New book United Nonsense shows why local organisations cannot make it in the professional aid world. Even though they are the experts desperate to help their own communities.
Localisation of aid is failing. We give around $143 billion dollars in international aid. Almost none of it makes to local people. The grand promise of 25% of Western aid making it to directly to local organizations, up from an astonishing 1%, by 2020 is about to be broken. Why is this?
I’ve worked in the charity sector for a decade. The thing is, I never actually worked for anyone else. I started-up my own charity. In Syria. Then later in Palestine, and Jordan. I had the double whammy of working on a start-up, and working in war zones.
I’m a Bengali, of working class background, Londoner, Muslim, the labels could go on! Of course it mattered, the colour of my skin and the fact I don’t have a penis. The Middle East has a problem when it comes to women; sexual harassment, from touching to abuse is common. The international aid world has a problem with colour. The aid sector is full of so much ‘unconscious bias’ it shows up like its taken Viagra and is trying to keep it hidden in its skinny jeans.
I’m now in Berlin, with two toddlers, and a stability that has me looking over my shoulder in surprise that no man is trying to put his hands between my legs. Or on my thigh. Or trying to buy me. Or……
It felt like the right time to stop and think about all those experiences. It’s a story that is crying out to be shared. After all how many woman end up running a sports charity in a misogynistic racist, universe that happens to be at war with itself?
So, 2019, is the year of writing this story. And at the same time trying to find answers to why local people get basically, none of the aid money.
I’ll be blogging about my writing journey here. Have fun following me.