Until such a time that all people living in developing countries have access to quality education, full employment, clean water and sanitation, adequate housing – the basic means for one to better one’s life, we are going to keep hearing the call for individuals and organisations to open their wallets and provide help through any means possible.
In this raging aid debate let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Yes, there is good aid and there is bad aid. Instead of turning our heads away from the neediest in our societies, we need to be smart. Research the organisations to which you are sending your money. How is the money spent? What percentage goes to their overhead versus what is actually spent on the people that need it? And when you look at the projects they are funding, are they sustainable or are they just a flash in the pan? When the aid workers have left will buildings and equipment remain unused because no one bothered to train the local population on how to use them appropriately?
Another part this to consider, is this – what is the local/regional/central government doing to address the problem we are seeking to solve? Are they actively engaged and are we disincentivising them when we step in with our good intentions? This one is a little more complicated but worth looking into nonetheless.
In a nutshell we should be looking at endeavours that give people a boost up the ladder to success in their lives. Just a few things to think about before jumping on the "let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps" wagon, not everyone has the boots to begin with.