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I was delighted when the early sun smiled at my family on a Monday morning. After the heavy downpour on Friday night in Lagos, the floods swept our house and properties to the streets and in two days, the government of the state came with relief materials like clothing, temporary shelter and some money for us and other stranded citizens. Although I saw the earthquake in Haiti and Japan on television as well as the rescue efforts by the Red Cross, UN and other agencies, this was the first time I experienced how relief materials was given out in a flood disaster area like Lagos. Hence, a true picture of aid and development became real to my family. Nevertheless, according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, aid can be defined as the money, food etc, that is sent to help countries in difficult situations. Meanwhile, development in this context is the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger etc. Therefore, a synergy of both terms earlier discussed can be considered effective if it produces the result that is wanted, intended and becomes successful. As Wikipedia put it, aid effectiveness is the degree to which development works.
On the other hand, there are growing concerns however that the approach to effective aid and development is weak and therefore has not achieved its desired outcome – poverty reduction, access to good health, education, among others. No wonder Peter Bauer remarked that aid is “…an excellent method of transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries”. This statement came on the wake of the proliferation of NGOs in developing countries, overcrowding of similar projects in an area, exorbitant allowances given to aid workers and some other awkward interests between stakeholders. All forms of aid are included in this mess, whether bilateral – aid given by donor country directly to another or multilateral – aid given by donor country to an international organization which then distributes it among developing countries. Examples of these bridging organizations are the World Bank, UN and her agencies, USAID, AusAID, among others.
A true picture of this situation can be seen in my country, Nigeria where the security of lives and property is constantly raped by disgruntled elements. The UN headquarters was bombed and 23 people died while scores were injured. Also, a good number of citizens are wallowing in abject poverty, unemployed youths roaming the streets, people sleeping under bridges due to inadequate shelter and epileptic power supply. Other major problems that have riddled my country and other developing countries are environmental degradation due to oil spills, poor access to education and its facilities, weak ICT framework and widespread corruption. If aid were to be effective, why would these hydra-headed problems linger in developing countries? Why is there rarely a sustainable aid project in Africa? The reason lies naked on the platform of poor monitoring and evaluation, weak strategy, corruption etc. Occasionally, when a country is struck by disaster and she is not in diplomatic terms with the donor countries or if the country is not rich in precious resources, aid and development may be either diverted or delayed. Therefore, this and sundry issues has posed a strong threat to the effectiveness of global aid and development.
- Quote paper
- Kingsley Udoakpan (Author), 2011, Effective Aid and Development, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/203236