The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Wednesday, August 16, 2006
        The rich giveth. The rich taketh away
        Development aid has gone a full circle without much effect on poverty in Africa. Direct aid to governments was outdated as ineffective and politically intrusive. Then, we had a wave of NGOs of all forms, shapes and sizes – secular/religious, relief/development, local/international, vague/confused (this one is my addition). Now, well since last year, the OECD decided to flip back to direct aid because there is no evidence that there NGOs are any better than corrupt governments. Ouch!

        I have difficulties buying the "recipient governments use aid for political purposes" argument as if donor countries don't have political motives. Let's face it aid is the most effect carrot for every one.

        During the Cold War, governments often received aid for geo-strategic reasons with very little money actually reaching poor people. One example was US support for the late dictator of Zaire, Joseph Mobutu, because he was seen as anti-communist. (BBC )

        The thing is, not much have changed today. Donor countries still use aid for geo-strategic reasons. The Cold War may be over, but a much warmer war has replaced it and aid is proving to be a very handy instrument.

        What is very annoying about the whole aid discussion (bickering rather) is that the same old arguments get recycled to death, and those who are really "involved" in development aid are afraid to get political. OECD’s "one of a kind" evaluation of direct giving admits...

        While there were increases in expenditure in areas such as health and education, any increase in the incomes of the very poor is not yet evident.

        Well, that’s news!

        A few success stories here and there get trumpeted so loud in a desperate effort to say "you see, you see, it can work". I often wonder if a major breakthrough is ever to come for development thinking and doing or if the words of Palagunmi Sainath would still resinate 2 dacades from now...
        Development is the strategy of evasion. When you can't give people land reform, give them hybrid cows. When you can't send children to school, try non-formal education. When you can’t provide basic health to people, talk of health insurance. Can't give them jobs? Not to worry, just redefine the words "employment opportunities". Don't want to do away with using children as a form of slave labour? Never mind. Talk of "improving the conditions of child labour!" It sounds good. You can even make money out of it. — Palagunmi Sainath, Everybody Loves a Good Drought; Stories from India’s Poorest Districts, (Penguin Books, 1996), p.421
        Via Global Issues
        posted by Fikirte @ 9:17 PM   Digg!
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        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
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