Waylaid Dialectic

September 21, 2010

MyAid Reconsidered

Filed under: Aid — terence @ 12:39 pm
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In the wake of a conversation in First Life, I’ve reconsidered my opinion on MyAid.

Specifically, as the person I was conversing with pointed out, 40 million GBP is a tiny proportion of total UK aid (approximately half a percent). So the efficiency cost of giving aid this way, relative to the UK’s overall aid budget, is tiny.

And, given that it’s tiny, it’s possible that the costs of any aid wasted via MyAID might be offset in the long run by the development of a small but significant section of the UK public which is better informed about development.

It’s a big ‘might’ of course, it requires that MyAid actually elicits the interest of the general public, as opposed to becoming an arena of contestation solely used by the usual suspects (i.e. people like me who are already interested in aid). And that the process of engagement with MyAid is a learning one, as opposed to a one off visit to the site prompted by a campaign. But if it works the benefits, I think, would be worth it. I’m unaware of any country on Earth that has successfully engendered considered interest in their aid programme from their general populous, and if this could be achieved it would very likely lead to better aid.

MyAid: worth a try, I guess.

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2 Comments

  1. I think the chances of the British public learning more about development by voting on MyAid are about the same as the British public learning more about psychology by voting on Big Brother.

    Or acquiring a good taste in music by voting on Eurovision.

    Comment by Matt — September 21, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  2. You mean Eurovision hasn’t worked?!?? I though the initial evaluations were looking particularly promising… 🙂

    Like you I’m pretty sceptical and, thinking about it, I doubt MyAid will have a significant impact on the public at large. But if it could just create a slightly broader constituency of interest, I think that would be a good thing. Whether it will or not, I’m not sure. Doing so simply mightn’t be possible and even if it is it will all come down to the design. With my thinking being that designing it right would be every bit as difficult as designing a successful aid programme.

    Comment by terence — September 22, 2010 @ 10:07 am


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