the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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Give 'em the money

Instead of pouring money into inefficient and often misguided (no matter how well-intentioned) aid projects, how about trusting impoverished people to do what they think is best for themselves and just giving them the money?

A couple of years ago, Oxfam tried the idea out in a few villages in Vietnam. Charity workers gave the equivalent of three years' wages in one go to more than 400 families. When they returned they found that poverty had dropped through the floor, with most of the money spent sensibly on food or fertilisers, seeds and cows. But older people had put some cash towards coffins, explaining that funerals were a major expense. And one group had built a communal house, to practise yoga.

Depressingly, if not unsurprisingly, a great many Grauniad commenters are not very partial to the idea.

{2010.07.02 - 17:07}


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