War on Want (WoW) is a British charity whose radical political activities have drawn intense criticism. In the past, WoW‘s finances have lacked transparency, with no annual reports or audited accounts appearing on its website. A copy of the NGO’s 2006 official submission to the UK Charity Commission has now become available on the Charity Commission’s site, which includes details of WoW’s government funding sources. In 2006, it received ?300,006 from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), ?229,820 from the European Commission, ?34,017 from the UK National Lottery Charities Board, and ?24,696 from the Department of Foreign Affairs Ireland (page 16).
While funding amounts are listed, only limited details are provided as to how much from each government source is directed towards WoW’s "Palestine campaign." And no further information is available on the European Commission, or the Irish Government websites, where a detailed search could not even find WoW included as a funding recipient. ( DFID lists WoW as a recipient of Civil Society Challenge Fund for humanitarian projects, which are unrelated to Israel; a detailed list of DFID’s funding of WoW can be found here.)
Government support for WoW is highly problematic, given the NGO’s highly politicized campaigning against Israel. Even if grants are directed, money is fungible, and institutional support also increases the NGO’s credibility. The result is that WoW’s total budget of £1,432,348 includes £535,536 allocated "campaigning and policy work" which clearly contradicts stated EU, UK and policy goals. (See NGO Monitor’s recent reports on EU Funding, DFID, and Irish Government Aid for more information on these guidelines.)