Agendas. Earmarking. Goals. While these words do not carry negative connotations in single use, together they have the ability to divert useful funds from being used successfully. Where does our aid go? While this money could be used to implement projects that contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty and promote development in the countries, populations and communities that need it most, funds are being redistributed to areas that lack urgency. For example, Australia is using “AU$375 million (US$390m) in funding from the foreign aid budget to pay for the processing of asylum seekers,” reports Michael Sheldrick in his article Foreign Aid Must Reach the World’s Poor.
USAID, the IMF, the World Bank, even the United States, have certain agendas, certain goals in mind with the money they donate to foreign assistance. However, are the destinations of these funds where the people who struggle to live on $1.50 a day need it most? Many would rather receive the money directly, because they know what they should be spending it on, they know what their family needs better than an aid agency.
We can eradicate extreme poverty within a generation, but we need enough aid, enough of the right kind of aid to do it, and each country, each population living in extreme poverty, should be evaluated and have the ability to self-prescribe themselves what type of aid they need. Those in poverty are not helpless, but they lack the resources and opportunities to step onto the first ladder rung of development. With the right kinds of aid going to the right destinations, whether it is budget support directly to the government, technical assistance or free bed net deliveries, we can end extreme poverty.
– Susie Nathan
Photo Source: Doctors Without Borders