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I applaud your efforts, but am aware of the huge uphill battle you have. Our book club read "Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortenson, and since we had read his first book I used the discussion time to introduce some of the concepts discussed on your site (and others) about what constitutes GOOD AID and what questions to ask about an organization or "relief" effort. It was astonishing how little thinking the discussion group had previously done about aid, despite their frequent and heartfelt efforts to provide aid ($$ or time or goods) and equally, how receptive they were to more information about how to do aid better. The "unintended consequences" had not only not been considered, they were not even on the radar. These bright, talented women didn't even know 1) that there was a problem (other than "we need more aid") or 2) how to think about aid and questions to ask. So, there is a huge education problem ahead of you, and yet, at the grassroots level, people have an eagerness to be more effective with aid, because, in the end, providing a true hand of help is what these women want to do. They do not want their efforts to be in vain, and were shocked to think that those efforts might have been misguided and even harmful.
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Jun 24, 2010