I saw a link to Poverty.com once, and was intrigued. So I clicked (advertising actually works, eh?) and was immediately dismayed. The site is a great example of what not to do- pictures of young children with sad eyes popping up in Africa, Asia, and South America. They slowly fade, as a “Hunger Deaths this hour” counter is incremented.

On the side are links to articles about problems caused by poverty- Malaria, Measles, etc. Under that, the site says: “A solution: International Aid.”

This goes against everything I have learned about development work. It shows poverty (correctly) as the cause of many problems, but overlooks the causes of poverty. Poverty is looked at as something that happens only to non-white people (not true either.)

Also, believe it or not, international aid is NOT a solution. Yes, it helps people have food, etc., but it does not change the systems that impoverish so many people. Also, according to The Globalizers by Jeffrey T. Jackson, the vast majority of international aid actually goes back to businesses in the giving country. For example, in building El Cajon dam in Honduras, the USAID gave millions to the project. However, the majority of that money went to contractors in the U.S. to build the dam. Instead of training local people to build a dam (or even allowing the local people to decide if they WANTED the dam), outsiders came in, prescribed a solution (that came up faulty in the end), and paid themselves well to do it.

Sadly, poverty is not an easy issue, with international aid being a cure-all. Should you give? Yes, but make sure that the money will be going to projects that are people centered, and not money centered.

Posted in old blog, Random Ramblings

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