Tag Archives: charity

Ending Foreign Aid to Africa

Foreign aid to Africa has turned the continent into a ‘giant welfare state’ and is one of the direct causes for the rise in poverty rates from 11% to 66% in recent times.

This is according to African author and economist Dambisa Moyo as she adds her voice to the growing group of learned economists calling for an end to foreign aid to Africa.

An interview with Moyo, for the magazine Guernica, offers a new way to look at foreign aid and its impact on the receiving country and peoples.

I think the whole aid model is couched in pity. I don’t want to cast aspersions as to where that pity comes from. But I do think it’s based on pity because based on logic and evidence, it is very clear that aid does not work. And yet if you speak to some of the biggest supporters of aid, whether they are academics or policy makers or celebrities, their whole rationale for giving more aid to Africa is not couched in logic or evidence; it’s based largely on emotion and pity.

via Arts and Letters Daily

Making Donations Easy

Each year, in late December, I make a charity donation. Over the years I’ve chosen a charity in many different ways, but one thing has always been constant: I always choose projects that aim to improve science education.

However, one thing has been constantly improving: the ease of actually choosing, and this year it couldn’t have been easier thanks to two websites I would like to bring to your attention:

  • The Big Give: a well–designed site connecting over 5,000 charities worldwide with donors. You can filter by location, benefactor, sector, and project size (via Intelligent Life).
  • Donors Choose: specialising in U.S. education, this site connects donors directly with the classroom requiring help.

Why Local Content Matters

Google.org on helping technologically developing countries in Africa gain a global voice: allowing them to be producers, not just consumers, of knowledge.

Today, Swahili books online for example, number in the hundreds compared to the hundreds of millions of books in English available online. What message does this send to young people about the relative importance of their knowledge, language, and culture?

An important (rhetorical) question.

The Millionaire and the Squatter

Originally an idea for “professional philanthropic development”, Michael—a multi-millionaire who’s giving away $78m over a 10 year period—lived with a homeless Chicago man for one weekend. Freakonomics covers the story in Michael, Meet Curtis: Philanthropy Gets Personal.

Curtis cooked another plate of chicken and beans. He was about to eat it, but once again he offered it to Michael. This time Michael accepted. Michael looked overwhelmed; his face was perspiring. Curtis refilled his coffee and gave Michael one of his cigarettes to calm him down.

“Not everyone lives like this,” I said. “And don’t feel bad for Curtis.”

“No!” Curtis exclaimed. “Don’t pity me,” he said, pouring some whiskey in Michael’s coffee. “This will help you sleep tonight…” Curtis lit a cigarette and leaned back on his busted plastic chair. “Just understand that you got to be creative. Even if you got a home, you still got to pay rent — so you take in somebody now and then. Maybe you let your friend stay in the house and they watch your kid, or clean up, or pay you…” Curtis kept on talking. Michael kept on eating.

Unsubscribe from Human Rights Abuse

Unsubscribe is an Amnesty International campaign asking you to ‘unsubscribe’ from the human rights abuses undertaken around the world in your name. Illegal detention and torture are just two of the acts that are common place in the so-called ‘War on Terror’, and guilty or not, people deserve better treatment than what they currently get in (illegal) prisons around the world.

To raise awareness of this campaign, Amnesty produced two excruciatingly powerful films showing, for real, the CIA-endorsed torture techniques enhanced interrogation procedures currently used around the world on prisoners who are yet to face a trial (i.e. in the eyes of the law, they are still innocent)*.

Waiting for the Guards depicts the horror of Stress Positions, held for a measly six hours.

The Stuff of Life shows us – in a real and unambiguous way – that ‘waterboarding’ is torture, not an interrogation technique. (Currently only available on the campaign’s main page.)

Whether or not you agree with the politics (although it’s difficult not to), these films are worth a watch – they are exquisitely directed and produced. The making of clip for ‘The Stuff of Life’ is also worth a watch.

* Only 1 in 10 people at Guantanamo are expected to face charges (and a court) – the rest will be set free without charge.