For centuries, the world has operated with a distinctly Western philosophy on how we go about the business of helping those “less fortunate”. It is based on the idea that affluent people – successful members of the modern human race –know what is best for all people. This has led public and private aid organizations to develop programs that overly control on the way other cultures receive and utilize aid. With the best of intentions, we have perpetuated generations of dependent communities attached to government and nonprofit programs for survival. This attitude has led to the disappearance of unique cultures and ideas globally.
By continuing to project our Western beliefs onto struggling communities, we are creating more harm than good by crippling the very People we seek to help. We rob them of the opportunity to build the problem-solving skills they need, and we damage their confidence and their own ability to thrive. An illustration of this point would be, if you were watching your son or daughter playing a soccer/football game at a very young age and if their team were loosing, you volunteered to substitute for your child to help their team win the match. You may win the match, but what did your child learn from this experience?
By working with third parties instead of working directly with the communities in need, philanthropists have unintentionally created an enormous opportunity for corruption within the international aid industry.
It is hard to exactly calculate how much money sent to foreign countries and domestic aid groups for philanthropic aid is lost. Our estimate, from our extensive field work in 60 countries, is that between 50% to 100% evaporates into the system. One thing is certain – corruption and scepticism are the major obstacles hindering international aid today.