Global Development – So Much More Needed meldunn.com.au
The tragic events resulting from recent Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 serve to again highlight fragile nature of many of world’s communities. In each of these locations key tasks of treating sick and injured, ensuring clean water was available, or made available, providing food, accommodation and so on was critically important as a first step on way to rebuilding these communities.
What further serves to highlight magnitude of challenges facing world as a whole, is fact that many other activities along development continuum continue to be in operation, or needed. In many cases these are needed in same countries affected by this tragedy.
Adam Gilchrist of Australian cricket team, during telecast of Tsunami relief match, commented with interest that within a very short period following disaster, hundreds of millions of dollars became available to support needs of affected communities. Yet he commented further that 15,000 people each day die unnecessarily in Africa from disease. His point was not to devalue Tsunami relief contribution, but rather to highlight need for ongoing commitment from those who are more fortunate in assisting those most in need.
So much more is needed.
As was seen in early stages of relief effort, citizens of world are incredibly generous and compassionate and recognise that we all can do something - sum of all parts can make a difference.
While each of us has different personal circumstances, which define type of support or involvement we can offer, there are plenty of options. These options can be as simple as a donation or sponsoring involvement, to volunteering internationally or domestically, or making long-term career decisions to be involved in development.
The Australian Government has shown a great lead through activities such as Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development Program (AYAD) (www.ausaid.gov.au/youtham). The program places young Australians on short- to medium-term assignments through which they have opportunity to employ their skills, as well as develop a greater understanding of development needs of our neighbours.
Similarly, organisations such as Australian Volunteers International (www.australianvolunteer.com) support recruitment, placement, preparation and management of volunteers for purpose of working towards sustainable development of communities. (It should be noted here that Australian government, through AusAID, is a major fund source for these programs).
Of course, volunteering for either short- or long-term assignments is not possible for everyone, which is fine. The astounding statistics relating to level of donation for Tsunami relief effort suggests that clearly there are many of us who have done other things, in whatever way we could, to offer support. Similarly, many of us sponsor children through organisations such as Plan (www.plan.org.au) and World Vision (www.worldvision.com.au).
All of this helps.
What about link between commercial aspects of development industry and benefits it is meant to deliver?
So often in conversations I hear statements such as “consultants are getting paid too much”, “firms are making too much profit” and so on.
Are these statements fair?
First of all I would think it a unique situation in any industry if there were not a difference in earnings between certain individuals and different organisations. So at some point in all industries, “they are making too much” is going to be heard. Just because it is said does not mean it is valid.
Secondly, there are a lot of high quality organisations (and Australia has many) that continue to provide quality solutions to contribute to sustainable development. While we would all certainly hope that need for development activities would disappear, this is not likely in near future. So for organisations to continue to provide quality inputs, they also need to be sustainable.