In 2022, 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number is a significant increase from 235 million people a year ago. Devex estimates that donors provided
17.2 billion – less than half of the 37.7 billion needed. And that doesn’t include development assistance.
International humanitarian aid is Big Business, involving the U.N., multi-national corporations, international NGOs, Governments, and an assortment of foundations and individuals.
The question “Who gives what to whom?” plunges one into a dizzying array of analyses.
And then there are scary rumors about millions gone missing in a pipeline leaky with corruption, poor accounting and accountability, and just plain incompetence.
In my little corner of this mess, I’m troubled by organizations whose largesse creates cash flow challenges for small community-based organizations like Women’s Centers. An example: a well-meaning foundation ships a bunch of equipment but requires the recipient to pay customs clearance and transport costs to their location. Never mind that all of the equipment is available locally. Why not just send the cash – avoiding all the drama of international shipping, and feeding a national economy in recession.
Then there’s the tragically hilarious conundrum of USAID, wringing its hands over how to localize aid, but evidently not willing to part ways with old buddy U.S.-based INGOs working in the so-called developing world.
Baraka Women’s Center can knit together an astonishingly effective national program to empower Kenyan women. But no joy from the monied in Kenya. For now, an productive local asset advances, but much more slowly than the needs of the women it could serve. A generous infusion of cash changes everything. Often the obvious is not.