The Oxfam 'Sex Scandal' & NGO Imperialism - by Yves Engler

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NDPP
The Oxfam 'Sex Scandal' & NGO Imperialism - by Yves Engler

What the OXFAM 'Sex Scandal' Should Teach Us About NGO Imperialism

https://buff.ly/2owpWp7

"According to a series of news reports, Oxfam UK's Haiti director hired prostitutes and organized orgies at a charity-run villa set up after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Some of the girls may have been as young as 14, and Oxfam representatives traded aid for sex.

Since the earthquake there have been innumerable stories of NGOs abusing their power or pillaging funds raised for Haitians. In an extreme case, the US Red Cross built only six houses with the $500 million they raised after the earthquake.

A Canadian International Development Agency report stated that by 2004, 'non-governmental actors (for profit and not-for-profit) provided almost 80 percent of [Haiti's] basic services.' Amongst other donor countries, the Canadian government channelled its 'development assistance' through NGOs to shape the country's politics.

As intended, funding NGOs weakened the Aristide/Rene Preval governments and strengthened the US, France and Canada's hand. The Oxfam 'sex scandal' should shine a light  on the immense, largely unaccountable power NGOs continue to wield over Haitian affairs..."

Mobo2000

Great article, thanks for posting (and thanks Yves).   These specific revelations are stunning, and his overarching point about how NGO's are used to subvert local democracy and pursue neo-liberal goals is very important (and sadly familiar).

NDPP

"I was speaking to a PhD who has been working in Haiti for 30 years. He estimates that at least 50% of the NGO workers and officials in Haiti engage in prostitution of this nature..."

Oxfam's Sexual Abuse in Haiti...  -   by Roger Annis

http://rogerannis.com/oxfams-sexual-abuse-in-haiti-and-the-broader-patte...

voice of the damned

* I was speaking recently to a PhD doctor who has been working in Haiti for 30 years. He estimates that at least 50 per cent of the NGO workers and officials in Haiti engage in prostitution of this nature…

I carry no brief for the NGOs, and am quite prepared to believe the worst about some of their workers. But I'd like to see something more substantial than just "I was talking to some guy with a Ph.D and he told me..." before I accept statistics as valid.

 Why is the country [Haiti] with the most NGOs per capita in the world one of the poorest on the quality of life index, while its neighbor, which has the lowest number of NGOs and the most controlled NGOs in the world, has the highest quality of life? I’m speaking about Cuba. We can really see a correlation between the presence of NGOs and the very difficult life quality.

I think he might have the causistry reversed here. Haiti probably attracts the attention of NGOs because it's a poor country, rather than it's a poor country because of the NGOs. That doesn't mean I neccessarily think that what the NGOs are doing is helpful, just that I doubt that they are the root cause of the poverty in Haiti.  

And even if the NGOs are a substanial cause of the overall problems in Haiti, that probably wouldn't change even if all their workers stopped buying sex.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I’m speaking about Cuba. We can really see a correlation between the presence of NGOs and the very difficult life quality.

The best way I can think of to deal with this would be for all NGOs to leave Haiti.  Not only would that mean no more creepy and illegal rapes by NGO workers, it would mean that, like Cuba, Haiti can figure things out for themselves.  I'm 100% down with that.

voice of the damned

Magoo:

Would you favour unilateral withdrawl of NGOs? That is, if the NGOs(possibly under pressure from their home governments) said "We're going to withdraw from every country we are currently operating in, and we don't care whether or not the governments of those countries want us to stay", that would be okay with you?

And what if the governments of the recipient countries said "Yeah, you can leave, in fact, we WANT you to leave, but we'd appreciate an increase in straight financial donations to occur at the same time, since we think you owe it to us."

And I guess I'll just clarify: When you say "Haiti", do you mean only Haiti, or is that a stand-in for any country with western NGOs operating within it?  I ask, because my questions above kind of assume you mean the latter.

 

voice of the damned

double post

Pogo Pogo's picture

Perhaps if we spelled out the acryonym we would see the inherent nonsense of making univeral statements.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Would you favour unilateral withdrawl of NGOs? That is, if the NGOs(possibly under pressure from their home governments) said "We're going to withdraw from every country we are currently operating in, and we don't care whether or not the governments of those countries want us to stay", that would be okay with you?

I was being a bit facetious.  I really doubt that if aid organizations left Haiti, Haitians would suddenly become more properous.

Of course if Haiti wants them to leave, they certainly should, and I'm not being facetious about that.

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And what if the governments of the recipient countries said "Yeah, you can leave, in fact, we WANT you to leave, but we'd appreciate an increase in straight financial donations to occur at the same time, since we think you owe it to us."

Reminds me of people who make it clear they don't want a gift for their wedding, just the cash.

 

voice of the damned

Magoo:

Okay, gotcha. I wasn't sure if you were being sarcastic or not. And I agree, withdrawing NGOs from a country, in and of itseslf, is unlikely to result in much improvement.

From what I gather from my brief perusals of UK media, as well as from discussions with people in that country, the people pushing this NGO/prostitution issue the hardest are right-wingers and their tabloid allies, and they too agree that all those do-gooders should get out of countries like Haiti. But not because they want Haiti to become more like Cuba, but because they want it to stay the same as it is now. Minus the NGOs.

Not that I don't think we should be discussing the issue, far from it. Just that if we're gonna expand it to "And that's why all the NGOs need to get the hell out of poor countries!!", we should be aware of whose agenda that's ultimately gonna be serving.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Okay, gotcha. I wasn't sure if you were being sarcastic or not.

Not to nitpick, but I wasn't.

Facetious and sarcastic aren't synonyms.

Quote:
Not that I don't think we should be discussing the issue, far from it. Just that if we're gonna expand it to "And that's why all the NGOs need to get the hell out of poor countries!!", we should be aware of whose agenda that's ultimately gonna be serving.

Not much to be done if the righties want everybody to stop trying to help developing countries, so that evolution can take its course. 

I'm just more interested in the countries themselves, and whether they do or don't want (say) MSF providing health care and suchlike.  If they want them out, then they should get out.  And of course either way, those NGOs need to stop victimizing the people they claim to help.  But surely those countries can decide for themselves whether this or that NGO is actually helping, or the opposite.

voice of the damned

Not much to be done if the righties want everybody to stop trying to help developing countries, so that evolution can take its course. 

My main reason for bringing up the right-wing campaign against NGOs, such as it is, was that I think the people running that campaign have a more accurate view than does Roger Annis of what would happen if the NGOs were to all pull out. And I would have to think that this view is shared by the countries in which the NGOs operate, as at least some of them are surely making a free choice to host the NGOs.

Annis says that development work should be done by "national governments", and not NGOs, but presumably these national governments view hosting the NGOs as part of the development work. I take the point that, in some cases, and Haiti may be one of them, a recent history of invasion and violent regime-change might call into question the legitimacy of the government's permission. But I'm having a hard time believing that's the case in every country where NGOs operate.