Wednesday, January 5, 2005
In a bold move, Doctors Without Borders asks people to stop donating to its Tsunami-specific fund and consider other aid agencies instead because it has enough money to finance its current projects there. That's really good stuff coming from an NGO; at least there're some who're not afraid to do something that it knows will make others a little uneasy. I was at the Red Cross a few days ago. They have $18 million in cash, but I guess for an organisation like the Red Cross which can probably involve themselves in a wider and more dynamic job scope, the money is never enough. The problem I guess for all NGOs is to determine how and what to spend it on, and to make sure the money is spent on the folks who really need it and that it doesn't get waylaid by politics or corruption. The logistics considerations to do that effectively is very challenging...Yesterday I was at the Army Logistics Base packing and moving stuff. Hundreds of cartons of clothing collected by Singapore Polytechnic staff and students over the weekend are sitting in the warehouse; I think it's quite a phenomenal job those guys have done. A friend in Perth once told me, the mechanisms to solve the world's problems are actually available, it's just a matter of will to make it happen. Big social structures like governments and personal ideologies like aspects of capitalism and the ownership of money makes solving world's problems an inherently difficult thing. So NGOs do their little bit with their limited budget. A disaster like this shows that funds need not be 'limited'. There is enough money going around to make a difference. Problem is, we don't want to because it would mean losing control, and that is a scary thing... If you want to help out, donate to the Red Cross or volunteer here.
Posted by jeffyen at 10:48 AM