Module 1: Detriments of Traditional Charity

The international community is coming to realize that the habit of governments, politicians, celebrities, and non-profits to pinpoint aid, or traditional charity, as the solution to global poverty is simply not working. Many involved in the field of development are chiming in to the growing clamor concerning what needs to change.

As Moyo reminds us, there sometimes is “a clear moral imperative for humanitarian and charity-based aid to step in when necessary” (such as, for example, during the 2004 tsunami in Asia). As the opinions of seasoned development professionals above demonstrate, however, “development aid”—different from “humanitarian aid,” which provides support in acute situations of war, famine, and natural disaster—is sometimes neither empowering nor sustainable. The more promising, ground-level practices of Asset-Based Community Development could help in overcoming some of the deficiencies of traditional charity.

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(2) Moyo, D. “Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa.” The Wall Street Journal. 21 March 2009.

(3) Visscher, M. “The World Champ of Poverty Fighters.” Ode Magazine. December 2006.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Corbett, S., & Fikkert, B. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor-- and Yourself. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2012.