Sunday, July 24, 2016

Outside aid distorts local economy

The economic distortions that aid caused went beyond the discrepancy in living conditions. Suddenly, productive and educated members of the workforce were being snatched up by NGOs. I met a local judge who was now working as a driver for an NGO because his new job paid him twice what his old one did. School principals worked as administrative assistants for international agencies. One day in Sri Lanka, I arrived at a temporary school to monitor a teacher training session with Arjun, my translator . . . . [T]he student spilled out of the classroom and flocked to greet him. "I used to teach at this school," he explained.
. . . A job at an NGO—almost always the biggest employer in town—was a lucrative position for a person who lived there, and we poached some of the best and brightest right out of the very civil society we were trying to support, luring them into what were essentially temporary positions. We weren't going to be here forever, and when we were gone the jobs would be, too.
Jessica Alexander, Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid (New York: Broadway Books, 2013), pp. 234-35.

No comments:

Post a Comment