Are we really helping?
Aid workers in developing countries may think they are helping the local population, but can giving aid actually hinder progress? Andrew Bastawrous and coauthors explain why they think that short sighted good intentions can often do more harm than good
By the time you have finished reading this, 200 children will have died from extreme poverty. Each year 10.6 million children die from preventable disease, one every three seconds.1 Six per cent of the earth's population possesses 60% of its resources; the rich die from diseases of overeating and the poor die from diseases of undereating. Something here isn't as it should be. We are three young doctors who have recently returned from Madagascar in Africa. We went with the purpose of completing a scientific research project and attempted to teach the local doctors transferable skills. On our return, we reflected, “Did we really help?”
There are many people who believe that not only are our efforts not helping, they are actually making things worse. Michael Maren, author of The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity2 has spent almost 30 years working in the