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Big Ideas Kill International Development and Relief?

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  • Big Ideas Kill International Development and Relief?

    I'm fairly new to the international development community, but I just read this great article on the New Republic site...

    Click here to view the article.
    Live your dream, don't dream your life.
    Chris L-S, CEO/Owner/Administrator, Disaster.Com

  • #2
    My thoughts are that many organizations and rich people are not taking enough time to really get to know the needs and culture of the people they are wanting to help. Without cultural understanding their plans do not work well because they are foreign concepts to the people and not something the people understand to be helpful and thus may not want to continue. For instance, if in a certain culture, girls do not go to school because school is not something they need in their traditional roles in the family, you can't just come in a set up a school for girls because the families will not see any point in sending their daughters when the girls could be working at home. Before you can get girls educated, you have to convince the people that there is a practical reason for girls to be educated.


    • #3
      I have been thinking along these same lines for some time now. Having participated in recent relief operations, I know for a fact that many government units and non-profit organizations equate disaster relief with donations. They think that donations alone can uplift communities scarred by tragedy when in the first place, there's more to be done than simply giving out resources. Some do offer stress management seminars, but even those efforts aren't enough to help victims overcome the trauma they just went through. In a previous post, I cited the role of empowerment modules and/or programs in helping victims see the need to move forward and use their situation as their source of strength for the future.


      • #4
        arguing that donations are investments, not gifts
        Ummmm..... not to be cynical but how the h@%$ do you "invest" in suffering? Sorry, weird concept to me.

        Stepping up to the soap box.

        OK, I will lay this out the best I can. Disclaimer, I do not mean to offend or demean anyone or any organization. I do not wish for anyone to think I have anything against any person or organization involved. I commend those who attempt to alleviate any suffering they can regardless of what that alleviation method may be.

        Having said that I will say this.

        I have not and never will ever donate money to ANY relief organizations because they are not solving the problems in my eyes, merely masking them. Billions upon billions of dollars have been poured into so many organizations, such as feed the children and children's international, and yet these same areas are in no better shape years later then when they were first presented. Why is that? Maybe because they are using the money in the wrong manner.

        "Feed a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a life time." They send areas food and medical supplies. WONDERFUL! They need it, but why not at the same time try putting up alternative power sources such as wind, solar, water, or Geo-thermal generators to give them electricity. Atmosphere water generators or water filtration systems to give them clean water to drink. Green houses to grow fresh vegetables so that they will have food on a daily basis that they can eat or sell to make money for other things they may need. Another idea would be to set up jobs for them to work that helps them to purchase the items they need for hygiene. They can open soap making plants for instance. Do you realize how many rich people will pay $10 a bar just because its hand made?

        As the article said, attendance in the schools rose higher after children were treated for parasites.... HELLO! Of course this would effect their education because not only are they in attendance.... they are not suffering from the ill effects of the parasites allowing them to concentrate on their education.

        Everything plays a part in the relief of a community. From standard of living to jobs. A child can not get a good job to feed and care for his family later in life is they are starving or sick. I am not saying that there are not areas that help is much harder because of rebel wars and such, but there are so many areas that can be helped by the methods above that will alleviate their community to grow. Then that opens the money the organizations are getting to concentrate on helping in the areas where assistance is much more difficult to find ways to permanently alleviate their suffering.

        I leave with saying this... there is no excuse for anyone to have to suffer. We live in a society that is technologically capable of ending so much of it... it only takes someone to realize it and go forward with it. If I had the money, I would be the first to try.