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Don’t Double Aid To Africa, Charity Begs Blair

Sunday 3rd July 2005





Don‘t Double Aid To Africa, charity Begs Blair 


The international development charity Harvest Help has urged Tony Blair not to increase aid to Africa until he stops millions of pounds being wasted.

Harvest Help claims too much aid sent to Africa is ineffective because it does not tackle the right issues in the right place. The charity says it fears fresh aid to Africa, likely to be promised by world leaders meeting at the G8 summit next week, will make little difference unless it goes towards work that directly supports people facing poverty and hunger.

Harvest Help, which supports local organisations to help rural families facing poverty and hunger in Zambia, Malawi, Ghana and Togo, says the Prime Minister must ensure aid money is being properly spent before pledging more cash to Africa. It is also concerned that not enough money is spent on supporting families to grow their own food.

The charity’s Director Andrew Jowett was speaking as Harvest Help prepares to unveil a new film highlighting its success in Africa as world leaders get ready to meet at the G8 summit in Edinburgh.

Andrew Jowett said: “There is clear evidence  that the majority of aid is not getting to the heart of the problem, which means millions of people going hungry because they cannot grow enough food to feed their families.

“Just 20% of aid gets spent in the poorest countries, and only 10% gets spent
on support towards the Millennium Development Goals.

“More and more aid is being given to Governments whose capacity to spend and account for it is questionable.

“Our biggest concern is that not enough money is spent on supporting poor farmers to grow their own food or develop rural livelihoods . These people make up the majority of those facing poverty in rural Africa.

“In our experience, aid money must be used to invest in millions of rural families so that they can grow enough food and provide for their families. This is the best way to make poverty history.”

Mr Jowett said Harvest Help, which is celebrating 20 years of working in rural Africa, believed its straightforward approach was the way forward.

“Our success in helping more than 120,000 people in Zambia, Malawi, Ghana and Togo out of poverty and onto the path of self-reliance proves our way works. Tony Blair needs to ensure that international aid gets to the heart of communities by funding work on the ground if Africa is going to be helped.”

The High Commissioners of Zambia and Malawi will attend the unveiling of a new Harvest Help film called ‘Good Seed On The Ground’ highlighting its success over the past 20 years to a celebrity and media audience at the London hotel Flemings Mayfair on Tuesday (July 5) evening.

Broadcaster Alison Bell travelled to Zambia and Malawi with a film crew and spoke to people who have learnt sustainable farming skills and other forms of earning a living through local organisations funded by Harvest Help.

The 17-minute film features moving accounts from people that have benefited from projects operated by local non-governmental organisations, supported and funded by Harvest Help.

Mr Jowett concluded: “Throwing money at Africa and hoping for the best will fail. We welcome the Prime Minster’s commitment to helping Africa and his attempts to encourage others to do the same. But gestures of aid will not make poverty history unless it is targeted appropriately.”



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