Health help to PNG communities must be done in ways that are sustainable
Em Tasol Posted Apr 4, 2010 10:56 PM
Unless development is sustainable, it's not worth doing. You've done a noble deed to buy these things and get them shipped up, but the fact is that since the local people didn't have to soil and sacrifice for them, they'll all be broken down in no time, and then the folks back home will wait for you to raise money and get everything shipped again... and again... and again... and again. Even our constitution says that our development should consist of sustainable development mechanisms. Although I know your heart must be gold for you to do what you're doing , the fact is that you're giving your people handouts and there's nothing good that comes out of nurturing a handout mentality.
Nearly every community in PNG could, if they wanted, slowly accumulate the money needed to buy for their own communities what you're buying for them overseas. No, the quality might not be quite as good, but a PNG company like Brian Bell could probably be convinced to help out and ship some good beds, etc. in. We all complain that we don't have any way to make money, but then you look around and you find that village people are actually pretty innovative at making money. It may not be their PRIORITY to use their money to buy hospital beds, but frankly if it's not their priority, it shouldn't be yours either. Sooner or later we have to learn to stand up on our own two feet, from top to bottom. Why is it that villagers in so many other countries manage to put together basic services for themselves when they have as little or maybe even less disposible income than villagers in PNG?
I'm not trying to put you down at all with what you're doing. Like I said, I know your heart is in the right place. However, you're violating the basic rules of development to be giving handouts, unless somehow you're getting people in your village to do their share and make a substantial contribution-in-kind in return for your help. Surely there are ways you can help your people such that they're motivated to get off their arses and take the lead in helping themselves?
I realise that this posting is off the original topic. My two toea on the original issue is that I agree that any Ausaid help for Papua New Guineans should go to PNG and not to Papua New Guineans living abroad. No country would allocate their foreign aid like that and neither should Australia. Frankly the reason why Australia gives foreign aid at all to PNG is to keep us from becoming an unstable and totally unpredictable country on their northern border. Using aid money to help PNG's living in Australis would not achieve that national security objective even 1%. Thus, it's not done and it won't be done. Ever.