Notes About Foreign Assistance

The following is an quoted from the book “Mountain Beyond Mountains:”

“Farmer (Paul) was learning about the great importance of water to public health, and he was conceiving a great fondness for technology in general, also scorn for ‘the Luddite trap.’  He liked to illustrate the meaning of that phrase with the story of the time when he came back to Cange (Haiti) from Harvard and found that Pere Lafontant had overseen the construction of thirty fine-looking concrete latrines, scattered through the village.  ‘But,’ Farmer asked, ‘are they appropriate technology?’  He’d picked up the term in a class at the Harvard School of Public Health.  As a rule, it meant that one should use only the simplest technologies required to do a job.

‘Do you know what appropriate technology means?  It means good things for rich people and shit for the poor,’ the priest (Lafontant) growled, and refused to speak to Farmer again for a couple of days.”

The following is a quote from Nancy Gibbs in Time Magazine (22 Feb 2010, p. 134):

“Money is fleet and nimble.  The very thing that makes it unsatisfying to give makes it powerful to deploy.  It can turn into anything–a water bottle, a prefab house, a tetanus shot, a biscuit.  It lets relief agencies buy locally whenever possible, supporting local markets for products that are culturally and environmentally right.  In the past decade, accountability has become a watchword of relief agencies around the world, with new guidelines to help donors know that their aid won’t be wasted.  Give money, Presidents Bush and Clinton implore, and by implication, leave the rest to professionals.”

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, Mother Teresa used to say, then feed just one.”

This entry was posted in @n@rchy, Engineers Without Borders, mother teresa, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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