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Leading the British government in their fight against world poverty

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About DFID photograph

What are we doing to tackle world poverty?

The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the UK Government that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty.

We are headed by a Cabinet minister, one of the senior ministers in the Government. This reflects how important the Government sees reducing poverty around the world. We have two headquarters (in London and East Kilbride, near Glasgow) and 64 offices overseas. We also have over 2500 staff, almost half of whom work abroad.

What is development?

When we talk about international development we are referring to efforts, by developed and developing countries, to bring people out of poverty and so reduce how much their country relies on overseas aid. Many different things can contribute to development which reduces poverty, such as settling conflicts, increasing trade, securing more and better aid, and improving health and education.

Why is the UK Government involved in development?

More than a billion people, one in five of the world's population, live in extreme poverty. This means they live on less than 65p a day. Ten million children die before their fifth birthday, most of them from preventable diseases. More than 113 million children do not go to school.

In a world of growing wealth, such levels of human suffering and wasted potential are not only morally wrong, they are also against our own interests. We are becoming much closer to people in faraway countries. We trade more and more with people around the world.

Many of the problems which affect us, such as war and conflict, international crime, refugees, the trade in illegal drugs and the spread of diseases like HIV and AIDS, are caused or made worse by poverty in developing countries. Getting rid of poverty will make for a better world for everybody.

What are we doing to tackle world poverty: A quick guide to the Department for International DevelopmentPDF document(661 kb)

DFID Values

DFID's values define the way in which we intend to live up to our strategic aim of halving world poverty by the year 2015. They also provide a framework for improved performance. Our values are:

  • ambition and determination to eliminate poverty
  • diversity and the need to balance work and private life
  • ability to work effectively with others
  • desire to listen, learn and be creative
  • professionalism and knowledge

Our policies and processes support and underpin these values. And, it is, of course, vital that our behaviours reflect and underline them too.

Last updated: 15 August 2006

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