There is much controversy, even within the non-developed world, as to whether aid helps or not.
Western nations promised to give (a tiny) 0.7 percent of their GDP's to aid a number of years ago, but only a couple actually do that.
If aid could be properly monitored, so it does not end up in the wrong hands, is it not a good thing? Who decides where such aid goes, and who should decide?
No it doesn't. Most government aid goes to the people in power rather than those who need the most help. NGO's are another matter entirely. If you want to help, give to charities. Since charities have to prove their money goes to where it is needed, rather than some dictator's Swiss bank account, you can be sure that you're money is being well spent.
I believe it has the potential to help. Governments should not be responsible on either side. I believe an independent organization should distribute the aid. I personally like the Red Cross. When the small apartment building I was living in caught fire, I was amazed to see a Red Cross representative there before the fire was out. They put us up in nice hotels till we could find a place to stay. I had no idea they would help out such a small group in that situation.
This is a tricky topic. I for one like and support good aid groups like the red cross. I have however heard people say that the aid they received after a drought became a negative thing because the people did not focus on becoming self supporting again and came to expect others to support them. I can see the validity in this comment, take a look at some of the lifetime unemployed in countries with good welfare programs. What I see is people who settle for the life provided by the state and don't try for anything better, its like they have settled into a complacent depression.
What I find saddest of all and even hypocritical is the situation in nations like the US where there is this huge call by organizations both religious and secular to send aid and volunteers overseas to developing nations while three blocks down the homeless are freezing under the overpasses and starving in a land of plenty.
Three times in the last year alone in my area, church organizations have blocked proposals by local charities to build a new homeless housing and education center. One time they bought up the property in question and leveled it into a parking lot that sits unused. The Local rescue ministry had wanted to build a food kitchen and outreach center there to provide job training and shelter. The US as a nation has along history of ignoring its own problems and weaknesses while criticizing other nations of their own.
Helping the poor and needy is a great cause and worthy of pursuing but we should see first to our own, then once that issue is resolved move on towards other populations. Hurricane Katrina was a good example of this problem. It took days to get aid to the city of New Orleans yet in disasters overseas aid is pouring in sometimes within hours. This is shameful and unacceptable. There are needy in every city in America that are being ignored and marginalized while billions flow out of this nation to help the starving in Africa, Asia, and Central America.
Aid to Africa was, for many years, being spent on helicopters and Mercedes cars for government officials. I believe that all aid should be provided in the form of medicines, food, school equipment, water pumps etc. Aid should be given to registered western charities to provide a specific purpose. Not as cash to governments for distribution.
agree, there is so much graft and corruption in some developing countries, it should really be in the form of goods, not cash
Even when it's sent as goods, it can still end up in the wrong hands. When I lived in Swaziland, the Canadians were sending bulls to improve the cattle herds. Every single one of them went missing, until they finally decided to send a staff member to escort one. He recognised all the missing animals in the King's herd, but of course he couldn't say anything. The bull he escorted made it to its correct destination, but I wonder how long it stayed there!
Then there was the tractor sent by Sweden for use by agricultural students. The principal of the school took it, and it was never seen again.
Water pumps - another Canadian project. They sent an army of engineers and educators with the pumps, so they all got installed safely. However, they were mechanical (for obvious reasons) which meant that drawing water took some effort. Within a few months, most of the villages had reverted to getting their water from the river, because it was less work. Yes, the educators had explained river water could make them sick - but the cows drank it all the time, and they were fine, so obviously the educators didn't know what they were talking about!
Two lessons here - one is that corruption is so widespread in these countries, it's almost impossible to bypass it - and the second is that you can't help people unless they want the help.
I'm also a Kiva supporter. I know it sounds callous, but I'm not a supporter of sending grain to keep children alive in Ethiopia, if all it means is that they grow up in misery and have an early death anyway. I'd rather focus my donations to the future, to helping people find their own way out of poverty.
It makes a lot of sense to help those in our country first.
I think Americans are "strange" about homeless and needy people in our country.
For a few months some years ago, I was homeless and lived in my car. I would wash up and change at the gas stations and the laundromat. A nice couple I met at the laundromat helped me by letting me use their phone number and address on job applications. (You can't get an address without a job or a job without an address) I was able to get an apartment once I was working.
I started attending the local church of the denomination I was raised in. They had a committee that wanted to do a homeless outreach. I was so suprised - the woman heading it up was one I had met while I was homeless yet she didn't remember me! She had humiliated and threatened to call the police on me for using the gas station bathroom "excessively" when she figured out I was homeless. She didn't want to help the homeless for when she was faced with a real homeless person - she was so unkind. All she wanted was to "feel" like she helped.
When she had a chance to help someone she chose not to - maybe she couldn't handle it happenoing so close to home. It was less real or something if it was far away.
If we help our own and become a country with significantly less social plights, then we might have something to export other than hypocrisy.
Just my humble opinion.
I like to support Kiva.org. The money (a loan) goes directly to those who need it most - person to person - and it has an amazing success rate. The money is lent to help a person start or expand a business, so it creates an income stream, develops skills, and creates a truly independent person. It's amazing what a little bit of money can do in some peoples' lives.
Never heard of Kiva. I'll have to check it out! Sounds like a great program.
The help it does do, is very little, at best.
If it's an American based business, then obviously, the answer would be NO!
Is the same happening in other Countries? I don't know, because I haven't looked into it.
In America, it's ridiculous. All the companies who claim to be non-profit or advocate on behalf of citizens for aid here and abroad, simply don't do enough.
It's proven by the statistics that are available to citizens. Example: one study done in 2000 rated the top 200 American based non-profit companies and NONE of them qualified or met Federal Regulation requirements.
That is ridiculous. And, extremely sad.
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