Charity Projects Ltd (Comic Relief)

Comic Relief (registered as Charity Projects Ltd) is a UK-based charity, founded in 1985. The charity is funded through two biennial crowdfunding appeals – Red Nose Day and Sport Relief – as well as regular donations and partnerships.

To avoid double counting with official development assistance (ODA) providers and other philanthropic foundations responding to Comic Relief’s crowdfunding calls, the OECD data on Comic Relief exclude grant making financed from contributions from ODA providers and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Comic Relief.

With a vision to create a just world free from poverty, Comic Relief supports people and communities in the United Kingdom and internationally across 15 countries. Comic Relief does this by funding and investing in outstanding causes, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalised affected by the following challenges facing society today: 1) helping children survive and thrive; 2) providing safe places to live; 3) supporting gender justice; and 4) promoting positive mental health.

Comic Relief disbursed USD 46.3 million for development in 2019 in the form of grants. Compared to 2018, this amount represents an increase by 31% in real terms.

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In 2019, Comic Relief provided USD 9 million of its gross disbursements to the multilateral system, accounting for 19% of its total development finance. All of these contributions were earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes. The main multilateral channels used by Comic Relief included the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the United Nations Capital Development Fund; and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

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See the section on Geographic and thematic focus for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system.

In 2019, Comic Relief channelled its development grants mostly through non-governmental organisations (70%) and multilateral organisations (19%).

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 33 million of gross disbursements. All of these allocations were channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the provider (earmarked funding). CSOs based in developing countries received 28% of Comic Relief’s allocations channelled through all CSOs.

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In 2019, Comic Relief’s development grants were primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 39 million was allocated to Africa and USD 6 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 85% and 12% of gross development finance. The remainder of 3% (USD 1 million) related to activities in developing countries in America.

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Bilateral private development finance by recipient country

In 2019, 63% of gross disbursements went to Comic Relief’s top 10 recipients, most notably Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Malawi. The share of 12% was not allocated by country, mainly relating to expenditure for projects and programmes with a regional scope.

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Least developed countries received USD 31 million (65%) of Comic Relief’s gross disbursements in 2019, followed by middle-income countries (21%), noting that 12% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

In 2019, most of Comic Relief’s development finance was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Contributions in this area accounted for 90% of its commitments (USD 30 million), showing a strong focus on health and reproductive health, as well as government and civil society, education and housing. Commitments for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 2 million (5%), with a particular focus on banking and financial services.

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In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Comic Relief streamlined its development finance towards partnerships, significantly contributing to reduced inequalities, health & well-being, and gender equality, with contributions to sustainable cities & communities and quality education.

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In 2019, Comic Relief committed USD 18 million (52%) of its allocable development finance to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the SDG focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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