Monday, November 05, 2007

Solving African Poverty without Massive Aid

Fire of Liberty

Aside from a smattering of Bush top appointees at the State Department, World Bank, USAID, and some members of Congress, D.C. is full of individuals and bureaucrats are admirers of Jeffrey Sachs and thus believe that the best way to get the peoples of Africa our of poverty is to load them down with tons and tons of financial aid to the governments of these countries. Now while it's a great thing to believe in such idealistic actions, the sad reality is that the sending of such massive sums to such countries, with little or no controls or monitoring(This is more of the general populations of such organizations), only perpetuates them further down the proverbial "highway to hell" because the money never makes it to the people because their leaders take the money, spend it on wasteful programs. Even more, the sending of such money creates a international welfare system that generates greater dependency amongst the leadership of these nations and induces more bad behavior that continues to mire them in greater policy. Now as a conservative, I fall into the "less government is better" column and believe that the best way to end this poverty train is for this country to get out of the aid business by phasing out these ineffective programs and transition to micro-loans, private charities, and other programs that promotes the individual to learn a trade, start up a business thus helping people help themselves and kick dependency to the the curb.

One shinning example of how a private charity can go to Africa and teach the people how to pull themselves out of the mire of poverty is a charity called BeadForLife. According to this article by Jessica Scranton in the Christian Science Monitor, BeadForLife is charity in which the poor women of Uganda are given jobs in which they take recycled magazines, posters and cut, roll, and apply a waterproof coating thus transforming one's trash into nice looking necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry that is sold in the West. Not only does BeadForLife provide these poverty stricken mothers with skills but it also allows them to eke out a good income that allows them to make a down-payment on the purchase a home in a village built by BeadForLife and Habitat for Humanity. All in all, BeadForLife does a far better job in helping the poor mothers of Uganda than the massive amounts of aid that has been shipped to all these countries in the past. I just hope others follow suit.

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