If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday 7 February 2011

How Aid Can Work

A news story supporting capitalism from, surprisingly, the Beeb:

This is precisely the impact that the yellow-shirted sanitation marketing team from International Development Enterprises (IDE) were hoping they would have.

Cambodians' toilet habits are causing serious problems - and gently suggesting changes has not worked.

Most of this small south-east Asian country's people live in rural areas - and only one in five of them have access to a toilet.

In fact, people are twice as likely to have a mobile phone.
Aid agency gives villagers a toilet. Result - they come back later to find it is being used for storage, or to house animals.

Enterprise company visits village, tells them why they need toilets, and offers to sell them a simple and cheap design. Result - the villagers are queueing up to get one. Rival companies are set up, reverse-engineer the toilets and start up in competition. Toilets become a status symbol.

Aid encourages dependency and stifles economic activity. Thinking outside the box (sorry) stimulates growth and gets results. It's a chain reaction.

All together: yes we CAN.


  1. Seems people the world over have a problem with righteous nannies. Who'd have thought it?

    This story though shows with any nanny ignorance IS the best policy.

  2. People will act in their own self-interest, and don't value things they have been given that they may not want. Human nature is strange, isn't it?

  3. "Aid agency gives villagers a toilet. ........

    Enterprise company ...... tells them why they need toilets..."

    The 'Salesmanship' is the key; it's not what it is; it's what it does. Create the need, then satisfy that need.

  4. Exactly. And there is also the big difference between the paternalistic 'you need toilets, here they are' and the much more egalitarian 'here are the reasons, here are the goods, if you want them'. I know which I would respond to.


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