Helping or Hindering?

  (07 March 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

In part because of our Christian heritage, we in the West consider it our humanitarian duty to help people in need. Trouble is, we don’t always do it in a discriminating or particularly intelligent manner.

 

Noel Pearson, among others, speaks of the need to cure Aboriginal communities in Australia of welfare dependency. Now Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo (as Damien Murphy in the  Sydney Morning Herald observes) has made the same point about aid for Africa.

 

Surely the issue is not so much aid per se, but the form in which it is delivered. The huge ‘Band-Aid’ style projects do not, apparently, result in well-targeted aid. Groups such as Oxfam which focus on helping local communities become healthier and more self-sufficient seem to me a better bet for Western philanthropists.

 

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