Giving Wisely

Most of us have heard of the floods in Pakistan which have wiped out much of its infrastructure and left millions homeless.

Apparently the U. S. government is giving direct aid to the victims as well as $217 million for immediate relief and recovery efforts. That huge chunk of money is a bit worrisome. There’s always the danger that much of it will end up in the wrong hands. Some victims of the flood have expressed their skepticism that it will help them at all, and some Pakistanis have even said that sort of aid is apt to do more harm than good… it will simply feed corruption and line the pockets of the rich and politically connected.

Some individuals have been loath to donate money because of that worry. I think a better approach is to give to one of the many organizations with established track records for helping the Pakistanis. I personally have donated to Oxfam, which has a high Charity Navigator rating. Oxfam happens to be concentrating on rescuing people trapped in the floods and providing clean water and sanitation supplies to prevent the spread of disease:

But there are many more organizations who are doing other vital work in the region. It’s wise to be skeptical of how effectively our foreign aid money is being spent, and to try to hold our governments accountable. But that doesn’t mean we need to throw our hands up in despair. We individuals can help too.

What do you think?

Thanks to Mike, Looney, Evan, Rummuser, tikno, Eduardo and gaelikaa for commenting on last week’s post.
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13 Responses to Giving Wisely

  1. Evan says:

    I think for direct relief and innovative solutions the charities are always the better option.

  2. Jean says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Bless Charity Navigator and other sites for rating the charities for us. There can be scams there too.

  3. gaelikaa says:

    It is always good to help and better still to do so through reliable channels.

  4. tikno says:

    A good post for the parties involved (or who want to be involved) in the matters of humanitarian assistance in Pakistan. Hopefully the aids of non-Muslim country can touch their hearts.

    Do you also hear any aids for Pakistan from the rich countries in middle east?
    tikno´s last blog post ..Condemns the Koran burning plan

  5. Rummuser says:

    I am an Indian. The Pakistani establishment does not want my money. I am still willing to send it to any individual or family as long as it is acknowledged that it is from an Indian individual.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..India Pakistan Relations

  6. Jean says:

    I agree!

    Apparently China and Saudi Arabia are Pakistan’s biggest patrons but weren’t giving much aid until the U.S. asked them why they weren’t doing more to help. China has serious flood problems of its own but increased its aid to $9 million and Saudi Arabia increased its contribution to $124 million. I do find it interesting that the Muslim states, with their presumably belief in charity, weren’t in the forefront. See this Central Chronicle article.

    I don’t expect our own aid to soften any hearts. Most Pakistanis hate us because of our drone attacks and other involvement and that’s not apt to change.

    I had heard that Pakistan reluctantly accepted $5 million from India. The article linked to above says that has now been increased to $25 million.

  7. Jean says:

    PS I’ve been enjoying the dialog about Koran burning and civil liberties in your last post, tikno.

  8. Guru Eduardo says:

    for now I’m donating to the Red Cross.
    Guru Eduardo´s last blog post ..The meek shall inherit the world

  9. Jean says:

    That’s a good group too. There are a lot of choices.

  10. tikno says:

    PS: and I still withstand against the word: “absolute”. Did you see everything without limit? 🙁
    I hate bothers your value too much because you are my friend 🙂 and I must find a software to make both compatible before answering your comment. 😉
    tikno´s last blog post ..Condemns the Koran burning plan

  11. Jean says:

    Actually free speech is not limitless in the U.S. Do the Muslims think there are limits to Allah?

    You would have to understand the history of England, something about the Enlightenment and the history of our revolution to understand why this freedom bit is so important to us. Yes, there are dangers to taking it too far, but giving the government too much power over the individual is a much greater danger to some of us. That’s why we don’t outlaw some behaviors that we find reprehensible and would never do ourselves. Our courts go round and round about this. The Teaching Company has a course called Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights that is 18 hours long (36 half-hour lectures). It’s a very complicated subject.

    I hope you’re not getting upset about our conversation. I certainly am not. For me it strengthens our friendship. 🙂

  12. Jean says:

    The link to the Teaching Company course is You might want to read the course description to get a feeling for the complexity.

  13. Rummuser says:

    It had to be routed through international aid agencies as Pakistan’s establishment does not want its citizens to know that India is giving aid to them and two, they are not prepared to accept aid from Indian individuals to any NGO in Pakistan currently in relief work. If one of them accepts, he can land himself in trouble
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..The Ear Cleaners

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