Humanitarian Aid in Africa: A Question of Sustainability

Humanitarian Aid in Africa:
A Question of Sustainability
sustain-ability: ability to maintain a balance without depletion of resources
Purposes of community norms are:
• To engage, sustain and deepen conversation.
•Ensure safety even when participants may experience
discomfort or disagreement.
•Support meaningful cross-cultural conversation.
-Speak your truth
-Ethics is Messy
-Expect and Accept Non-Closure
Presentation Focus: to examine the implications of aid
and to consider the potential benefits and consequences
of it’s perpetuance
1. Understand our motivations for helping
• The history of aid
• How do we benefit from being aid providers?
2. Examine the +/- ways in which aid influences a
community’s political, social and economic practices
• Analysis contains key points proposed from the
book Dead Aid
3. Discuss the lasting impact of our projects
• Examine our community partnerships
 what do they need from us?
• Interactive activity
4. A new direction for sustainability
• Visioning: how would it look?
Giver? Receiver? Sustainable?
Choose a question that
stands out.
You have a one minute free
write to explain its
significance to you
Sometimes there are
more questions than answers…
Do we prioritize others’ needs over our own?
Are we helping ourselves?
Who is the receiver?
Where does the notion of helping come from?
Who takes responsibility?
Are we helping others?
What if there is a better way?
How did I become an expert?
What skills am I lacking?
Who is the giver?
Why isn’t aid working?
Who sees the benefit? When?
•1960s – The Decade of Industrialization
•1970s – The Shift to a Poverty Focus
•1980s – The Lost Age of Development
•1990s – A Question of Governance
•2000s – The Rise of Glamour Aid
The “Scar” on the
World’s Conscience
•Africa’s per capita income is lower than in the
1970s, leaving people in the same level of poverty
as 40 years ago
•700 million Africans live on less than $1 US dollar
per day
•Sub-Sarahan has the highest proportion of the
world’s poor  ~50%
•Life expectancy stagnated at ~ 50 years
•High child mortality rates  1/7 children dies
before the age of five
•50% of the continent remains under nondemocratic rule
The Developed World’s Response:
Three types:
1. Humanitarian or Emergency Aid – aid
mobilized and delivered in response to
calamities or catastrophes
2. Charity-based Aid – aid dispersed by
charitable organizations to people or
organizations on the ground
3. Systematic Aid – aid payments made
directly to the government
An African
Economist’s Perspective
Dambisa Moyo
The Potential
Success of Aid
1. Proponents argue the Marshall Plan that
dispersed aid to rebuild Europe proves aid
can be successful.
2. Past recipient countries of aid have
advanced with economic success
(i.e. China, Chile, Thailand, South Korea,
Turkey, etc.)
3. Conditionalities allow for strategic
programs of implementation (i.e.
introducing widespread malaria nets)
The Potential
Consequences of Aid
1. Silent killer of growth  creates a vicious
cycle of dependency and economic
2. Corruption surrounding aid causes civil
strife and prevents stable governments/
democratic rule
3. Conditionalities or “strings” attached to aid
often impose cultural or social impracticalities.
They can be damaging to current situations
and often, due to corruption are ignored
Fitting in this idea of
sustain-ability: ability to maintain a balance
without depletion of resources
Unpacking the term
-What does sustainability mean to you?
-Why is this term loaded?
Is Aid a Sustainable
Element of African Culture?
Why or why not?
Things to consider:
-UBC students engaging in ISL projects
are contributing resources (financial,
time, work)
-As ISL becomes more popular, more
students become involved in communities
around the world
This creates an awareness for the issues
that affect people and a need to continue
Interactive Activity
-We are going to split
the table in half and
have a debate!
-Five minutes to
-Everyone to
present 1.5-2 min
-2 minute
-1 minute close
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.
-African proverb
-Aid continues to be an important
aspect of development
-The sustainability of its programs will
largely depend on resources (people,
money, time, energy) and the manner
and consistency of how these
resources are distributed

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