One of the few blogs I check on a semi-regular basis is Tales from the Hood which recently had a post about dependency. I added these thoughts:
This reminds me a bit of the World Food Program. Last year, during the food crisis, rather than cut back on what food was delivered, stop programs which were the least successful, or a variety of other options, they stopped the program all together for the last quarter of the school year here in Cambodia.
Now, I don’t happen to agree with how the WFP organizes their programs to begin with, importing food (at the cost to our planet of a lot of shipping from the US and the EU) when it could be bought locally to support the local economy. “That would be difficult: quality control, pesticides, supply consistencies…”, sure, I hear you, but because something would be “difficult” should not be the reason we undermine local economies in the name of “donating” and in effect underwriting our own farming economies…. anyway, I digress. Point being, I don’t agree with how it is organized, but I do think that a dependency was created, and then all of a sudden children who were no longer being fed breakfast at home as they had been feed at school for many years showed up at school and there was no longer breakfast.
What’s worse, starting something and then taking it away, or not having started it at all? This is a question we have to ask ourselves a lot in our own work, wondering what the negative implications will be when we some day stop the programs we are currently doing…. I hope it won’t be as devastating as the donut disappointment, though I do fear for some programs it will be much worse.