The Long Term Approach to International Aid Development
“Tired of Starving Children Photos?” That was the title of a recent story on AlertNet, a humanitarian news website. It brought to light the delay in procuring aid in advance of a predicted drought and subsequent famine in 2011.
Dependent on Emergency Aid
The unfortunate reality is, despite their best efforts, governments, funders, and international relief organizations must overcome multiple obstacles – logistics, politics, and cumbersome regulations, among them – before they can mobilize and deliver aid. However, more often than not, the international aid community makes a truly remarkable and monumental effort to secure aid and provide relief, when and where it’s needed. The task of gathering and delivering resources and manpower is an extraordinary undertaking even under the best of circumstances. And even more so, when racing against the clock or in unpredictable situations – a natural disaster or war zone, for example.
But how often can organizations and governments be counted on to deliver “just-in-time” aid to stricken areas? There is no obvious answer or magical solution, but there is a proven strategy to lessen the dependence of lesser-developed populations on emergency relief.
Prevention vs. Cure
In the past 50 years the number of children who die every year from hunger, malnutrition, and disease has decreased from 20 million to less than 8 million. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half in the same time frame. That still leaves some staggering numbers to overcome, but the improvement is significant. These results came about for many reasons, but key among them was the focus on anticipating and preventing crises rather than simply shipping emergency aid.
In For The Long Haul
At Planet Aid, emphasis is placed on long-term programs to address the underlying cause of the problem or issue. Multi-year support of programs that address education deficits, health concerns, food security issues, and lack of job skills, are hallmarks of Planet Aid’s mission. Having a consistent in-country presence, year-in and year-out, in the same villages and communities is essential to the organization’s steady, but measurable progress.
Humana People to People