Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Development tourism revisited

My short cynical post on "Development Tourism" seems to have stimulated some discussion on other blogs, most notably in a post of a certain Chris Blattman. In particular though, I like the follow-up post in response to the discussion in which Chris says...

"Several people pointed out, rightly I think, that Westerners who spend even two weeks on a development project can give back, just not right away. Later it life, these people may give more time, thought, and money to important causes and decisions as a result. That is excellent, and important.

In that case, however, perhaps we should call these trips what they are: thoughtful and caring, but experiential, not charitable.

I think what makes me uncomfortable is the tendency (for some) to frame or advertise short visits and contributions as a way to give back, or (worse still) to 'save' someone else. ... Saving, I would argue, is an impossible and ultimately harmful aim."

My sentiments entirely. Nicely put.

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