Aid Watch was created in France in March 2003 by concerned citizens from the IRD (Institute of Research for Development), the University of Montpellier and the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. At the IRD, this project was supported by a Research Unit, UR102 (“Public intervention, territories, societies”), which worked on development policies and which merged with the IEDES (Institute for the Studies of Economic and Social Development) at the University of Paris I (Sorbonne) in 2008. At the University of Montpellier, Aid Watch was linked to the curriculum of the Department of Geography. At the Institute of Political Studies, the website was launched as a students’ joint project.
Aid Watch is based on voluntary work. Besides students, the observers, either researchers, teachers, or journalists, are paid by their respective institutions. [Potential backing will only be used to pay the expenses of fieldwork and translations, to maintain the website and to ensure the administrative structure is operational.] Aid Watch is not a business-oriented office and its database can be consulted for free. The list of its members include people who contribute regularly (or used to contribute) to the website.