Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Good Step

An excellent government decision shouldn't be noteworthy, but it is. This one comes in the foreign aid department. The U.S. is shifting its funding from an American NGO - Catholic Relief Services - to local South African organizations in its AIDS funding for that country. Read all about it.

3 comments:

Carol L. Douglas said...

Why does that strike you as a good thing?

(I'm cynical about all change, but especially about any having to do with Jacob Zuma's South Africa.)

Chops said...

The president doesn't run the NGO's, so Zuma is irrelevant.

There are two arguments for local control. Philosophically, society should take care of itself and not rely on outsiders; patronage models are less appealing. Second, local control is typically cheaper and more efficient, and better at identifying and prioritizing needs in accordance with the recipients.

Carol L. Douglas said...

In the abstract I agree with you, and I like the organization Project Concern International precisely because they work in that model.

But in the particular, I have to know what the local group is. I have South African friends and have long heard about the corruption in that country. Zuma may not run the NGO but he is a symbol of the deep dysfunction the country operates in. (When I call him a foul peckerhead, it is with the most sincere respect.)

Since Catholic Relief Services--to my knowledge--has a good track record, I would like to know that the anonymous NGO which is now getting our foreign aid is as capable as they were of handling it efficiently and honestly.

It's a stewardship question--the triumph of experience over hope, if you will.