Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nepal overcrowed by developmental agencies

For a country with just 28 million people, there are over 15,000 NGOs and INGOs (up from 220 in 1990). Yet, Nepal still is among the top ten poorest countries in the world! There is overcrowding and coordination problems among the NGOs and INGOs, leading to replication of projects and overflow of money in one sector and underflow in some important sectors.

Here is an interesting piece from the Guardian. This one has Easterly's tone on aid!

...the number of NGOs and international NGOs in Nepal is so large that they comprise almost 60% of the country's gross national product (GNP). Without them the economy would collapse. Some estimate that volunteers alone contribute up to 5% of GNP.

...But the flipside is that by developing their own parallel systems, the thousands of third sector organisations are not only replicating work done by each other, but also taking over the government's role. Surely it would be better over the long term that the Nepalese government itself develops the capacity and knowledge to provide the services it is meant to? agencies are also fond of flying in their own "experts" when needed, rather than developing and growing local expertise. As the old saying goes – give the man some fish and he can feed his family for a day; teach him how to fish and he can feed them for a lifetime.

...The World Bank, always fond of lending money to developing countries to build massive infrastructure projects they don't need (contracted out to western companies of course) and contributing to their national debt, is a big part of the same problem too. The money is coming in but the Nepalese government is finding that it has to spend a significant amount of time adhering to their demands and "managing donor business" as one put it, rather than running domestic affairs.

...The trafficking of women from Nepal into India remains a huge problem but neither country is devoting many resources into dealing with it. ...As with everywhere, women and minorities face major hurdles and even the aid agencies aren't doing enough to combat it.