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How Not to Do International Aid

Found this post a week ago or so, but wanted to share it with you. Matador Change highlighted what it calls the seven worst international aid ideas. Here are the intro, the seven ideas, and the conclusion:

Maybe their hearts were in the right place. Maybe not. Either way, these are solid contenders for the title of “worst attempts at helping others since colonialism.”

  1. One million t-shirts for Africa
  2. TOMS Buy-One-Give-One
  3. Machine gun preacher
  4. 50 Cent ransoming children in Somalia
  5. Donor fund restrictions
  6. Making food aid the same color as cluster munitions
  7. Making USAID a foreign policy tool

Sometimes bad aid is just the consequence of someone caring too much, but knowing too little. Other times it’s people who should have known better not being diligent in considering the consequences of their actions. And sometimes politicians and unscrupulous businessmen are simply manipulating the suffering of others for their own ends. When it’s benign or thwarted, it’s easy enough to laugh it off. But when a bad idea is carried through, the results can be diabolical.

You can read their comments about what is wrong with each of these ideas here. If you want to connect with an organization making a positive difference while avoiding these pitfalls, check out Hope International.

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