Well, did they feed the world?

Why was Band Aid launched? Television reports said 10 million had been affected by famine in Ethiopia and 500,000 had died of starvation and illness. Bob Geldof, an Irish rock star, announced he had had enough of watching people "dying on my TV".

What did he do? Co-wrote the single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with Midge Ure, then persuaded a group of pop stars to sing it.

How much did Band Aid raise? £10m in the first six months, then another £100m until 1992, when the charity was shut down.

How was the money spent? On "grassroots" projects in the main. "Agencies proposing primary healthcare schemes, such as inoculations and encouraging good nutrition, were viewed more favourably than plans for, say, a high-tech hospital," explained Penny Jenden, former chief executive for Band Aid. "Africa is littered with the remains of tractors or drilling rigs that nobody knew how to mend."

Who decided how the money was spent? A committee of "experts" (academics more than practitioners) was formed in October 1985 under the chairmanship of Brian Walker of the International Institute of Environment and Development. The committee met monthly to assess and discuss more than a thousand projects, of which 189 were selected for funding.

Who benefited? "The poorest of the poor" in Ethiopia, Sudan, Mali, Chad, Niger and Burkina-Faso.

The largest single grant? $3m to buy vaccine for a UN child-immunisation programme for all six countries.

Were there critics? Iain Macdonald, Sudan's director of Euro-Action Accord 1985-1988, was one of the most vocal. He said: "They concentrated too much on not wasting money and missed a lot of high-risk, but high-need projects." Anthony Nedley, Oxfam's co-ordinator in Sudan, said: "They employed human dynamos with no secretarial support who ran round the country promising the earth, but who couldn't deliver because they had no logistics back-up. It was far too temporary, makeshift and lacking in structure to be really effective."

And on the bright side? "Bob Geldof brought in a new constituency of people eager to help - young people mostly. He kept Third World issues on the agenda," remembers Hugh Goyder, who was field director in Ethiopia between 1982 and 1986 and now works for Action Aid. As well as meeting emergency needs (extra resources and extra vehicles), Geldof was also "remarkably" far-sighted: "He concentrated a lot of the resources into long-term projects, such as building water supply schemes and health programmes."

Recognition? The Queen presented Geldof with an insignia of the Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1986. She said: "This is a small token for the work you have done." He said: "Believe me, it was harder work getting into this [Savile Row] suit."

How is Ethiopia faring now? Feeding stations were taken down in 1986, but four million of the 54 million population will still need relief aid next year - mostly people in rural areas.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test