"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

5.27.2009

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.

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