Thursday, August 19, 2010

dirty little secret

here's a dirty little secret - i didn't donate anything to the relief efforts in haiti after the devastating earthquake this past january.  yes, i wanted someone to hire me to go there, but i didn't donate.  call it karma, but i sort of felt as though costs associated with the response would be covered because of the incredible news, pop culture, and celebrity coverage the disaster got.  this is likely not the best way to judge whether or not humanitarian efforts need any additional financial support, but there it is and that is how i made my decision.

in keeping with that same thinking, ever since i heard of the floods in pakistan a few weeks ago, i have thought that it is so interesting that a natural disaster that has displaced an estimated 3 million people has warranted little more than a mention on the nightly national news and have found myself wondering if this is at all correlated with how much money has been donated by private citizens like me.

and it wasn't long before this line of thinking was covered by a popular aid blog, aid watch, and after reading it and thinking 'what the hell am i waiting for?,' i just donated to islamic relief.

i picked islamic relief because (and how is this for good donorship...) i knew a girl who used to work there before i met her when she worked for another international relief ngo.  she didn't even have fantastic things to say about her working experience there, but nonetheless that is how i picked one of the agencies i know are on the ground in pakistan.

this will be rather interesting to watch play out because perhaps donors are fatigued, perhaps richies like me (and you, most likely) in the developed world don't have such a connection to a country half a world away, or perhaps freedom loving people are afraid that they will be funding terrorism and the like by giving to pakistanis, but i don't feel confident that it will be such the groundswell of donations as haiti was.  i could be completely wrong, however, as many muslim ngos and networks are incredibly well funded using a completely different donor model and they might teach those of us participating in a more western and, dare i say, mainstream response a thing or two.

coincidentally, today is also world humanitarian day.

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