with eyes open wide
This is a really important topic that needs to be discussed on a broader base. How many billions of dollars have been donated for “aid,” yet so many communities are no better off? As Bill Gates frequently mentions, we have come A LONG way, so we can’t completely discount it. But we’re at the point where we can seriously analyze which programs work and which simply don’t (even if they had the best of intentions).
Joy Sun promotes simply giving money to the poorest of the poor. And I mean A LOT of money, $1,000 per family. Her organization has done this for 35,000 people, so I guess they have seen some positive results or otherwise it would have been stopped by now (I assume). Though in her talk, she doesn’t go into details on statistics.
From my personal experience with the government of Panamá giving out cash to the poorest Panamanians (through an international grant), it is a successful program because of the way it was structured. Money is only given to women and the elderly. The women have to be mothers and they have to meet certain requirements such as attending community meetings, working in community groups, and if they have children they have to take them to the clinic and they must be enrolled in school. So this money that the women receive isn’t a ton, but it’s enough to buy things for school (uniforms, notebooks, pencils) and basic food.
But I like Joy’s idea because with a huge sum of money, a business can be started or a house can be greatly improved, a latrine built, etc.
Regardless, it is true that giving cash to the poor generally has good results.