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International Aid:  Keep It In-House

March 15, 2014

By: Mac-Z Zurawski

Global chat is spurred on by stories of failed international aid.  From Twitter to your local news channel, the horror stories revolving around global poverty intensifies everyday.  But why?  There are billions of dollars in international aid flowing from The World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to global governments with each new Tweet.  A quick glance at the World Bank’s ODA sheet disbursements and you would think everyone were a millionaire.  Not even close.  The populations of almost all of the African continents countries are living in dire poverty, less than $1.25 a day.   Dambisa Moyo’s book, Dead Aid, is a grim reminder of what aid is and what it could be.  We must go beyond the slander tactics rallied against the corrupt governments of Mugabe to start a new beginning.  This article will present a short but informative view on keeping aid in-house.  In-house defined as only allowing the aided countries companies and people to be the main creators and workers of new projects that are to relieve poverty.  It makes more sense than we normally discuss on the global stage.

Migratory Work Birds

According to the World Bank database the world had over 200 million migrant workers in 2010.  These are the same workers that will migrate to work in factories in Malaysia, Nigeria and other poor countries.  These workers own countries cannot or do not provide work for them.  I can understand their position in trying to find work in other countries.  But what happens to these workers in other countries?  According to Human Rights Watch, these workers endure economic hardship, personal injury and visa withholding to name but a few (HRW, 10-9-2012).   They often live in small work villages that lack running water, adequate (not even trying to use proper) housing, essential healthcare facilities, communication outlets, etc (Khalaf,  9-29-2013).   This is a short list of the problems that migrants endure in returning and expanding the cycle of poverty outside of their original homes.  These migrant workers have few resources for assistance as governments try to alleviate themselves of “illegal” immigrants by ignoring their needs.  This is a major reason for eliminating migrant work in international aid (IA) projects.  If countries cannot protect these migrant workers then eliminating them from jobs may be an essential strategy.  Again, I understand that these workers are looking to rise from poverty but it is a dangerous life fraught with enduring economic hardship for themselves, their families and the unemployed citizens. 

In-House Promotion

With the migration position being stated above, let’s move onto the four main reasons for keeping work and profits in-house: efficient review, increased citizen prosperity, increased citizen training and increased governmental experience for future projects.   

First Priority-MDI

An efficient review of aid based projects has exposed the need for people living around the project areas to prosper.  Pre-project projections should be based on the effect of aid on the locale not GNP or GDP.  The projections can be created by using a microeconomic examination through multidimensional index (MDI).  The project must be able to create a long-term working economical solution for the area to prosper.  One example is the water reclamation and recycling facilities near Pepsi manufacturers and distributors in India.  The water systems are based on the capability to bring for long-term training and employment for the local area citizens.   

Connecting Priorities-Citizen Employment and Training is the Future

In Africa many new aid projects are being created and constructed by African labor in central areas to the project (Moyo, 2009).  The Chinese investment in infrastructure is directly tied to training locals to alleviate travel and moving expenses for China’s workforce involvement outside of their own country. Instead of spending extra money to create a project, China has become one of the largest investors in Africa without extra labor costs (Moyo, 2009).  This is a great example of the need for citizen employment instead of migratory work birds.  The long-term costs are lower when employees and talent are temporarily taken from one countries project to another through aid projects.  The talent now stays within countries boundaries helping to create an expanded and skilled workforce.  Women have become the fastest rising skilled business creators and students in entrepreneurism around the world.  The more women are employed and trained the greater the prosperity base of a family and the extended family becomes (Isaac, 7-6-12).  Foreign aid needs to shift focus from a temporary fix to long-term investment in a country and its citizens.  When a workforce is skilled it can help to collect its experiences to continue building when investors have moved on.  In Uganda, citizens asked for foreign aid but wanted it as a means to create a skilled workforce (Milner, 2013).  These citizens see the ability for one aid project to turn into years of prosperity for their own workforce not a migrant force. 

The Future of Aid

The future of aid needs to be a long term investment through the women and local citizens of the projects.  The people of the areas can help conserve their areas environmentally and financially when included.  This may have been said a million times but the more we discuss it, the more we can work together to create world wide prosperity.

Mac-Z Zurawski is an experienced adult educator, political scientist, writer, blogger and social activist in political science and sociology. Feel free to contact her regarding new consulting, adjunct and seminar opportunities at




“Bahrain: Abuse of Migrant Workers Despite Reforms.” Human Rights Watch. 10 October 2012. Web. 2 Feb 2014.

Isaac, Cheryl. “Forget Foreign Aid, Focus on Foreign Investment in Women Entrepreneurs.” ForbesWoman. 6 July 2012. Web. 15 March 2014.


Khalaf, Abdelhadi. “Poverty, Poor Conditions, Drive Gulf Migrant Workers to Suicide.” AlMonitor. 29 Sept. 2013. Web. 2 Feb. 2014.

Milner, Helen, Daniel L. Nielson and Michael G. Findley. “Which Devil in Development?

A Randomized Study of Citizen Actions Supporting

Foreign Aid in Uganda.” Social Science Research Network. 5 May 2012. Web. 15 March 2014.

Moyo, Dambisa. Dead Aid. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. Print.




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