Foreign or other resources that the country might need.

Foreign aid to developing countries has been an area of dispute over many years, especially given its implications to reduce poverty and improve developing countries’ economy.  The purpose of foreign aid is meant to help developing countries by providing money, food, or other resources that the country might need.  Despite humanitarian aid seeming to have such great intentions, the execution might not be accomplishing the grand plan. In the late 1960s, one of the first humanitarian crises to reach a mass audience was the Biafra Airlift. The Biafra Airlift crisis occurred post World War II, this war is most commonly known as the Holocaust. During World War II, there was mass genocide implemented by the Germans at that time, as well as a lot of concentration camps that had extreme starvation occurring and it was a horrible and devastating time in the world. Due to the world having been through such a horrible event and witnessing the devastation, in the late 1960’s, when images emerged of starving kids from Biafra, much of Europe was reminded of the holocaust. Those images provoked the emotion of sympathy and despair in many of the people who were witnessing these images. This sympathy and despair motivated a lot of people to want to make a difference. Protesters called for action so persistently that the Nixon administration put together the largest non military airlift the world had ever seen. Only a quarter-century after Auschwitz, one of the largest German Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps of the Holocaust in World War 2, humanitarian aid seemed to offer the world a new hope for fighting evil without fighting a war.Growing up in today’s society, especially where technology is at our fingertips, it makes it more accessible for the civilians to view what is going on in the world’s developing countries.  When I was a little girl, I used to watch television all the time and I would see countless amounts of advertisement that would appear that were asking for people to donate to help the starving children of developing countries.The media put out images of children with protruding ribs and bloated stomachs, their arms and legs looked no thicker than a stick. Seeing such horrific images arose a sentiment of sympathy and sorrow in much of the civilizations in the  developed countries of the world. Seeing the tragedy that was occurring in these underdeveloped countries made many Americans and Europeans want to do anything possible to help. As a young girl, I felt nothing but pity for these nations whose children were starving, who had to attempt survival without potable water, whose people were plagued by AIDS, and who were ultimately economically unstable. I, too, was influenced by the sentiments and emotions that were evoked by those images. All I wanted to do was donate money and clothes and anything else I  could, that the media was asking from society, in order to help the people stricken by hardships. (Without potable water , AIDS plagued their people) These humanitarian aid programs that were airing all over America and Europe were portraying these developing countries in a state of penury, and darkness making Europeans and Americans feel inclined to help. As I got older, more and more news articles began appearing stating that most of society’s donations to these humanitarian aid programs that were meant to help the people of developing countries, were in fact not going towards helping the ones in need, instead they were just profiting the people working under that organization. Not only were there news articles stating that our efforts were useless, but that we were in fact causing more harm than help to those developing countries. When I was younger and far more impressionable I didn’t realize that I was only looking at one half of the big picture. I was only viewing these developing countries the way the media was portraying them instead of trying to view the whole country.  Now that I am older, I have found myself with an interest in finding out the truth about the development of Africa. To what extent does humanitarian aid really help developing countries or is it causing a negative impact to their culture and economy? How does humanitarian work affect the culture?   In an attempt to help those in need Americans and Europeans donate countless of materials that could actually influence the countries culture. One of the things that is most commonly donated and meant to help is educational supplies such as books. Americans and Europeans donate tons of thousands of literature books ranging from chapter books to children’s books all in the hopes of helping that countries society. When donating these books everyone believes they are doing an act of humanitarianism, that they are helping to improve the literacy rate and the developing countries educational standing. What people lack to see is the cultural impact this will cause by influencing the minds of the readers in these developing countries. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008. She was invited to do a Ted talk to enlighten people and she decided to take this opportunity to bring the danger of a single story into the light. She discusses how she was influenced at a young age about what a piece of literature should look like based on the standards in which Americans and Europeans wrote them. Growing up she read countless of children’s books, all of the books originated from the United Kingdom. When she was seven years old she wrote a book full of pale skinned, blue eyed people. Her books were filled with objects she, herself , had never been exposed to and that she knew nothing about, such as ginger beer and apples. Chimamanda didn’t know that people that looked like her, with colored skin and eyes darker than chocolate,  could be in literature, that her characters did not have to drink and eat foods she herself never drank or ate. This demonstrates how impressionable people are in the face of a story, especially if that’s the only one being told repeatedly. Chimamanda used the example of how she was a child that was impressionable and how when exposed to only one version of a story or the truth it limits them and prevents them from seeing the whole picture. Chimamanda goes on to later discuss how her family had a little boy who would come and work for them. Everytime the little boy would come over Chimamanda’s mother would mention how his family was poor repeatedly and because all she heard was that the little boys family was poor all she ever saw him as was poor. She never thought he could be anything other than poor. The idea that maybe there was more to the little boys family then just poverty came to light when she saw a beautifully woven basket that the little boy’s brother had made. It shocked her that his family could be talented, that his family was not simply poor. This is the same case in which Americans and Europeans view developing countries. When everything that is being seen and heard targets the negatives of a developing country and the positives and amazing aspects of the country are overlooked it cripples them in the eyes of others. For example, people only view Nigeria as a continent that is stuck in the past. An underdeveloped continent riddled with countries that lack technological advance that is nothing but plains surrounded by wildlife. Americans and Europeans think that Nigeria lacks clean, drinkable water and that they do not have bathrooms and that people live in tents. People are always a bit shocked and in disbelief when they discover that Nigeria is a fairly well developed country and isn’t just empty plains lacking infrastructure. How does it affect a developing country’s economy? In many instances there has been a negative impact on a developing country’s economy because of humanitarian aid. Americans and Europeans see all the starving children and end up creating a grotesque market. In reality the humanitarian aid programs are capitalising their problems and making them worse. In some cases they are hurting the country’s economy rather than helping it by creating a sense of economic dependency in the developing country. Instead of putting money into developing the countries factories, roads and other infrastructures so that the developing countries economy can grow and strengthen, the foreign aid is keeping them in a  sense of dependency. There is a saying that states, “You can catch a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach a man to fish and feed him for life.” That seems to be the same thing that can be done for countries such as Ethiopia. The  World Food Programme (WFP) is known to provide food relief to many countries that have needed their help.  Opposed to helping Ethiopia they have instead set Ethiopia in a state of Beneficiary dependency for the past two decades. Beneficiary dependency, refers to the dependency of local people who receive food aid for survival. Since 1984 five million people have been dependent on food aid, Ethiopia being one of the largest food aid recipients. Agriculture in Ethiopia is characterized by its subsistence nature and dependence on unreliable rainfall patterns. Irrigation, the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals, is limited; only about 2% of the country’s arable land is irrigated. Due to the lack of ability to farm and produce their own food they have become solely dependent on the aid. By the United states of America continuously just providing food for the people of Ethiopia there have been claims that Ethiopia suffers from a food aid dependency syndrome that constrains productive investments and hinders sustainable development. Not only is food aid creating a sense of dependency but the aid itself is only contributing to a small amount of overall needs.For households to depend on food aid and opt not to invest available resources in improving their food security, provision of food aid should be reliable.They argued that food aid transfers fail to help them achieve food self-sufficiency. One interviewee said: “We have six family members and we have been getting food aid under the productive safety net program over the last five years. However, the amount of food aid that we have been receiving was not enough to cover our food gaps and we always have to supplement our income from other sources.Economic gains from humanitarian assistance are not evenly distributed among affected populations. This idea that we are affecting the people’s economy led me to wonder how we are hurting them by providing free services. Then i was struck with the question If we provide everything for free what happens to businesses in the area? For example humanitarian programs like Toms one for one shoe promotion. Americans feel more inclined to buy a pair of Toms because they see that by buying one a child around the world will be receiving a pair too. We are inclined to buy them because we think we are helping a child and therefore helping the country, but are we really? Are we limiting the developing countries economies by providing services like Toms? Buy-one-give-one model is an archetype for that classic aid mistake of just giving the answers, instead of teaching the lessons.  While TOMS gives shoes in over 50 countries, their products are made only in Argentina, Ethiopia and China.So most of the drop off locations end up damaging the economy  to any local industry that may have existed prior to the one for one shoe models. A more effective alternative would be to support local business by selling locally made shoes internationally, rather than bringing free ones into the community. Toms is transporting easily made shoes to these small poverty ridden developing countries for free and by doing so local shoemakers are going out of business and are therefore no longer contributing to their countries economy, further hindering their developing country’s economy.

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