14 February 2011

Dispelling the Extremes

With the discussions going on about GIK donations the past week, there are a few videos that should be watched as they fit within the overall discussion. One such example is this 2007 TEDGlobal talk from journalist Andrew Mwenda. He is certainly hyper-critical, but touches on how aid can stifle growth.

It is a video worth watching while thinking of the role of GIK distribution. World Vision is getting beat up a bit, but they are certainly not the only organization who does this. They just happen to be the one who made a big deal about it recently.

Two notions must be quickly dispelled:
1) All aid is bad.
2) "Doing something" is better than nothing.

Those two extremes are both wrong and have to be vacated in order to determine what actually works. As in all discussions, sitting on one side and yelling at the other is both useless and harmful when having constructive discussions on how to improve specific actions.

Finally, second hand clothing has had a significant impact on the continent of Africa. In some ways it has made things better (cheap goods) and in other ways worse (decline of textiles). Tomorrow I will share some hard data that looks at the role of the industry.