but they make nice planters
There's a fun contest going on over at the Good Intentions Are Not Enough blog: what's the most inappropriate in-kind donation out there? So far, the leading contender is a donation of used brassieres to Haiti. I've entered my all-time favorite, the Soviet donation of snowplows to Guinea circa 1958. (Really. My master's thesis adviser saw them with his own eyes.) They also have a great post about the reasons that in-kind donations to developing countries aren't always/usually a good idea.
If you're looking for useful critiques on making foreign aid effective by, say, not sending snowplows to West Africa, here's a very thoughtful piece.