Sunday, 10 May 2009

Philanthropy - Give and count the cost

This week's Economist carried an article entitled "Philanthropy - Give and count the cost". I must admit I was surprised by the tone of the article and how the journalist failed to make a distinction between charity and sustainable development, as these two ARE NOT synonymous and should not be confused with each other!

The article reads "Governments hope that charities can fill the gap", but fails to stress that heavy reliance on charities will not bring about sustainable development and will not lead to empowering developing countries to come out of poverty, simply because charities wax and wane.

There is a dire need to increase official development assistance (ODA) to allow reputable development, aid and humanitarian organizations who are equipped to deliver sound and robust development programmes to design programmes with local communities with the aim of bringing about long-term progress and help the marginalized and disadvantaged to come out of poverty in a sustained manner.

The article says that foundations wallet's are bulgy. This may be so - but are their programmes effective and reaching out to those who most need them? And if so where is the evidence, where are the numbers, indicators and impact assessments?

If philanthropists want to have any impact and if they want their good will to be remembered and praised, they need to or rather they have to join forces with development agencies. There are enough of us out there doing development work. More will not be better....

If we really want to help those in need, we need to join forces, build synergies and complement each other as opposed to competing with each other by creating new, unnecessary and ineffective and inefficient structures.

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