The issue raised is one I struggle with sitting on the board of a religious social services organization. These questions are not confined to global aid. In the recent coverage of the 40th anniversary of Bobby Kennedy's assassination I saw a video clip of him I had not remembered. In speaking of the unintended consequences of government welfare programs of the 60's he said (paraphrasing): They wanted a husband and father, and instead we gave them a check. While his comment related to government rather than NGO programs, and the context was America rather than Africa, the issues are similar. Vulnerable people need help in the present and it must be delivered in the present. Hungry children must be fed and vaccinated today; we cannot wait for the perfect aid paradigm. But we must do so with an eye on tomorrow. What type of aid will allow this person, this family, this community to move from dysfunctional conditions to a place where they not only no longer need aid (or at least not the same type of aid) but are providing help and assistance to others in a way they were previously not able to do.
These issues benefit from theoretical discussions, but as you put your show together, I'd be more interested in hearing from persons who actually have spent significant time helping to operate aid programs--whether overseas or in the US. A combination of academic and actual experience would be wonderful of course. Just don't overlook the voices of the people who face these questions every day as they work in the field with people who are hungry, poor, ill and without hope.
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