Surely you have witnessed it countless of times before; developed nations providing aid to countries that are considerably less fortunate. From hand-me-downs to canned goods and other donations in kind, there is a constant supply of aid given to those who have access to limited resources, especially during times of struggle.

In most occasions, there are monetary handouts as well; usually directed towards the hands of the local government agencies.

Those who provide aid feel good about what they have done; they think highly of their action and feel that they have helped someone in need. But unless donations, especially monetary ones, reach those who are in need, then the cause is lost to corruption.

Especially in African and Asian countries where financial aid is often requested from and provided by developed countries, corruption is a growing problem that is continuously fueled by mismatched expectations by those providing and receiving aid.

Many have said that it would be better if monetary donations stopped and actual assistance be provided instead. Case in point, developed countries should really stop giving money to poorer nations as this is usually doing more harm than good.

Instead, they should work to provide alternative forms of aid like training and education so that these poorer nations will be better able to handle everything from internal issues to calamity responses. Either they can learn to prevent them from occurring, reduce their impact, or respond better to the situation at hand should these problems strike.

When developed countries help out by giving cash donations, these go directly into the hands of government officials or agency heads. For the donors, all they’re really banking on is trust; trust that whoever gave their donations to will use these to purchase resources to distribute to those in need, or use the money to invest in medical supplies and equipment, infrastructural repair, and so on.

Although there is nothing wrong with helping out, not only do cash handouts trigger corruption (as agency personnel can keep donations for themselves without anyone being the wiser) but it also creates a sense of entitlement and dependency among the people from poorer nations.

Knowing that they can always ask for help from other countries and that most of these countries will surely oblige, the leaders and locals from indigent countries no longer act to protect themselves from within. There is limited education or training on safety, calamity precaution, preparation, and such. There is no motivation to improve as there will always be someone else to do the job when needed.

If all of these were tossed aside and developed countries instead invest in training or education on how to improve societal awareness and community relationships, they will be doing a much better job in the sense of providing aid.

This is because they are providing the kind of knowledge that can serve its purpose for generations to come. It will also encourage poor nations to be confident in their skills, thus motivating them to develop from within.

- By Camtu Suhonen


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