Aid Myths Busted

24/05/2012 at 11:27 am 6 comments

(Based on a text written by  ActionAid  Australia, 04 May 2012, with updated references for Ireland.)

  • “If we keep giving people money they will never learn to look after themselves.”

Not all aid is created equal. The kind of aid that helps support dramatic decreases in aid dependence is what ActionAid calls Real Aid – that’s aid which empowers poor people to realise their rights. It might do this directly by supporting smallholder farmers or building schools, or indirectly by helping to create better tax systems and governance.Real Aid is accountable, transparent, and gets the most out of every dollar spent. It supports developing countries to make their own decisions. Real Aid is actually making poor countries less aid dependent. For example, 14 of the 30 most aid-dependent countries in the year 2000 had reduced their dependence on aid (the percentage of government spending that comes from foreign aid) by more than 20% by 2009.1

  •  “We can’t afford to give money away to people overseas when we have poor people in Ireland. Charity begins at home.”

It’s not a case of ‘either or’. The Irish Government spends over €20.5 billion a year on welfare compared to €639 million on overseas development. Ireland is the 16th richest country in the world. And yet the amount spent on aid represents only 43 cent in every €100 of our national income.2

(Also read these comments on the “charity begins at home slogan”, as well as this article explaining how our overseas aid benefits Ireland too)

  •  “Aid doesn’t work. Look how much we’ve already spent and people are still poor and dying of diseases and starvation. What’s the point?”

Not true. Arguing that because aid is found in countries that are poor, it must be the cause of low growth is like arguing that fire engines cause fires because they can be found at the scenes of burning houses3. Real Aid that genuinely targets poverty is very effective. Real Aid has contributed to halving the number of people in poverty since 1990 and reduced the number of children who die needlessly by 10,000 a day4. A DAY.
But despite this huge impact, the world spends less money on Real Aid than it does on video games5. Puts the whole thing in perspective, doesn’t it?
(Also read this article and fact sheet about the impact of overseas aid, and learn more about how other policies undermine the effects of overseas aid)

  • “Aid is wasted on corrupt regimes. Look how much money all those African politicians earn!”

Not true: Aid FIGHTS corruption. Real Aid, which empowers poor and excluded people to stand up for their rights, has been used successfully to combat corruption by investing in independent auditing, free media, community accountability, and parliamentary structures.
Aid also empowers poor countries to increase tax revenues from their wealthier citizens, boosting the amount of money earned to be spent on vital services that help the poor. And speaking of corruption, developing countries lose more money due to tax-dodging by global corporations than they receive in foreign aid every year.6

  • “Aid money is wasted by NGOs who spend it all on administration, not helping the poor.”

Not true: A little administration goes a long way. NGOs on average spend less than 20% of the money they receive on administration7, and independent assessments have found that spending less than this actually increases the likelihood that donations will be ineffective. Would you buy a car because 90% of your dollar went to building it, and only 10% towards designing and testing it?8
Money spent to run programs efficiently makes sure aid is effective for the people it’s supposed to be helping. That’s a sound investment in quality control, not money wasted.

  1. Real Aid – 3, ActionAid International Sep 2011.
  2. OECD ‘statistics from A to Z’. http://www.oecd.org/document/0,3746,en_2649_201185_46462759_1_1_1_1,00.html
  3. 21st Century Aid, Oxfam International, May 2010.http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-137-21st-century-aid.pdf
  4. UNICEF 10 September 2009.http://www.unicef.org/media/media_51087.html
  5. Real Aid – 3, Reuters Online June 2011
  6. Death and Taxes, Christian Aid, 2008
  7. The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer, 2009
  8. GiveWell blog, January 2007. http://blog.givewell.org/2007/01/16/which-of-these-boasts-is-not-like-the-others/

Also watch / read:

Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, NGOs. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Why Ireland invests in overseas aid What to Read – A “Rio+20” anthology

6 Comments Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 209 other followers

Archives

Dóchas on Twitter

The World's Best News - images

Surfing beach vendors of Bangladesh.

A group of 10-12 year old beach vendors in #Bangladesh, most of whom have dropped out of school to help support their families, have taken up #surfing.

24 year old surfer, lifeguard and beach worker Rashed Alam has been teaching the girls at his school/surf club. Like the girls, Alam dropped out of #school and started working on the beach to help support his family at a young age. He started surfing when he was 16. He says that his way of giving back is by ensuring that girls get a good future through surfing.

Read more at http://blog.allisonjoyce.com/?p=486 In #Iran, a female student gets to design and build a spectacular bridge.

Tabiat (“nature”) bridge, the largest of its kind in Iran, was architect Leila Araghian’s first project. She designed it five years ago while a student, winning a local competition for a plan to connect two parks separated by a highway in north Tehran.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/bridge-tehran-architect-iran-leila-araghian-tabiat-sanctions-iranian-designers

#Architects #architecture #women #globaldev #sanctions At “The World’s Best News” we’re on a mission: 
We want to bust some of the enduring myths about global development. 
You can help us by sharing / re-gramming  any of our news stories, so that others will see that extreme poverty has been halved and that developing countries are making huge progress.

Spread the word! “#Baghdad is where everything is happening – it’s like New York." Meet the artists hoping to reinstate Iraq's place in the contemporary art world: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/19/art-in-iraq

Photo: Hussein Adel with one of his drawings. He sells cartoons to newspapers to help pay the rent. Photograph: Ahmad Mousa/Corbis Marooned indefinitely in a desolate wasteland in #Jordan,  it would be easy for these #refugees to give up hope. 
But despite the horrors they have seen and the hardships they now face, the people profiled in this article show resilience and creativity, using their ingenuity to make life better for themselves and those around them. 
Read three inspiring profiles: 
http://tracks.unhcr.org/2015/03/the-inventors-of-azraq/

Photo: Since fleeing #Syria, Jihad, 52, has built a windmill-powered lamp, a mousetrap, a running water tap and other useful items for his home and community in Azraq camp. UNHCR/Jessica Chen Can 'supergeeks' save #Kenya's babies? 
Read about this programme by #Irish NGO Concern which links #healthcare workers and technology students to find innovative high-quality low-cost solutions for #maternity wards in Kenya. 
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32255445 Meet the global feminists changing the world for girls, from Kenya to Egypt.

Around the world, people are not content to sit and complain;
They get up, and take action!

Here are some inspirational young women who are doing just that:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/13/meet-the-global-feminists-changing-the-world-for-girls-from-kenya-to-egypt

#feminism #women #citizenaction #globaldev #positive #positivenews In #Mozambique, African giant pouched rats are helping to clear #landmines left around, after 23 years of civil war.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/why-mozambique-s-rats-are-man-s-best-friend-1.2170059 
Photo: Apopo deminer Victor Boquico gives a banana treat to 'Mocadas 53', who has just found TNT in the soil at the landmine clearance site Dombe in Manica province, Mozambique. 
Photo: Mary Boland #NigeriaDecides.

Despite the threats from the extremist group Boko Haram, this weekend 60 million people voted to shape the future of Nigeria.

At The World's Best News, we like elections. Have a read of these 3 stories:

Africa and democracy:
http://worldsbestnews.tumblr.com/post/102036767325/nothing-ever-changes-have-a-look-at-these

India: http://worldsbestnews.tumblr.com/post/85901866700/the-biggest-elections-on-earth-this-years

Mobile app mobilises voters in Nigeria: 
http://worldsbestnews.tumblr.com/post/90836673125/using-technology-to-bolster-democracy

Photo: AFP Do you remember the movie Slumdog Millionaire?

It made #Mumbai's Dharavi district, one of the world's largest #slums, famous the world over.

The group Slum Gods are proud of their area, but it needs a new image - and they will #dance and #rap to make sure it gets one. 
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/nov/28/slumgods-mumbai-hip-hop-dharavi

Photo: Akash and Sagar of the SlumGods. Photograph: Benita Fernando The small Central American country of #CostaRica is meeting its energy needs without burning fossil fuels.

Thanks to some heavy rainfall this year, Costa Rica’s #hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and #windenergy sources, the country doesn’t need an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on.

Read more: http://qz.com/367985/costa-rica-is-now-running-completely-on-renewable-energy/ How Ethiopia managed to supply water to 48 million people:

In 1990, only 6.9 million Ethiopians drank water from a tap or hand pump, rather than from an open stream. However, in the last 25 years #Ethiopia has managed to supply #water to 55 million people (10x the entire population of #Ireland!) The key to this success has been a combination of strong government leadership and persistent donor investment.

Read more: http://blogs.unicef.org/2015/03/23/how-ethiopia-managed-to-supply-water-to-48-million-people/

Photo: The Ebo clean water project benefits 27, 000 people in seven villages including 15,000 school children, with clean water in their school and households. Young girls now can attend school regularly without spending more time looking for water. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Bizuwerk

Visitors Map

Map

Dóchas Photos

1506_77

1506_76

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 209 other followers

%d bloggers like this: