As a professional in the field of international aid and development I feel compelled to share some thoughts on the recent Philippines disaster.
There are several schools of thought when it comes to helping out. Some would argue that sending money outright to any developing country will merely be siphoned off by corrupt government officials or worse groups that would do harm to the local population or ourselves. Alternatively others aren’t so certain about which organization they can donate money to with any degree of fidelity lest it be spent on costly over heard or again be used inappropriately and simply wasted.
Slate magazine recently published an article which speaks to some of these concerns and the financial aid dilemma when it comes to assisting neighbors overseas.
Here’s what they have to say:
“Americans are exceptionally generous in the wake of an emergency. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Americans donated more than $1.4 billion to relief and recovery efforts; they donated $1.6 billion after the 2004 South Asian tsunami. But often these very humane instincts—to help people after a massive disaster—result in inappropriate donations that can actually do much more harm than good.
“Dumping” goods into areas of need also puts local vendors out of business at a time when they need their businesses to recover most. Your son’s old Nikes may put a smile on the face of a child for an instant, but you’ve now undermined his father who sells shoes in the local market, and who is trying to regain his livelihood to help put that same child through school.”