ERADICATION OF POVERTY IN AFRICA: GIVING FOREIGN AID DIFFERENT PERSIPECTIVE
Going by the article posted in the guardian newspaper by Martin Drewry” it is time NGOs admit aid is not going to save Africa” on 22nd July 2014 and the response from the readers, we have an obligation as Africans to take stock of what we have achieved this far through foreign AID. For so long, we have had money channeled to various NGOs trying to empower African communities either nationally, regionally and even within specific communities.
For instance in Kenya where I am writing this article, several slums, has been on aid for several years. But I am ashamed to say that now; these people need more help than ever. Then this validates martin and his development progressive forum colleagues’ opinion, looking afresh at what ails African countries. How will one explain the persistent dependence of slum dwellers on aid and their stunted growth in development? How will one explain the ever-increasing illiteracy level when we have a hundreds of NGOs dealing with alleviating illiteracy in communities? How will one explain the dilapidated nature of infrastructure in African countries while we have well established multinational companies being contracted to do the development?
The development status for African countries, logically after several decades of aid should be better than we are at the moment. We should expect the literacy level to be above average, we should expect fewer campaigns for maternal health, we should be talking less of child mortality rate, and we should be talking less of curable diseases like malaria and TB. However we are doing exactly the opposite, here according to me is the problem,” bad African leadership”.
Unless we get people who are concern about other people’s well-being, even if Africans are given trillion dollars they will still remain underdeveloped. Thanks to those who sacrifice their luxury from abroad to donate some dollars to come and help those suffering in Africa and other developing nations. Thanks to the developed countries which are giving aid to help develop the infrastructure in African countries. For instance, the World Bank, USAID, UKAID and many others they have had an impact in reduction of HIV transmission.
However as we appreciate the efforts of this AIDs we also need to give our opinion on its utilization. To start with when we are given the donations, multinational companies should not be given the contracts to build the facilities rather locals should be trained to know how to do it and then let them do it themselves maybe under supervision. Until the majority of the people have the capacity to do something for themselves we will always be in need of the aid. To build a person cannot be achieved by giving palliatives but by discovering the problem and finding ways to solve that it. If we addressed the challenges of leadership in Africa we will have sorted the root cause of poverty in developing countries. African problems can only be solved if we fixed the leadership problem. Empowering the people, masses, majority, not the privileged few who own the NGOs
Ownership and leadership are critical components of self-reliance and self-determination. Those giving aid to NGOs should check on the strategy used in offering service to the community. If the strategy is not anchored in building capacity of the people to own the project then that donation will not be of essence to them. Capacity building should be about helping others to discover their abilities, gifts and talents. Until we realize that our only way to reach to the core cause of poverty in developing countries is about changing our perspective over knowledge base, we will not grow economically, socially or politically. Essentially then, the aid we receive should be used to educate the masses on how to develop themselves by nurturing their abilities gifts and talents. I believe everybody can do something but definitely can’t do everything.
“If you want to change the world start by changing yourself”. We can’t give what we have not. We should develop self-worthy before we can stand on our own. The aid given should have been the starting point of passing quality skills, information and knowledge to the people in developing countries. In 1963, Kenya and Singapore were at the same development level fifty years later, Singapore is a developed country, while Kenya is a developing country. While reading through the book by lee kuan yew, from third world to first, I am amazed how the author, the former prime minister of Singapore invested in a social empowerment. Investing in building the skills of his people, in Kenya, leaders continued amassing wealth and fighting over resources that were left by the colonial chiefs a reason we are where we are ‘a third world country still in need of foreign aid’.
A classic example of what should be done. Like Singapore and other developed nations who concentrated in helping their people use their strength, talents building their country. We should now refocus our energy and resources we receive from donors to invest in social entrepreneurship. We should start demystifying the potential of youth bulge in Africa as a platform for a social revolution where everybody is going to use their talent skills and abilities to cause a change in the world. To the developing nations, if we empower the masses, the elite class will never have an opportunity to exploit us to get into political power. This way we will get leaders who are hungry of serving others not greedy ones using our vulnerability to climb up the social ladder and start eating honey alone without minding the people who helped him/her.
I look forward hearing from you dear readers on how to eradicating poverty in Africa using a social investment model.