The Department for International Development (DFID)

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, 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.



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.

DFID Mission Statement
DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the British government’s fight against world poverty.

One in five people in the world today, over 1 billion people, live in poverty on less than one dollar a day. In an increasingly inter-dependent world, many problems - like conflict, crime, pollution, and diseases such as HIV and AIDS - are caused or made worse by poverty.

DFID supports long-term programmes to help tackle the underlying causes of poverty. DFID also responds to emergencies, both natural and man-made.

DFID’s work forms part of a global promise to:

  • halve the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger
  • ensure that all children receive primary education
  • promote sexual equality and give women a stronger voice
  • reduce child death rates
  • improve the health of mothers
  • combat HIV & AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • make sure the environment is protected
  • build a global partnership for those working in development.


Together, these form the United Nations’ eight ‘Millennium Development Goals’, with a 2015 deadline. Each of these Goals has its own, measurable, targets.

DFID works in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and others. It also works with multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, United Nations agencies, and the European Commission.

DFID works directly in over 150 countries worldwide, with a budget of nearly £4 billion in 2004. Its headquarters are in London and East Kilbride, near Glasgow.