Friday, February 5, 2010

Earth to 3rd World..HELLO?

Today's will be a rather short post. I felt the need to share this short tale with you all and leave you with what I hope will be some riveting questions whose answers may spark insight in others, while in some of questions may just seem obvious and you may be thinking that I am the one that's just catching up with the reality of things. Anyway, here we go...
This past weekend we hosted a friend over at the house and she sporadically was coaxed into spending the weekend with us. As we sat around the dinner table talking about the condition of the world, we found ourselves thrown into a discussion on development, foreign aid and the entire realm of international aid organizations that have been built around this idea of heroism of sorts. Yes, I know it sounds rather boring that all we could think to do was delve into discussions centered on the chaotic world of development...but it came rather naturally since most of us in the room had at one point or another worked for a NGO/non-profit/international aid organization. Anyway, carrying we were discussion what exactly these organizations do to enhance development in 3rd world countries, it dawned on me to ask this question. Considering the billions of dollars and euros that go into projects that are all meant to have the self- sacrificing, sanctimonious purpose of developing the 3rd world, why is it that education projects, rehabilitation projects, safety projects, humanitarian projects are never ending? It could easily be that we do in deed need that much help...sure! But instead of going and feeding fish to the man every chance we get, could it not be better, and CHEAPER to go in there, teach the man how to fish, give him the resources to do so and watch him grow (notice the metaphor) that not the essence of development? I don't know about you all but it makes me wonder why the wiser, cheaper option is not put in place (practically...because we all know that it is theoretically) there something more that lies beneath this hero we call foreign aid?



Samora said...

Hey Gigee,

Good post, read Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. Really delves into this issue. Analogy is that Aid to Africa is kinda like NASA and Mars, although they know no life can exist in Mars they keep pumping millions into space projects.

Truthspeak said...

Hey Sam,

Thanks so much for your comment. I'll definitely get to reading the book you recommended. Bottom Billion is also FANTASTIC for all things foreign aid and economic structuring...I think you'd love it if you haven't read it yet. Love your work by the way. Shout out to can all find him at


Dorcas said...

I think that donors realize that they are give they can control, and ask to receive even more than they deserve... Keep the oppressed in their place but make them think that you're trying to get them out.

Valerie said...

hey Gigee,

Would it not be quite liberating if we(third world) countries would be taught how to fish. However, the sad reality is the donors need a hold they will offer the help but with certain conditions. Colonization is still strife just clothed different!

Gigee Nyaga said...

Valerie & Dorcas,

So true! The bright side of this nightmare though is that I think there's enough of us pursuing a good education and great experience so that we can get to a place where we can push our country forward without necessarily needing as much outside aid as we think we do now. In a couple of years, it will be bye bye third world!


coordinator said...

I saw glimpses of the dilemma you face in articulating state formation and articulating the state social responsibility. Indeed well put there are poor people in Kenya. However, what seems to create problems in Kenya is knowing that some people are responsible for other people not being able to eat and drink-basic human right for survival-very basic. The gullible will blame it on the citizens and the semi-enlightened will advocate generational shift, inclusion without a paradgim shift. State making lies in a common context. America was built by Englands social misfits, societal rejects of the Elizabethan era that was fast crumbling under the weight of an emmancipation at the bottom. Some of the perceived enemies of the state, who had rejected outrightly that they would not stay at the bottom jumped to the ship and crossed the Atlantic to replicate the same social order they were begining to revolt against in England. Australia was the same evolutionary state formation accident with the jail birds shipped to Australia. I know and understand that it does not resonate well with a few readers who will not be bothered to learn from History. We have been taught over and over again, but we continue to show our obstinate nature to accept new lessons.
Kenyas problem lies in the Kenyans themselves at Independence, taking on the British psyche, abhorance of the people who lined their pockets. The elite in Kenya began to loot the country by subdividing it to themselves; through employement opportunities, scholarships abroad, land, and power. Deliberately premeditating to exclude other Kenyans at the core of national building. The result of such actions is repulsion, abhorance of the system, destruction of trust and planting of suscipicion. These negatives are then exploited to mobilize the less previledged into defending the status quo albeit to share in the glory. For they have nothing to hold on to. It is this exclusion from resources, credit, scholarship, employement, roads, schools, bursaries, name it. That becomes a focus of resentment. This fans the ethnic animosity because what started as a pure exclusion evolves to greed. Greed begets wealth and then wealth is defended from those who look at it and say it is stolen from us. So the political thief defends himself from the social imment thief. This game results into violence of untold measure.
Solution: For the state to put in place a law that will protect it from these excesses. A system that will not just distribute social welfare as a gift or benevolence of the president but rather a system that allows equal opportunity. In areas where injustice has been committed as a result of marginalization like Northern Kenya, or tribal exclusion like the people of the coast over land, reparation and mainstream, preferential treatment to bring them to par with those who enjoyed preferential treatment before. Then lastly allowing all Kenyans to understand their role in nation building. Deliberate effort to sincerely apologize to those whose lives have been upset by government acts of omission. And then commissioning Kenyans into deliberate socail engagement with one another. This fosters trust and trust begets collective action in eradicating poverty through an accountable, transparent regime.

Katch up said...

Aid has all the unwanted strings attached to it. However, 3rd world countries need to take advantage and get the best out of it. Projects ae run successfully or grounded by people, not necessarily that aid is all negative. I have always laid a balme on the leadership of developing countries for find diversion and misuse.

If you find time have a look at this

Truthspeak said...

Thank you all so much for your enlightening comments. "Coordinator", thank you for the history...learning something is always welcome on truthspeak..i hope the readers feel the same way too.