EWB-USA NCSU Ideas & Discussions:
Appropriate Forms of International Aid
Questions for Conversation:
Why is international aid important?
Do developing communities really need or want outside support?
What makes international aid effective?
What are signs of ineffective aid?
Points for Support:
As a chapter of EWB-USA, members are charged to support:
community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners
to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative
experiences and responsible leaders.
– EWB-USA Mission
How we ensure that these projects is a very sensitive task that requires a conscious
understanding of the past.
For example the Bolivia Water Sanitation project is currently implementing a
rainwater harvesting system, that is refurbishing a large water storage tank, that was
previously unused by the community. This storage tank was implemented by another
aid organization in early 2000’s as a septic tank. A septic system is superfluous and
considered bizarre in a community that barely has enough water to drink. So the system
was disconnected. Those resources could have been implemented more efficiently either
in the community or somewhere else.
This website sites examples of poor ideas for international aid:
The term “volunteerism” has been quite popular in spheres of international development,
as a way for people to visit third world countries, without effectively supporting
communities, and in some cases hurting them.
It is also important to understand that a bad idea is almost always supported by good
energy and enthusiasm. Therefore criticism should always be productive and supportive.