Muddling Through in Mauritania: The Long, Long Road From Revenue Transparency to Government Accountability
Image source: Africa Vernacular Architecture Data Base Image source: BBCIS Compliance-tracking paperwork compiled by NGOs
In terms of loss of human life, this disaster was thankfully far less deadly than the earthquake on January 12, 2010, almost seven years ago now. But the real disaster -- chronic hunger, food insecurity, and dependency -- is yet to come.
International organizations often don't understand the "context" of the issues the way national groups do.
While food distribution is a necessary primary response to the current food crises, curbing climate change and supporting sound governance are just as vital to the interests of all nations.
U.S. officials believe it to be too risky but sending aid airdrops is necessary to help Syrians, especially in the besieged Eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where thousands of Syrians are starving.
Less than 5 percent of American donation dollars went to international causes, and an even smaller fraction was allocated for effective anti-poverty relief. Unfortunately, this means that the majority of American charitable dollars never reaches the people in the developing world, those who need our help the most.
The Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated areas in the world, and the 1.8 million Palestinian residents suffer from economy-crippling mobility restrictions. They survived an exceptionally cold winter, in which at least four babies died of exposure, and are now enduring a summer of record-breaking heat.
I founded Tiny Spark four years ago to investigate philanthropy, nonprofits and socially responsible companies. As a former Africa correspondent, I had seen with my own eyes how difficult is it to have lasting impact in places far from where we live and discovered that well-intentioned projects can sometimes cause harm.
Over the past few days, the Buddhist Relief Services has been distributing food to villagers in the hardest hit regions of Nepal. We understand, what I call, Ground Reality; we see and hear what is happening on the ground, and are able to give aid where no one else has.
Accountability cannot be achieved without honest, critical, constructive discussion about what is really happening. We must tell the whole, complex, discomforting truth, even if it leads us to conclude that "aid" isn't as helpful as we want to believe it is.
The cholera epidemic in Haiti has highlighted the international community's historic lack of attention to water and sanitation. Water and sanitation coverage in Haiti has stagnated for decades and is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere, far behind the average of other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During a recent visit to Lebanon, walking along Hamra Street, I was taken back to my childhood. My father and I meandered down this road en route to my favorite spot. Constantly stopped by friends, eager to talk, it seemed to take forever to reach the Modca Cafe, and the ice cream I so eagerly anticipated.