Aid in Afghanistan

Oxfam has reported that much of the aid donated internationally to Afghanistan is wasted. A large proportion of the aid is paid to foreign workers to build large of short-term projects that do not contribute to the needs of the poorest or those living in rural areas. There are examples of local officials taking from the aid money or taking bribes before any of the money reaches the poor.

Foreign aid in Afghanistan is focused on national economic need and not on the immediate needs of most of the populous. Also, some aid is tied, so that when a country gives aid to Afghanistan, the Afghani government has to do something for them in return.

The conflict and instability in the country makes it difficult to reach the poorest people in rural areas.

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NGO work in Haiti

Oxfam’s Let Agogo Project in Haiti funds an organisation that gives local people cows, with a focus on women. Support from vets allows them to care for the cows, sell on dairy projects and boosts the local economy.

Calves are given to other families from the original families, so that more can join the scheme. People have used their incomes to buy food, shelter and education. The government also buys some of the milk, which is then treated before being given free to local school children, which then improves their diets. The project has the clear benefit that local people run it for the benefit of other locals.

There are concerns to using cows, however, as just within the USA, POCs of African ancestry have a 75% chance of being lactose intolerant, and the USA is more affluent, and therefore more likely to give people exposure to milk. It is a proven thing that people can maintain a lactose tolerance despite their genetic predisposition if they have enough exposure throughout development, which poor people in Haiti are unlikely to. This being said, the economic benefit is likely to remain as the receivers of the cows can still sell to other ethnic groups with lower incidence of lactose intolerance. It is also worth noting that lactose intolerance normally develops with age somewhat, so that children who will be intolerant can occasionally still benefit from receiving free milk while they are young.

Improving Slums

We had a debate in our geography class last year about which issues were most important to resolve when upgrading slums. We were each assigned a particular aspect of the worst-case situation to argue as a priority to resolve, and asked to come up with some means to solve it. That’s why this might come off as very poorly structured (even by my standards). I’m also mentioning that explanation as I’m not sure where my notes on healthcare measures went, and this is likely to be updated once I’ve found (or remade) them.

Physical Infrastructure

  • 84% of houses have no water supply. Illegal water sellers are expensive, and many people take water from rivers.
  • Roads are impermeable (leading to issues with erosion, flooding downstream and others)
  • Illegal electricity (in many slums) can lead to electrical fires
  • 90% of people in slums (worldwide) die of disease
  • Water can be purified using plastic bottles
  • Kenya has projects for community based solar power to help improve the local electrical supply
  • The Green Exchange program (where waste is exchanged for cash or food parcels. The waste is used for various purposes depending on location. In Curitiba, Brazil, it is reused for other purposes. The exact waste can vary with location, too. It helps prevent malnutrition and any issues that could arise from a dirty environment.)

Social Infrastructure (mostly referring to Rio de Janeiro)

  • 880 million people live in slums globally.
  • Complexo de Alemão is trying to reduce crime rates by building 2 primary schools, 2 creches, a technical college and a library
  • Complexo has 70,000 people with insufficient education and healthcare
  • A cable car was built to transport people from the slums to Rio’ center. This has helped unemployment rates. The stations are cheap, and have lead to greater educational, job, and healthcare options.
  • Cidade de Deus healthcare clinic was set up in the slums
  • Olympic values were taught to children; 168 schools, 100,000 children
  • Favela painting is a practice to occupy people’s time productively. The favelas are made to look better by occupying local people to paint buildings in bright colours and patterns. The normal buildings are often bare brick and mud. Very drab environments are bad for people’s emotional health, so painting the favelas in bright shades is improving people’s wellbeing.
  • There has been an 80% drop from 30,000 gun crimes per year once gangs were removed.

Housing

  • 40% live in shanty towns
  • People used to just be used to worse areas
  • Now people are provided with material
  • There are housing projects to remove the shanty areas and replace them with proper housing
  • 1/3 of people in poor cities live in self-built houses
  • The Bairro project, in Rociña, Rio de Janeiro, aims to increase the average size of slum homes to 20m^2 and to widen the main streets.
  • Barra de Tijica, Brazil, is a new town located through a mountain from Rio, providing new housing in 10-30 storey blocks, and is now home to 180,000 people.
  • Almost all the houses in Rociña are made out of concrete and brick, contributing to 100s of businesses
  • NGOs are working to improve the situation
  • Oxfam are working to improve the lives of 100 million people living in slums worldwide
  • Some slums still have no provision of basic services.

Employment

  • Oxfam provides water tanks for affordable use in many slums
  • Most people use informal water supplies
  • in Hima, Peru, there was a census including types of businesses, which lead to improvements in encouraging foreign businesses to buy goods from slum workers.
  • Does this actually provide them with enough money to escape poverty?
  • People in slums can enter themselves in the yellow pages, which has been quite successful in Brazil and Peru.
  • However, businesses in slums are unregulated by the police, and are unprotected by the police, in many areas

Waste

  • 4.3 million cases of cholera worldwide
  • Most people produce about 300g of waste a day
  • 2.4 million people in Nairobi are living in slums
  • Composite farms gather waste in biodegradable bags, which, after 6-8 weeks, can be used as manure, leading to better soil fertility, better farming, and more food and income
  • Bioplants can be made in Kibera. Many people use the same latrine. The methane produced from this can be harvested and then resold as cooking gas, which helps kill off germs in water and food
  • Umende has 57 bio centers, and has collected 60,000 kg of waste
  • Nepal has 2.8 million people living in slums. In Kathmandu. 10,000 of the 31,000 slum dwellers are waste collectors. The informal sector work is often exploited.
  • There is an Umbrella Group which workers can register with t monitor them and give vocational training
  • The Green Exchange program in Nepal has led to 4,000 waste worker jobs, with 50% of the beneficiaries being women.

Haiti Earthquake- Long Term Management

Building resilience and Future capacity

Some people have had to spend 3 years in their camps. They had:

  • No money to build

NGOs helped the local people by:

  • Improving financial support for rebuilding
  • Improving infrastructure
  • Training stonemasons to make future settlements stronger
  • Building new settlements on outskirts

The relocated people would have had to still pay rent for housing had the refugee camps not been set up; the camps helped provide shelter for those who would not have been able to afford this in their current financial situation.

In the refugee camps, people had to travel to work. Often the fees of transport were so expensive that people could spend more money travelling to and fro between work and the camps than they would earn. So, many people had taken to just sleeping rough outside their offices during the week and only coming home at weekends.

There were toilets in the camps so there was one between every five families. One of the main aims of the new buildings was to remove this issue.

  • Have to travel to work
  • Spaced out buildings
  • No heavy tiles
  • Use local technology so homes can be fixed by local people.
  • Buildings were built with plenty of open spaces, so people can get away from falling buildings more quickly.
  • Buildings have only a few storeys, so there’s less to collapse in during future quakes, and also have timber frames, which are more flexible, so less likely to collapse in a future earthquake.
  • Lightweight structures, and only using light weight tiles means that if anything collapses in the future, it will be less damaging to anybody around.

 

 

Creditors died with the earthquake

  • Businesses have to be reset up again
  • Oxfam helped with this:
  • Financial security to support many businesses
  • Monthly allowances

Most food was imported.

Oxfam was trialing different techniques in Haiti to get good crop growth. Oxfam funded small rice mills to get a better price at the market for farmers. Unprocessed rice is worth far less, so by allowing the rice mills to be more available, farmers can get more profits, allowing rural areas to support themselves better in the aftermath. With more rice mills, it is overall cheaper to use them.

Profits from mills help pay for drainage channels which increase yield again. This is an overall positive multiplier effect.

Land reform is a necessary feature of the rebuilding. Before the earthquake, unclear laws on land ownership meant that when the earthquake hit, camps had to be built in poor sites as the owners could not be tracked down and asked permission to use any land closer to the capital. Most of the land is only claimed by a few people, and overall this makes it hard to make long term investments. Companies and investors want a guaranteed pay out, which they can’t get from the unclear laws as it was.