1. Fostering economic development.

2. Promoting global security and stability.

3. Working in partnership for the long term.

Prosperity and economic growth

  • By supporting the development of robust, accountable institutions; strengthening civil society and governance; and providing opportunities to improve personal economic success through education and the creative economy, the British Council helps developing economies grow and prosper.
  • This work has the added benefit of strengthening links with the UK., via building collaborative relationships and investingin the development of English language skills, education reform and research collaboration, professional and vocational skills, and expertise in the cultural and creative industries. As well as making an important difference in countries globally, these areas could lead to a significant payback for the UK in future exports, investment and influence.

Security and stability

  • In the Middle East, North, East and West Africa, South Asia and Ukraine, fragile and conflict affected states and the growing ability of extremist and terrorist groups to attract support create risks for global security and stability. 
  • The British Council works to reduce these risks by supporting programmes in key countries that improve young people’s skills, employability and life chances; strengthen institutions and good governance; support economic and social development; and create stronger relationships to the UK.
  • This improves community and individual security, enabling an environment that is conducive to economic development and improved prosperity.

Working in partnership for the long term

  • We believe in working in partnership: including with governments, donors, business and social enterprises, to develop sustainable solutions to development challenges.
  • Our approach supports the ‘golden thread’ of conditions that enable open economies and open societies to thrive: the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, and the presence of property rights and strong institutions.

Examples of how British Council programmes contribute to international development

  • In partnership with Peace Direct (UK), the College of Youth Activism and Development (Pakistan) and the School of Leadership (Pakistan), we have adapted our Active Citizens programme to provide specialised support for young people and community facilitators in developing skills in capacity building and conflict resolution. We have already engaged more than 40,000 young people through the programme, resulting in over 100 social action projects focusing on building peace, human rights, resolving conflict, valuing diversity and connecting police with communities.
  • Through our award winning Pyoe Pin project in Burma, funded by DFID and the Swedish International Development Agency, we support local organisations and individuals to act co-operatively in addressing the needs of the country’s people. The project’s first phase engaged over 8,000 individuals and 1,000 organisations, and over 185,000 individuals have directly benefited from the project. 
  • In Burma, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, multicultural groups have been trained in forum theatre techniques to help them better carry out their work in conflict-affected areas. Participatory theatre approaches are empowering and engaging communities in creative problem solving around conflict negotiation, cultural identity and trust, sexual harassment, drug addiction and HIV/AIDS awareness.
  • In Bihar, India, we manage the Bihar Language Initiative in Secondary Schools to improve the employability of young people by supporting the improvement of English language teaching. Funded by DFID and the Government of Bihar, the project aims to reach 3,000 English teachers.
  • In Bangladesh, we are working with BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, on EITA – English and ICT for Adolescent girls. This award-winning project aims to improve the life-chances of girls through English and ICT.
  • In Pakistan, we are working with the Qatar Foundation to advocate for and improve access to education.
  • DOSTI is an award winning sport and community cohesion project in Karachi, Pakistan, funded through the FCO Conflict Pool bid. DOSTI aims to create a difference by breaking social barriers and promoting community cohesion by making sports an integral part of the social life of youth in Karachi.
  • We help young people find a voice in their societies. Alongside partners, and working with the Bangladesh Parliament, we piloted the first ever Bangladesh Youth Parliament. The inaugural session was watched on television by 60 million people. 
  • In Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, we are helping young people develop skills for employment by supporting policy development and curriculum reform, and we are helping to build links between businesses and academic institutions. 
  • In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, the Women Participating in Public Life project builds the capacity of organisations and generates broad-based support to increase the active involvement of women in public life both locally and nationally. Activities will include the training of 50 community facilitators in diversity and gender equality from partner organisations, which will be cascaded to over 500 young people (at least 50 per cent women) in over 15 communities; enhancing the capacity of national partners to progress women’s participation in public life; and organising annual learning events to share strategies and successes around women’s participation initiatives.  
  • In Egypt, we support artistic projects through small grants which contribute to urban regeneration, vibrant civil dialogue and creative community initiatives.
  • We are working with the European Union to expand our Active Citizens programme in Sudan. This will reach more than 100,000 people in 20 communities, helping local leaders to run social cohesion projects.

Examples of how British Council programmes contribute to international development

  • Through the DFID-funded Justice for All programme in Nigeria, we work to improve access to justice and personal safety for all Nigerians. A community policing strategy has been developed, focusing on answering the needs of the community and improving police service standards. Twelve Model Police Stations have been established in Lagos, Enugu, Niger Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa and the Federal Capital Territory, including Family Support Units to support victims of gender-based and domestic violence. As a result of the interventions, community satisfaction with the police has risen (by more than 15 per cent in some states).  Nigeria’s major anti-corruption agencies have been assisted in developing strategic plans, and national strategies on anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and asset recovery have been created. Leading to the recovery of over £700 million of stolen assets.
  • Through our Civil Society Support Programme we work collaboratively with civil society organisations in Ethiopia to strengthen their contribution to the government’s goal of achieving national development and poverty reduction. We offer grant-funding and capacity development opportunities to civil society organisations from all regions of Ethiopia. The programme prioritises hard-to-reach segments of Ethiopian society, with a particular focus on people affected by social marginalisation, geographic remoteness, under resourcing and neglected development issues. Since inception, over 420 organisations (328 through direct and indirect grants and 99 through capacity development support) have been supported through the programme – approximately 16 per cent of the total of charities and societies registered with the government’s Charities and Societies Agency.
  • We are working in partnership with Tullow Oil to support over 100 postgraduates from Ghana and other parts of Africa to study in the UK.
  • We are supporting the development needs of significant partners for the UK in emerging economies. For example, we are: training 26,000 English teachers in China; supporting a new university based on UK models in Vietnam; and training more than 11,000 English teachers in Indonesia.
  • Skills for Social Entrepreneurs builds an international network across public, private, and non-governmental sectors to support people to set up sustainable businesses for social change. In China, the programme has trained over 1,000 social entrepreneurs and promoted social enterprise through social media, reaching over 12 million people.


  • Our contribution to UK official development assistance (ODA) is long-standing and has been formally recognised since the 1970s.  
  • In 2014-15 we spent £100 million of our Foreign Office grant on development in eligible countries as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.




  • Client ratings:  In January 2014 a sample of 21 client funded projects found over 90%  have achieved a rating of “Good” or “Outstanding”
  • Independent Commission on Aid Impact: In a report on FCO and British Council responses to the Arab Spring, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact concluded that “The British Council’s response to the Arab Spring has been considered, strategic and a good complement to the FCO’s. It has a strong delivery model based on good local partnerships and beneficiary engagement and has proved effective at its core goal of skills development and individual empowerment, with some wider impact through social mobilisation.”
  • Justice Darius Khobo, High Court Judge and Chairperson of the Kaduna Justice Sector Co-ordination Group in Kaduna State, Nigeria said of our Justice for All Programme: “Our perception, view and vision have changed. It is no longer about laying blame across institutions in the justice sector, but having a unified objective to ensure speedy delivery of justice.”