The difference I have with foreign aid is the very limited role it plays in the long term commitment to helping society become self-sufficient and independent. At best, foreign aid has created dependency, produced corruption, intensified war and made unhealthy heroes of celebrities. Trade is the better option for Ethiopia.
It is Sunday at 2 p.m., local time. I am in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, waiting, together with 10 million people. Waiting for the impact of yet another burden on the already heavily loaded shoulders of this amazing country.
The minute an earthquake (or any emergency) hits, women's organizations are responding. Before the humanitarian machine kicks in, before food aid drops, before reconstruction efforts get started, women's organizations are creating makeshift shelters, finding and preparing food, protecting girls and caring for the sick. They are an essential part of recovery and a huge asset in relief and reconstruction efforts.
In Canada, we have benefits that many people throughout the world do not enjoy, like a robust insurance system and government safety nets. But it is our willingness to step in and help a complete stranger in a time of need that will keep Canada strong as a nation and allow us to weather all storms, big and small.
It is a sobering realization that not a day passes when we are not assaulted with tragic events that happen in the world
Many development projects are the product of the Field of Dreams Syndrome: the naïve belief that if you build a hospital, school or well, somehow, magically, doctors and teachers and maintenance workers will just appear to make the project a success. If we don't empower communities to manage projects independently, we might as well throw our money down the well we just drilled. It's more cruel to promise a better life and not deliver than to never offer aid at all.
The question we hear most frequently from people ready to make a difference is: "Where do I begin?" In our contributions to Impact, we'll tackle some of these questions, using our experience working with communities in Canada and all regions of the world, and in the context of news that's happening right now. This new online community has the potential to bring us together and start making the news instead of just reading it.
Canada received a scolding from its peers Tuesday, with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD
A few months after the earthquake, physiotherapist Mike Landry returned to Haiti to check back in on his patients and help them return home. To this day, rubble still covers the streets of Haiti and it is shocking to see. For someone with mobility issues, it is very difficult to get around.
Remember the 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) that the world's riches nations committed to international development? Whatever became of it? Let's have a 0.7 per cent for a new generation, only this time with the concentration on that one part of the world that has lagged behind -- Africa.
While other major development initiatives -- schools, medical clinics, roads, human rights laws to protect women -- will take years to reach their potential, the digital age lies as a present powerful tool to assist women.
As David Cameron once said, it is "better to mend broken states and act to stop problems before they come to our door." His words resonate because we have come to understand that peace is not just the absence of war, but also the presence of social and economic justice.
David Arap Kilel nearly stumbles up the hill of his slanted farm in pinstripe pants tucked into knee-high gum boots, wet despite the neighbouring dry fields. "I'm the first home in my community with irrigation!" he shouts breathlessly, waving calloused hands.
None of the Canadian government's foreign aid documents are of any help in answering rather simple but important questions, such as what have the hundreds of millions Canada has spent in post-earthquake Haiti or Afghanistan actually achieved?
Prime Minister Harper's new government has indicated that Canada would not increase its bilateral assistance to the current governments in Egypt and Tunisia. Detractors might see a shift to more multilateralism as a pretext for a government keen to reduce spending.