I just read a post today about a journalist in
Now, the question about donating money in
But what happens then? What happens the next day and the day after that, when there is no one around to hand out that free cash that the receiver didn't have to work for? There is a new trend in the aid world (which is running short of good ideas, it seems) to distribute free cash all over poverty-stricken areas. This is not the time to talk about the politics behind such actions, but if I have learned one thing during the media famine hype of 2005 in
Back to cash distribution (our new Western new contribution to development), what do we really think will happen when people who have gotten accustomed to Westerners distributing free cash (at a slight cost of one's dignity, of course) one day have to stand on their own again? Where is the sustainability in such aid and do we honestly believe that we have done them a favor?
Though I love
For years we worked in silence in the least developed area in the least developed country in the world - seeing real progress amongst our dedicated
As for the consequences of these fantastic handouts, I was both shocked and devastated when I listened to the people around me.
"We know that we're not dying of famine and the images they show on television are clearly exaggerated”, people commented as we talked about the media attention compared with real life. “However, the fact remains that we are poor and they are rich - and it is no more than right that the rich should finally take responsibility for our situation and share some of their wealth!"
My heart broke that year. At first, I thought that the Holy Cows did not know what they were doing; that they meant well and that they just didn’t have the knowledge or the patience to sit down and think through whether or not they were doing the country a service or not. But then I started to hear their arrogance, directed both at the national authorities of
I know there is a difference between a Western journalist paying for an article and aid agencies that should know better but that just doesn’t care, but the problematic remains. Though we do not want to admit it because it’s such a great way of settling our bad conscious, free cash donations only kill people’s own motivation to help themselves and make it all the harder for us long-term helpers to achieve sustainable development.
We all know that we can’t adopt the adult population of poverty stricken areas and feed them indefinitely, so if we really do want to help the poor, we need to give them the resources to rise and stand on their own feet. I love
I love my work in
For more information about the media carousel of