Development agencies have long prioritized increased aid delivery as well as improved aid quality and effectiveness to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. However, arguments for improved aid quality have not been sufficiently adopted by policymakers, donors, and nonprofit organizations. From day one, aid quality and effectiveness has been the key operating principle of The Unmentionables and we are fully committed to SMART Aid Principles. In adopting SMART Aid principles, our aim is to encourage a more entrepreneurial and flexible aid paradigm, which above all empowers the vulnerable communities.

SMART Aid principles prioritize the following aims, changing not only how aid is delivered, but also its efficiency and effectiveness at every stage of the process. SMART Aid is:


Sufficient in scale and delivered in a predictable manner

Measurable so donors and recipients can see results

Accountable to those for whom it is intended

Responsible management and coordination at the highest levels

Transparent in presentation to allow scrutiny by civil society


These principles help ensure aid delivery is efficient, effective, and prioritizes the needs of the communities we serve. As a result of adopting SMART Aid Principles, The Unmentionables can ensure a strong return on investment for donors by placing a clear focus on community- and evidence-informed initiatives, implementing multi-impact solutions, fighting corruption in aid delivery, and promoting good governance.

The SMART Aid principles build upon the findings of the Commission for Africa, the Gleneagles G8 Communiqué, the Monterrey Consensus, the Publish What You Pay Campaign, the African Peer Review Mechanism, Transparency International, the OECD Paris Declaration, the principles of the “DATA Deal” (Debt, Aid and Trade in return for Democracy, Accountability and Transparency) and aid quality proposals of the Global Call for Action Against Poverty.




At The Unmentionables, we believe empowerment is not only an outcome of our programs, but also a strategy and approach that must be embedded into each of the programs we deliver. In each of our core protection, health and hygiene, and education programs, we have placed empowerment at the forefront of our work at every stage by prioritizing the skills and knowledge of the communities we serve. Our empowerment approach prioritizes the development of the whole person- intellectually, physically, and emotionally, and as a result, our programming focus is holistic as well. Further, in order to empower the communities we serve and promote the buy-in and ownership required to create sustainable change, beneficiaries voices, feedback, and contributions are prioritized in the planning, implementation, and analysis of all of our programs.




With our keen focus on holistic empowerment, The Unmentionables has prioritized a livelihood approach to aid delivery. In our experience, those best placed to plan and implement innovative solutions to displacement crises, are members of the displaced communities themselves. By training and employing refugee leaders at a fair wage, we are able to have a two-fold impact-- restoring the dignity of sustainable livelihoods to our staff, as well as building trust through our employees with the communities we serve. Our livelihood approach is built directly into each and every one of our programs, ensuring that in everything we do, the empowerment of displaced communities is prioritized.