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The Forum > Article Comments > Can donors prove that aid works? > Comments

Can donors prove that aid works? : Comments

By Linda Nordling, published 21/10/2009

Aid agencies, under pressure to prove their worth, should seize the opportunity to make spending more accountable.

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It’s a bit tough on NGOs to demand precise auditing, but bystander scrutiny is well-justified; especially to ascertain and add “-- hard facts to the rhetoric that made organisations like SIDA invest in African science to begin with.”

But it doesn’t take a genius to cotton on to the reality that teaching women, across all of the African continent, how to cross their legs - and providing them with the ability to do so - is a fundamental necessity. That is, if any lasting improvement/repair in social and environmental wellbeing is envisaged.

Whatever/whenever “productivity gain” has been achieved in societies throughout the world, population has expanded to match it so that pressures remain. It has been that way for 10,000 years, since the coming of a benign climate which enabled agriculture. As each agricultural improvement came along, it was accompanied by increased numbers (along with zoonosis and other diseases associated with crowded societies – but they were side-shows); starting from a few millions, to 6.8 billion.

No sweat, that is the way it has always been – numbers follow productive landscapes to overcrowding.

The endorsement and application of Norman Borlaug’s science to agricultural production during the last sixty years provides concrete evidence of the nexus: an almost trebling of world population. We are stuck with it – or are we?

During Borlaug’s time we also developed safe and reliable means of contraception, potentially available for everyone, for the first time on the planet. Delivering that where it is desperately needed, and getting consumer acceptance, is Africa’s (and all of mankinds’) most fundamental need. Without it, all other good efforts will eventually collapse.

There are tremendous fundamentalist hurdles opposing delivery of this humane need for societies. However, one compassionate human displaying a glimmer of success is Bill Ryerson of The Communication Initiative Network – and in this instance may his tribe increase. If only organizations such as SIDA would open their eyes to this reality
Posted by colinsett, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 1:01:47 PM
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What an interesting article and question. I have been increasingly sceptical about the effectiveness of aid to Africa for many years. Billions of dollars poured into various African countries for various reasons. But where and how was all the money spent in Africa and what was achieved? People seem no better off.

I agree with colinsett regarding education on contraception that, among other important issues, comes under the banner of "thirst for knowledge" I would think. In this regard what are the dollars pouring into Africa accomplishing? Not much in the area of education. Is there a "thirst for knowledge"?

Apparently even educated Africans such as Dambisa Moyo believe indiscriminate aid makes poverty worse.

I recall the first "Band-Aid" concert held in London, conceived by well meaning but inadequately informed people; at least one hopes they we well meaning. This indeed turned out to be exactly what it was "a Band Aid" which, when ripped off, had left a suppurating wound. You don't feed thousands upon thousands of people and then walk away.

People in a continent like Africa which, in most areas, is capable of producing abundant food, have to be educated and that is the question is "the thirst for knowledge" there, or have well meaning donations produced a continent of apathetic dependant races?

What of the rich countries of Africa? Where do they stand on this issue, what is their ideation?

Not all Africans are starving, poor or tribal and not all African countries are poor, indeed, quite the contrary.
Posted by RaeBee, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 5:06:36 PM
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