6th April 2012:
We went to this village at the request of another organisation who needed to supply the village and a school with a pump. We went on Tuesday, with film crew onboard to record the first visit. We met the local headman and other men from the village. We agreed a location and the well dimensions.
We asked when the well would be dug, they agreed, Friday, without fail.
This morning, we arrived again with camera crew, using expensive black market fuel only to find that absolutely nothing had been done.
The pic shows Sinead with a little girl who is one of those sponsored village children you are bombarded with on the media. She showed us the form with her name, her number and the sponsors name. Sinead and the girls played with her and her little friends for about an hour while we tried to resolve the pump issue!!
It transpires that even though the sponsor got her smiling picture, this little cutie has rash in her scalp, poor clothes, no school fees, no help for herself or family, in fact nothing of what we’re told in the fantastic ads on Telly, showing what your monthly donation will do.
We then looked at one school block funded by the EU which was in a mess, a second block funded by another high profile Aid agency, and a new house we realised that these people didn’t need a pump, they thought we were bringing more aid, so we left, bringing our cement with us.
Someone will call this travesty Development Aid and justify it with a report talking about Aid Effectiveness using evidence based reports and other meaningless metrics.
It strikes me that this is a place where Aid without community participation is a serious waste of money and the human potential of the recipients.
On our way home we met a group of women who will soon have a well in another location. Sometimes we forget our own fundamental rules: Only the women know about water.
Sorry for the rant!!