Beating AID corruption – Give us their money instead..

Aid corruptionWith many people starting to question where does AID money really go and discovering its a gravy train not only in Africa but virtually anywhere AID and charities are involved my question to you is how to change it? I have seen it personally with fundraisers in the UK adding huge salaries to themselves justifying it as they bring in millions but hey if your going to steal from the poor and donations you do need to justify it somewhere right? or what about the politicians who are mainly names on charities grabbing free perks and benefits even if they don’t grab a salary (but many do). Now to be honest I don’t mind people earning their money but many of these don’t and they do see it as a “job” rather than a humanitarian or educational task which completely undermines anything they choose to do after.

Then the money heads overseas where Expat consultant salaries can reach $500,000 a year to deal with a project due to security issues as well as westernised salaries and standards of living I wonder how many people could be fed from one fat expats trough? On top of that you start getting into the local government organisations and other heads that need shiny new cars and high standards of living which often leads to medicines that should be freely given away being sold to pharmacies to feed a lifestyle. As it fritters down you meet the man on the street lacking in medicines, education and sustainable ways of life. Only use the organisations seem to have is to use these people to fund their money because they certainly aren’t helping the situation. What I will say though is I am stopping the negativity here if you want to research how bad it is spend a bit of time online and also get your hands on some Panorama below which will walk you through the affects in Africa :-

Addicted to Aid

So we will move on to the positive aspects of fixing things rather than gravy train in fact I would like to make a new term here.. I want us to be the “Gravy Train Robbers” stealing money away from corruption and into projects than can and will work. There are a few key reasons why the projects I am looking at will work the first one being removing excess numbers of people who are administrators or hangers on. We are looking to do things directly and as transparently as possible. Fund raising is based on a per project basis and everyone who contributes to it will be listed and where the money actually goes so your pretty much in control of the money you put into a project.

Also we want you to be part of everything we are doing along the way which includes offering up ideas if you want and even physically visiting the projects once they start developing or even being part of the initial setup so you can see real progress.

So why will this work? the whole concept is based on sustainability and development not stagnation which is what AID is about, very few organisations are actually trying to improve things in fact they often make it worse because they put money into peoples hands who created the problems in the first place. Poverty is an excuse and not the problem, the problem is corruption,theft,civil wars or controlling groups. In reality what you need to do in many cases is remove money from the equation. Education to help people is a key way forward in working people towards lifting themselves out of the poverty cycle. In the Philippines its tied with trying to keep the educated in the country to stop the brain drain in education and health. Part of that is creating sustainable livelihoods which for us starts with a mountain region in Minglanilla which is keen to get involved in projects to change the shape of the area. Its a very poor area and I will be following up with more information in the near future but the initial cases we have several problems to address :-

  • Initial needs assessment of area and ability for the following to happen.
  • Community based farming based on permaculture (initial due to low cost integration and high yields).
  • Intensive fish farming including irrigation.
  • Goat raising + poultry.
  • Training and education in farming methods as well as the formation of a community group.

Secondary :-

  • Medical needs including dental treatment.
  • Low cost housing which may involve long term investment into bamboo production on land for structures.
  • Multi purpose vehicle, currently looking at an old Land Rover which can offer multiple attachments including generator conversion to the engine, running on bio diesel as well as drilling attachments for deep wells.

Initial needs – This will be where we look to setup the long term plans for the community and see what they want as well as what is capable. May seem a little odd to actually ask people what they want but many organisations don’t even take the time to do this. The area is up in the mountains limiting areas for many types of crop farming but it doesn’t mean its impossible and introduction of many things will change this but no point if people aren’t wanting to do it.

Community based farming – The whole basis of the idea is that everything is a community not individual basis this allows people to share tools and light machinery when needed as well as labour. For example having one market stall between 10 people in a main town makes more sense than having 10 stalls with hardly any stock. At the same time harvesting works better as a group than individuals. The concept is to make everyone responsible to each other to help the community grow as one. Permaculture methods allow small scale farming to multi-crop as well which in turn provides more daily needs than single crops. The reason for this is many people think farming = grow crops, harvest then sell at market. In reality prices are way too low here making a lot of farming pointless for the small farmer as things like the rice mills and exporters are all controlled by wealthy people offering well below market prices an example of this was a friend of ours had coconuts to sell and a lot of them as its the families large farm that was selling them export price was P2 per coconut which made no economic sense to even bother harvesting the coconuts never mind transporting them. But Permaculture is based on sustainability and allowing you to grow multiple crops in the same area giving higher yields and not only having crops to sell but daily food.

Intensive fish farming – Some people may think I am mad trying to introduce fish farming to the mountains but it makes perfect sense. They have the upper lands and access to
many natural springs that are under utilised on top of that the waste fish water is ideal for using as a fertilizer in irrigation channels instead of waste pumping into a river.

Goat raising – Makes perfect sense in the mountains for a couple of reasons the first is it maximises the use of the farms offering another method of income at the same time much of the goats needs can be grown naturally removing the need for expensive animal feeds unlike pigs. Chickens on the other hand do need supplemented food although they can find 30% of their daily needs naturally by free ranging eggs are expensive so getting the balance right it could be a profitable income for the projects.

Education – Is paramount to everything above as driving home the whole concept and where we want it to go can only work if everyone plays their part in getting things done its not all about rakes and picks but also people approaching local government for funding and raising awareness. On top of this its to inspire people within the community that our changes will make a difference for generations to come. This will hopefully cut down on the brain drain of people leaving for pastures new abroad giving up on the Philippines.

The other points are pretty self explanatory but I am willing to answer any questions along the way.. At the moment the changes are in your hands as I am not asking you to donate yourself unless you want to of course but I am asking you to persuade people to change their donations from many of these bloated and corrupt Charities and Aid organisations. Oxfam for example seems to have money to waste how much do they spend on merchandising their own brand and carrier bags?

Involvement is key to the success of everything we are looking to do which also involves you if you want to be part of it become part of it. Once things start moving we should hopefully gain momentum showing that donations can and will go a lot further than most people expect. Many charities these days only around 10% reaches the people while the rest gets swallowed up in administration and expenses we obviously will still have administration problems as well as insurance issues etc. but I am aiming at 10% as our expenditure with the rest going into the projects. One of the reasons this can happen is how we are going to use the initial investments. For example the fish breeding program tied with the first fish farms will grow on extra fry to give to their neighbours as this will be an ongoing expansive program. We are looking to go with bamboo for cost affective housing which wont be run down shacks but new methods introduced with old materials. Once we have gained a small bamboo farm it will be producing the bamboo needed every few years which removes the cost of land and stock and just needs ongoing maintenance depending on its yields. At the rate we are looking at I would be looking to withhold 30% of annual stocks to resell to keep the farm running removing continuous funding these may also be used in furniture making to produce other items and thus create more jobs as well.

The goats obviously breed regularly and getting people to see the health benefits of goats milk as well as allowing the herds to grow then expanding these out to neighbours will start to give people sustainable livestock’s same as the permaculture.

One thing we may have to invest in is land although there are government lands in the area if we can persuade the allocation to be used for our projects could become free. Long term I am hopeful we can secure lands for expansive projects with many of the regions land masses being relatively cheap compared to others due to access and lack of level ground.

So from here on in and the start of 2011 we are looking to progress things for the better so invite you to help us get underway by redirecting others funds to our pot to get us underway.

4 comments for “Beating AID corruption – Give us their money instead..

  1. Mchristine077
    January 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    “or what about the politicians who are mainly names on charities grabbing free perks and benefits even if they don’t grab a salary (but many do)”

    Very true Matt! Over the years, I watched our former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser solicit AID money for some African charity organizations. He did these for years and year. I used to wonder why if you sponsor a child abroad, you can’t write to that child direct?? Well, no wonder because they want your $$ first. Honestly, there’s plenty of poor people in my province that I would rather help first before I would help in Africa.

    But you do have some good ideas re-sustainability. Personality, I detest giving although I have done this. I think AID perpetuates dependency. Your ideas of various farming has a lot of merit. Why not teach the man how to fish, instead of giving him fish? I particularly liked your idea on goat raising. Many Filipinos eat too much pork products and it is not good for health. Also, there is a lot of ignorance about health issues, especially about hypertension. In my province alone, several people literally just dropped dead caused by strokes! And yet, the diet and lifestyle are appaling even despite the poverty. And of course many do not buy anti-hypertensive drugs because of the costs. Great article Matt!

    • Tropicalpenpals
      January 2, 2011 at 5:38 am

      Thanks for the support Christine,
      I have been involved with organisations right near the top of the tree to see corruption on a level most people don’t even know exists. Could you imagine having a free Jaguar, BMW or Mercedez on the back of donations? Well seen it including the free lunches, free fuel and a lot more perks including a small salary of around £29,000 per year. Not so big a salary? they only meet once a month for an “official dinner” because the rest of the month they are doing their normal roles. Another thing they say is its “value for money” which is a joke as the ones saying that are people like the head of Unicef which I will let you know earned $1,200,000 as an annual salary for 2010. From my own perspective I would be needing a salary in future simply because its going to take up more and more of my time in the UK I am earning around P12million as a consultant surveyor it doesn’t mean I expect to be taking P12m a year out of the organisation because its a different role. Yes I bring my knowledge and experience to the table but its out of choice.

      As regards the health in your province medical missions as well as basic health and training are essential. Even things like CPR and knowing how to assess and transport people correctly are needed. Developing the projects on a long term basis will also introduce health care funds once everything else establishes so annually a percentage of the crops in each community fund a small savings account so that even the medical needs will eventually be looked after by the community another cost reduction to eventually remove the need for continous funding.

      The bill of health is still being argued and to be honest there is something I was talking to a friend about last night. I look at my wifes friends and the majority of them have very few children there are a few with larger groups but overall most don’t have kids or have 1 – 2 which does make me wonder how much the bill of health will do to change peoples sexual habits as most of my wifes friends are university graduates which shows they are already making the changes from “self education”.

      • Mchristine077
        January 2, 2011 at 6:18 am

        You are welcome Matt. Like you, I do feel strongly about the amount of AID money that never reaches its intended target. Whatever happened to the money raised in the Live AID concert for Africa in 1985? Did it ever helped/solve Africa’s problems? How come I still see African kids on TV (sponsored by AID organization of course) with Kwashiorkor (enlargement of the belly caused by protein deficiency) and forlorn eyes, thin as a skeleton appealing for more AID? I grew up watching AID ads on TV. 30 years later, they still need more AID?? WTF, are African’s breeding generations of AID dependents people? This is what I mean about teaching the man to fish. I see on TV bags and bags of wheat being distributed, “another job well done, we’ve saved more people from hunger” – boasts UNICEF. Really? And you are also creating generations of AID/charity dependent peoples! IMHO, the big charity organizations like UNICEF are nothing but travelling cocktail parties!

        I do liked your ideas of self-suffiency. Why did it have to be a Kano who had to come up with that one? And yes, even basic medical training like CPR should be taught at high schools there. My province is a barrio with only a clinic and the nearest hospital is 30 mins away at least, with a good winding road carved on a mountainside with a steep drop. Basic CPR should indeed be made compulsory even amongst the clinic personnels there. I doubt any of them even know CPR. But they don’t even have a registered nurse at that clinic. I don’t know what the qualifications of the staff there (there were 2), but I was told neither of them were nurses, but they can take blood pressure readings.

        I do hope the Reproductive bill is passed. For sure over-population is not the main cause of poverty, but it certainly is contributing! And I have noticed that educated, working families tend to have lesser numbers of children. Perhaps because they aspire more for their kids than just popped them out into this world? There is a squatter family in a cousin’s land in my town. Dad worked odd jobs, and mum unemployed. Guess how many children? They have 9! But that is all they did, popped the children out, the parents don’t have education, hence the children also had no education and hence no job prospect. Attending primary school in Australia is compulsory. The PI should follow this rather than copying the western trend of not charging underage children who had committed adult crimes!

        • Tropicalpenpals
          January 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

          Hi Christine,
          nearly all the problems revolve round education. People can blame corruption and the church but that doesn’t excuse having so many kids. A population reduction would naturally create a demand rise in employment the Philippines has population saturation on its main cities and needs to reduce it. You do have natural migration where people are moving out from the provinces as well but at the same time more should be done in the provinces to keep people there. Rich farm owners etc. seem to be disinterested in helping which is why new farming methods introduced for self sufficency would cope with most people’s daily demands the Philippines has the right climate.. many foods literally grow from the ground without any work whatsoever.

          What annoyed me about Africa in the UK is how they have sewn up most of the organisations and companies to their cause. Not the Africans but the organisations involved, I was trying to get free computers for schools here in Minglanilla and found that the companies I was dealing with have a “disposal” company that does things for charitable causes. Basically the corporation I was working with would pay this company to remove their old equipment to make sure it wasn’t landfilled in Africa etc. and actually of some use to others. The organisation that receives the computers would not entertain giving computers for the Philippines infact they wanted £60 per computer even though they had actually been paid to get rid of the computers already. On top of that they weren’t going to check where the computers went so I wonder how much of that “disposal fee” was actually worth anything? This is part of another EU gravy train as it forces corporations to hand over money for nothing.

          CPR training can no doubt be encorporated locally by involvement of military or police instructors (I have they have some here) which would help a lot of the clinics but also allows people to see that their training actually makes a difference.

          Why did it take a foreigner to do it? Well to be honest I have been pushing ideas forward constantly here and none have been taken up locally. This is the first time a Barangay Captain has actually taken an interest in what I am looking to do and its this cooperative working that will make it a success. Maybe its because he is newly elected he has vision not sure but at the same time it has given opportunity to show how lives can be changed. If it works his entire barangay will be changed for the better which also increases tax revenues long term which in turn develops the area more so can’t understand why others don’t pick up the torch except lazy and corrupt?