Saturday, 26 January 2008

Philanthropy: The beginning of the end of development

It is great that Microsoft, Dell, Google and other big private sector movers and shakers want to join the global battle of fighting hunger and poverty. The question we should ask ourselves is how can they and how will they reconcile their quest to make money and profit with serving the most needy..... Will pumping in money solve the problem? Will parachuting inappropriate technology solve the problem? The answer is NO!!!! What they need to do is not DO IT ALONE, but in partnership with those who have been in the business for decades....... They pledged to work with the UN, civil society and the NGOs, but will they and if they do on what conditions? Their conditions?

It goes without saying that with the entry of foundations in the development arena and their with big bucks and lots of them ,the balance of power will and has changed.... but will it be sustainable? Gates may have recruited the creme de la creme from the development world, but will these top people be able to and given the space to implement sustainable development...... or will they pursue the photo opportunity, press and media coverage and be forced to put those who they are supposedly serving on the back burner!!!
All this public action is great. People have to be made aware of the plight of the 1 billion poor people. But to really and truly help the 1 billion poor people, we need structured, thought-through, sustainable plans. These plans need to be developed with the poor people and their organizations.
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