There is just no way around the critique that aid is ultimately about imposing change from outside. If you want to be involved in aid work, you’ve got to make your peace with that reality.
Amen. Three points if you’re uncomfortable with imposed change:
- Remember, change is already taking place. No place on earth is static and even if all the aid agencies on Earth packed up shop, things would still soon stop being the way they are.
- Externally imposed change is also already taking place. Globalisation is unavoidable, and will occur with or without aid.
- There’s nothing special about the status quo. If there was aid agencies wouldn’t be there.
On the other hand if you’re completely comfortable with externally imposed change…
- Just because people live in an under-developed area doesn’t mean there’s nothing good going on in their lives.
- Because of this it is possible to make things worse.
- And development is complicated.
- All the more so for an outsider.
- Which means that not only is it possible but it’s actually easy to make things worse.