Have you watched this?
Have you watched this?
It’s worth noting that Food Columnist Mark Bittman of The New York Times joined the fasting trend this week to call attention to U.S. budget proposals that slash programs for the poor and hungry. As he mentions in his Tuesday column “I surprised myself; after all I eat for a living. …
Remember the earthquake in Haiti? Of course you do, and there’s a good chance you donated money to relief efforts. Now, remember the flooding in Pakistan? Maybe, since it was just last summer, but did you also give to it? Chances are you didn’t. In fact, not nearly as many people did. Just take a look at this new infographic from Good magazine that compares donations—both individual and organizational—for the two disasters.
Another theory, spelled out in a recent New York Times article, is that people give more to immediate, quick-hitting disasters, such as an earthquake or tsunami. We can see the crumbled buildings; it all happens at once. Whereas a slow-building disaster, such as a flood, occurs over weeks and months. By the time a final tally of the human and economic toll is available, our attention has moved on.
Five weeks after the Haiti earthquake, 48 aid groups polled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy had collected three-quarters of a billion dollars. Five weeks after the flooding in Pakistan, a similar poll found 32 aid groups had collected just $25 million.In all, $3.4 billion has been collected for the victims of the Haiti earthquake as of October, with more than $1.1 billion coming from private donations, according to figures compiled by the United Nations. Close to $1.7 billion has been pledged for Pakistan, but less than $300 million came from private donors. The United States government pledged almost one-third of the total.Humanitarians have long struggled with this paradox. The number of dead, along with the swiftness and drama of their demise, trumps almost any amount of agony among those who survive a disaster, particularly a creeping one. [emphasis mine]
Bono had a great op-ed in Saturday’s New York Times introducing us to some of the most important players in African development–business people, artists and activist who are working toward a new kind of hope.
Aid, it’s clear, is still part of the picture. It’s crucial, if you have H.I.V. and are fighting for your life, or if you are a mother wondering why you can’t protect your child against killers with unpronounceable names or if you are a farmer who knows that new seed varietals will mean you have produce that you can take to market in drought or flood. But not the old, dumb, only-game-in-town aid — smart aid that aims to put itself out of business in a generation or two. “Make aid history” is the objective. It always was. Because when we end aid, it’ll mean that extreme poverty is history. But until that glorious day, smart aid can be a reforming tool,demanding accountability and transparency, rewarding measurable results, reinforcing the rule of law, but never imagining for a second that it’s a substitute for trade, investment or self-determination.
Refering to Mo Ibrahim, an innovative leader fighting corruption in Africa, Bono concludes:
I for one want to live to see Mo Ibrahim’s throw-down prediction about Ghana come true. “Yes, guys,” he said, “Ghana needs support in the coming years, but in the not-too-distant future it can be giving aid, not receiving it; and you, Mr. Bono, can just go there on your holidays.”
This sentiment is exactly what we are working for at Heifer. Already, in communities from Sierra Leone to Cameroon, Mo Ibrahim’s prediction is coming true. Through Heifer’s model of Pass on the Gift development recipients are becoming donors, year after year. With a rising generation of leaders and donors an end to aid is on the horizon–soon we will have only the exchanging of gifts.