Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Development planners do better than the Almighty?

The Congo experience has left me a aid-scepetic. Too much harm and not enough good has come out of the outside 'well-meaning' involvement into affairs they to not take the time to understand.

Furthermore accountability of most NGO rests with donors far way from the place of action, and comprehension. 

Last but not least Schumacher's argument on the general philosophy on aid should lead us to think in other ways about what we go out to work on as development practitioners.  He writes (in Small is beautiful):

"Could it be that the relative failure of aid, or at least our disappointment with the effectiveness of aid, has something to do with our materialist philosophy which makes us liable to overlook the most important preconditions of success, which are generally invisible? Or if we do not entirely overlook them, we tend to treat them just as we treat material things – things that can be planned and scheduled and purchased with money according to some all-comprehensive development plan. In other words, we tend to think of development, not in terms of evolution, but in terms of creation.
                Our scientists incessantly tell us with the utmost assurance that everything around us has evolved by small mutations sieved out through natural selection. Even the Almighty is not credited with having been able to create anything complex.
Every complexity, we are told, is the result of evolution. Our development planners seem to think that they can do better than the Almighty, that they can create the most complex things at one throw by a process called planning,  letting Athene spring, not out of the head of Zeus, but out of nothingness, fully armed, resplendent, and viable". 

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