Not to crush your spirit, but…

30 Jul

Sorry, but they already have shirts. (photo by Malik Sidibe)

A few months ago there was a raging discussion on the development blogosphere surrounding an NGO called “1 Million T-Shirts”. The guy running the organization got shredded by a number of experts, and he has since discontinued the work. Really, I think the discussion was more about intentions vs. expertise. A good summary:

“A number of NGOs – most of which are driven by western funding and ideas – are household names, while others are micro-projects that are off the radar of most media but are nevertheless helping to improve the day-to-day lives of many Africans. Yet there are also many wannabe rescuers who are actively doing harm in Africa: bad ideas are duplicated across the continent, objectives and deadlines missed or efforts badly targeted, and promises broken, while mediocrity and incompetence are rarely challenged, leaving the poor ending up where they started. In extreme cases their work is not only inadequate but actually destructive in social, economic and environmental terms, crushing the hopes and dreams of millions.

Given what is too often a lack of accountability and credibility along with the huge funds that pass through NGOS, there are growing calls for closer regulation. We also need to end the often corrupt relationship – characterised by favouritism and bribery – between certain NGOs and some African governments. This situation cannot continue.”

Read the rest of the article here.


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