North West Province, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.  

The trainers in partnership with community workers identified the mobility needs of the blind and delivered one of one training to 131 sight impaired individuals. The independence training involved white cane techniques, orientation skills, using a phone, accessing an ATM, recognising bank notes and cooking a meal. The training is life changing, Gideon, who serves his community’s disability committee, is now able to travel to town on his own.

PHILIPPINES — Promoting and protecting children’s rights

Group photo of young women beneficiaries of Bahay Tuluyan with with Ambassadors.
Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr Sharman Stone and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely interacting with young women beneficiaries of Bahay Tuluyan. Credit: Australian Embassy Manila.

Children working or living on the streets are some of the most vulnerable children in the Philippines.

In 2018, as part of the Australian Government’s efforts to promote child protection, the Direct Aid Program (DAP) supported the Bahay Tuluyan Foundation to provide holistic rights-based activities and services to street children and children at risk to increase their resilience and decrease their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

Bahay Tuluyan uses the ‘child-to-child’ education approach through which young people who previously benefited from Bahay Tuluyan’s services are further capacitated to reach out to their peers. They participate in various activities such as the street children’s congress, junior educators training, and youth facilitators training to acquire the skills and attitude to lead child-to-child activities. The trained young people actively engage in community awareness sessions on children’s rights.

Bahay Tuluyan considers the child-to-child education approach as an effective way to reach out to children in difficult circumstances. The young trainers also attest to its transformative power.

Prior to his involvement with Bahay Tuluyan, John (not his real name) suffered from drug abuse. From 2016, he started attending Bahay Tuluyan’s street education sessions. In February 2018, John was one of the 57 street children who participated in a three-day street children’s congress. The experience motivated him to attend training sessions to become a youth facilitator. Presently, John helps Bahay Tuluyan in running its street education sessions for other street children.



Last Updated: 31 May 2019