Sunday, October 23, 2011

Censored 2012: Oxfam Exposes How Aid Is Used for Political Purposes

Oxfam last year announced that billions of dollars in international aid is spent on dangerous aid projects skimming past other people who really need the aid. Which draws " a line between civilian and military activity" (Oxfam). I've never really put this in context but I really can see how that 

Here are a few facts I discovered whilst researching this story: 
  • Oxfam have discovered that billions of dollars in international aid was spent on "unsustainable expensive and dangerous aid projects... which internationals donor governments used to support their own short-term foreign policy objectives. " (Oxfam). 
  • Last year the report showed us that 225 aid workers were killed, injured or kidnapped in violent attacks, compared to 85 in 2002.
  • In Somalia, the service aid dropped in 2008 to 2010 due to the US and inserted some armed groups in control of the majority of central southern Somalia.  Different people were labeled as terrorist under US law, and soon ended funding because aid groups could not guarantee that no aid would reach those groups. 
    Photo Credit:  The Guardia
  •  "Between 2001 and 2008, more than 40 per cent of this increase in aid was spent in just two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq. The remainder, Oxfam said, was shared between 150 other poor countries. "(Oxfam)
In the news?
I discovered that Oxfam has appeared in the headlines a handful of times when it involves how they can relate to political means. However I could not really find anything about their comment on how much money is spent on aid projects to help governments.  

One place I did find an article concerning this censored story is the Guardian in the UK.  I expected to find more on this topic in the UK because whenever I hear Oxfam I immediately think of the United Kingdom and all the events held. So I was shocked to only find information on this one website. 

In the one article I found, Military Priorities are Distorting Aid Budgets, Says Oxfam, written in February 2011, references the Oxfam report "Whose Aid is it Anyway?"  and speaks about the different percentages of money and volunteers sent to different locations.  

Attached to this article are other links that help understand what is going on and how Oxfam is trying to help get this message across. There is also a great podcast created entitled The Securitization of Aid where the Guardian's journalist speaks about the Oxfam report and their opinions on it. They speak about their concern on recruiting aid for national security purposes and distribution of aid and fast projects as opposed to long projects.

Is this a censored story?
This story is absolutely a censored one today's media. However in the academic world it's much more prominent.  When I type in "foreign aid for political reasons" I come across some scholarly articles and essays but nothing in the news. I looked at my trusty news source, the BBC, and couldn't find a thing. I then went to CNN followed by many other large news corporations including Reuters.  I did however find two infographics which cover the topic of Foreign Aid and the amounts of money different governments spend and where they focus on.   

The first focuses on U.S Military Spending Versus Foreign Aid:  
(For a better look click here)

Photo Credit: Daily Infographic

The second infographic I have found, focuses on how much money in general countries spend on foreign aid. This is interesting to look at because it shows how much in total was given. When thinking about the Oxfam report, it brings me to wonder more on what regions the money the US is spending is going to?  (For a better look click here)

Current events that relate to this topic:

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spoke at the commonwealth conference in Australia earlier last month.  While talking about foreign aid, he mentioned how the UK will stop aid to countries who do not believe in the same Human Rights that the majority of the world believe in. He specifically mentioned how they should support gay rights.  Both Uganda and Sierra Leone, have blasted back saying they were outraged.

1 comment:

  1. This is excellent CENSORED research, Brooke.

    You do a fine job of leveraging both our Web 2.0 and power tools - the INFOGRAPHIC charts are astonishing.

    And indeed, this does seem a censored story, beyond the halls of academia...

    Bravo - you have set a high bar here...

    Dr. Phineas