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Sunday, September 30, 2007

 

How to Help Skinny Ethiopians

An article in the Denver Post, written on September 29, 2007, is titled: Hunger to do good helps Ethiopian kids. During this interview Noel Cunningham, a local entrepreneur and restaurant business owner, helped buzz his own program that aims at helping the "unfortunate" of Ethiopia. Cunningham's program,"Quarters for kids", collects money from high school students and donates them to needy Africans. The program also attempts to impress the value of the US dollar and their own economic "fortune" into their minds. I find this article to be inconsistent with an effective means of helping "unfortunate" Ethiopians.

Cunningham says, "In Ethiopia, here's the significance of a dollar: A quarter will buy breakfast, a quarter will buy lunch, a quarter will help pay for education, and a quarter will help to pay for a school uniform and shoes." Giving for the sake of giving, with no expectation of return or gain, is fine. Nevertheless, I suggest that this seemingly harmless act of giving money to Ethiopians is the wrong way to create positive economic improvement. Two specific arguments support this thesis: First, giving money or food to African countries does nothing to solve the most basic economic problem in the region: corrupt/predatory government. Second, charitable donations do more than quench hunger pain, they also quench the fire for change that is needed for African economic and political upheaval. If hungry Ethiopians want change badly enough, THEY must fight it themselves.

Instead of promoting programs that mask instead of create real change, the American people are perpetuating a growing problem. Government should allow economic freedom for the success of all African entrepreneurs. If young risk-taking Africans feel as though their investments will be left to the guns of militant militia, there will be little growth! Allowing Africans to feel the pains of hunger, help fight predatory governments, and providing economic and business education, will allow a country with an abundance of resources to drastically increase its GDP and quality of life.

It may seem harsh to promote an idea that says, "Don't give!" Yet, giving a hand "up" is always better than a hand "out".

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