6 September 2010

The Aid Merry-Go-Round

I am increasingly becoming both aware and annoyed at what I now term the, "Aid Merry-go-round."

I am not merely referring to the well known and scandalous syndrome of aid either getting into the grubby little hands of the corrupt, or being diverted to so called, "administration costs" or even diverted to other causes. Nor am I specifically naming those countries that cry out for international aid and berate the global community for not doing enough to help, while at the same time bolstering their arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, that have seen other countries turned to smoldering rubble, even though they never had any in the first place.

Let me explain what I mean when I say, "merry-go-round". I wont mention specific countries as the syndrome applies to just about any country you could care to name.

As publisher of the blog i On Global Trends, I either receive or see press releases from various governments around the world. Often these press releases serve as a mechanism to boast how generous they are when other nations are dealt devastating blows by the indiscriminately cruel fist of Mother Nature Gone Wild. "The government of Alkandistan has donated $10 million to help those affected by the floods in Bastlandia."

Very kind I'm sure.

But hang on a cotton picking minute - wasn't it only a few months back that the world donated vast sums to Alkandistan? Now they are giving it to another country - appearing to be benevolent and casting aside bilateral hatred for the sake of the suffering. When it comes to food aid - there's no such thing as free emergency rations.

In other words, I frequently see that country A gives aid to country B, who a few months later donates to country C who in turn - you get the picture? An aid merry-go-round.

Just to complicate things even more, you can not have aid without someone handling it. This would be fine except that as soon as disaster occurs anywhere in the world, there is a tsunami of NGOs springing up all wanting their share and control. One could build new cities with a population made up entirely of NGO executives and spokespersons. Soon we will have to add new letters to the alphabet to accommodate all the fancy acronyms.

Millions - indeed billions of dollars in aid and emergency funding going from one hand to the other, and long after disaster has struck, I still the poor, the hungry, the homeless on my TV screen fighting over food and medical supplies - as the NGO executives busily fill in an expense claim for another conference in a safe, stable and affluent city or resort.

Wherever you may be - be safe
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