We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. If you are happy to accept cookies, please continue browsing. To opt-out of performance cookies, please review our Privacy Policy.

Project FAIR (Fairness in Aid Remuneration)

Within the international aid sector most organisations remunerate their national and international employees on different scales. The differences between the pay and benefits scales within this so-called dual salary system are often extreme, reflecting challenges of attracting skilled international workers to difficult contexts, whilst remunerating national employees appropriately within their local economy.

Project FAIR

Project FAIR builds upon a strong body of research into the psychological impact of these disparate salaries in the sector, in particular their impact on some employees’ motivation, performance, and retention, and thereby aid activities. We aim to create a collaborative space for discussion of practical, evidence-based alternatives to the dual salary system that enable aid and development organisations to maximise their contributions to decent work, sustainable livelihood, and poverty eradication.


This ESRC-funded project began in 2015 as a collaboration between researchers at the University of Edinburgh Business School, Massey University, CHS Alliance and Birches Group. It has since evolved into an active collaboration between a network of 35+ international NGOs with an interest in fair reward. If you are interested in becoming part of the network please contact us.

Project Findings

In May 2017 Project FAIR produced a report outlining the main findings of the project, as well as a series of case studies of some of the organisations that participated in the project.

Should you require a higher resolution version of any of the documents for printing purposes, please contact us.

Project Report

This report provides a full overview of Project FAIR, including background to the project, method, and analysis and discussion of findings.

  • McWha-Hermann, I., Jandric, J., Wakefield, S., Carr, S.C., Grund, C., and Moutou, M. (2017). Project FAIR: Exploring practical pathways for reward fairness in international NGOs. Edinburgh, UK: University of Edinburgh.

Case Studies

A series of case studies were developed to share details of the approaches that some participating organisations are currently taking to reward (as at May 2017).

Principles and Standards of Fair INGO Reward

In collaboration with 25 international NGOs we have co-produced a series of Principles and Standards of Fair INGO reward. These principles and standards can be used by any interested organisation.

Online Toolkit and Self-Assessment Quiz

Based on the findings of Project FAIR we have developed an online toolkit to assist organisations through the strategic considerations behind reviewing their reward system.

INGO Reward Forum

Extensive collaboration through Project FAIR has resulted in the establishment of the INGO Reward Forum, which has an active email list for members and meets regularly throughout the year to discuss issues related to international NGO reward. This is a closed group; for more information on how to join, please contact us.