"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NGO's in Africa

Are "Buy One, Give One" products like shoes killing the African economy? Here is an article written by R. Todd Johnson titled Is philanthropy killing Africa?

It give a totally different perspective than what I think most people see. I'm not advocating for his opinion, but it's interesting none the less. How do you balance charitable giving & saving lives without crushing entrepreneurs living in Africa?

Any thoughts on his theory?


  1. I think that NGOs who provide immediate needs (clean water, food, medical attention, shelter, and clothing) to those who cannot obtain them on their own are definitely necessary. I mean, how can someone work to support themselves or their family if they are too sick, malnourished, diseased to do so? How can you expect to break generational poverty if you cannot afford to send your children to school?

    This article does have a point (although, I must admit I only scanned through some sections and thoroughly read through others). We must make sure that the support we creates the opportunity for independece, rather than creating dependency. KIVA is a great org. that does loans for people to start their own businesses. He is right when he says most Africans are very naturally entrepenuers, but a lot of times they need a boost because of their poverty to get them going.

    There definitely needs to be a balance, or a long term commitment from NGOs. A commitment that makes their charity personal, like helping the impoverished raise themselves out of poverty and helping them by giving them skills and education to be successful in the work field. Its like that old saying about teaching a man to fish. Except sometimes we can't just teach a man how to fish, we have to feed him and cloth while we are teaching him.

  2. Oh, and 1 more thing. The author somewhat assumes that the people who recieve items, like free shoes, would buy them if they were not given.

    All the kids I have worked with in Africa do not have shoes because the little money they have goes to food. There is never enough money left over for things like shoes. So I think we have to take into consideration he population the NGOs are serving. I am sure it varies from NGO to NGO and from location to location, so I don't think we can outright say one way or the other these things are good or bad in the long run. I think it depends on each situation.