My HeyDay

Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful

Reflections about Development Aid

"Philanthropy can appeal to people who want to be loved more than they want to make a difference", writes Jacqueline Novogratz , after many years wandering through Africa, continent where she arrived as a naive aid-idealist. And after facing during decades the limits, contradictions and corruption plaguing development aid, evolved to an aid-realist - at least avoiding to become another aid-cynical.

Novogratz also says many other interesting truths:

"It is so often the people who know the greatest suffering--the poor and most vulnerable--who are the most resilient, the ones able to derive happiness and shared joy from the simplest pleasures", and continues in a pessimistic tone, "That same resilience, however, can manifest itself in passivity, fatalism, a resignation to the difficulties of life that allows injustice and inequity to strengthen and grow..."

Aid agencies and organizations are frequently more doing experiments -and failing- than being effective. Add that there is no accountability for their actions, and the flux of knowledge between them is overrun by competition and egos. Said that, things may and should change in the way they operate... or they should disappear. Critical is how knowledge is shared and managed. For this reason, I am pretty optimistic with this new initiative from the social entrepreneurs of Ashoka, in order to solve the chronic ineffectiveness of development aid: in they collectively look at social problems and discuss and propose actions to solve it, one problem at a time. This is a good start, coming from below.


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