Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Niger

We've donated some money to Save the Children for aid in Niger, but I read in the paper it is going to take 2 months for any aid to reach. I read a Paul Theroux book a while ago, which actually I hated. He is a bit of a wanker. He alleged that aid was partly responsible for the mess Africa is in. Some of it of course made sense, for example he talked about how aid organisations created huge farms for the Africans to work on, but it ruined their own small-holdings, which were far more sustainable.

Now, I can't believe we should sit by spending hundreds of dollars on delicious meals at Matterhorn when we could be helping. Does anyone know the best way to donate for the money to actually get where it needs to go? If I thought I could actually save some lives, I'd like to do so more.

14 comments:

Em said...

Hmm, interesting, as I just finished reading a book called Collapse, which said that small-scale farms in Africa were rather unsustainable, as they get smaller and smaller as the population grows, and everyone works them to the max cos they need all the food they can grow, so the soil becomes infertile, and generally it's all bad!

Anyway that is only tangentially related... sorry!

It's very difficult getting money where it's needed from what I can tell. Look at the tsunami relief, containers sitting on the dock while people are homeless... Logistics is a bitch.

Martha said...

Alan at Halfpie was writing about that book recently. Was it a good read?

Alan said...

I've been diverted by Harry Potter, so haven't completed it yet.

A bit depressing (I haven't got to the optimistic bit yet), especially the China section. In terms of an "interesting read" though I much preferred his "Guns Germs and Steel". But I think this one is still a very worthwhile read, as it puts into perspective by keeping to the facts the very real problems the world faces.

Em said...

I still haven't read "Guns Germs and Steel", that's next on the list. "Collapse" managed to walk the fine line between "green" and "economic" by sticking to the facts - depressing as they are.

The China chapter was particularly worrying, it's true.

Mike said...

Volunteer time not money, then you're directly making a difference. Maybe approach Save the Children and see if you can help out somehow.

CarolineM said...

Always a tricky one. Some aid must get through, I know people who, I suspect, use the 'it doesn't get through' excuse to not put their hands in their pockets.

Good for you for donating in the first place. Agree about PT - always sounds as if he hates women to me...

Vernon God Little (different subject, obviously..) what a great book!

Martha said...

Yeah, PT is very much one of those "oh the ladies all love me, and I love all the ladies" - but he clearly only likes the ladies who like him... if you get what I mean.

And yeah, Vernon God Little - amazing, weird, genius - and all about poos.

Mike, I really want to help the starving Niger babies! I do my share here with volunteer stuff, but as Caroline says, some money must get through, and I'd like to know who will best deliver.

Mr Reasonable said...

It is a tough one. I have a problem with the Red Cross following the scandals of WWII and allegations of huge costs to run the operation. Still, they are usually there when needed so can't be all bad. What are World Vision like?

Martha said...

I think World Vision teach christianity, which isn't something I think is a necessary part of aid allocation.

We went with Red Cross for the tsunami thing. I guess even if only a small percentage of what we give makes it through it is better than nothing, and the admin in these huge organisations must be immense.

Zilko said...

Wow, u r such a kind person :D

I think if u don't believe the system, why don't u try to do it urself? I mean u do what u can do, maybe it's not a big one (not as big as helping people far far away from ur location) but it's also useful,isn't it? For example, u can give ur money to someone near u who have problem with their financial condition, he can be ur family, neighbour, or someone else... . :D

Or i think Red Cross is a great and trustable organization...
______________________________
www.armandoz.blogspot.com

stephen said...

I wish Paul Theroux would sick to fiction, his travel books are tiresome. O-Zone, on the other hand and for e.g, is amazing. (All IMHO of course.)

Martha said...

I figure he can't be all bad as his son Louis Theroux is quite funny. Bit formulaic, but who am I to talk...

Mr Reasonable said...

Loved Louis in the porn star one. All that talk of wood and his raised eyebrows was a hoot.

Bron said...

World Vision were actually the first to recognise and the first to act with the current crisis in Niger.
They have several child sponsorship communities in the region.
They are in fact a neutral religious organisation, although several thousand of their volunteers just happen to be Christian. :-)
But then who cares who the middle men and women are.. as long as our money gets through to where it's needed eh?!