My mid-morning browsing today lands me on an article (Swedish) that has made me feel slightly sick. Apparently, at the G8 summit in July, held in Rome, Ghanaian children were flown in to be fed porridge by the wives of G8 leaders (English)!
To show the work the World Food Programme had been doing, they put on this spectacle which also included the children dancing and singing. The whole affair cost approximately (brace yourselves) $500,000! From what I have read so far, these claims are not confirmed by the UN but have been spread by the Swedish development agency, SIDA. Like their own representative says, I too can only hope that it is not completely true.
I don't even want to delve into a discussion on every human's right to dignity, the use of these school children as 'show dogs' for the WFP, etc. but I am now focusing on being annoyed at the fact that so much money was spent on a show of WFP's good work. Talk about defeating your own cause! Imagine the many homes, schools, books, clothes, shoes and food that could have been bought with that money!
Reading Sarah Brown's blog (that's Gordon's wife) gives a different angle of the story. Here the event is captured more as an opportunity for the Ghanaian children to sing and dance for the G8 leaders' wives and for the wives to see first-hand the work that is being done by the WFP. However, I still do not understand why an organisation that is dealing with poverty and how to help those in need would not see it more fit to simply set up a satellite link, Skype or in any other way communicate with a village where their work is being done and allow these wives to experience it live, rather than 'first hand' at such a cost.
(Picture borrowed from SIDA)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. And whilst I hope your morning got off to a better start, I'm still fuming and wondering:
If so much was spent on flying these schoolchildren all the way to Rome, completely out of their natural scenery, why oh why are they still wearing those distinct yellow/brown uniforms?!