Sunday, May 13, 2012

Good intentions gone bad

“What do you think of international development?”, asked our new friend Joca.

“Do you want the political correct answer or the cynic one?”, retorted Fadi.

The truth is, international development has been heavily criticized in the last couple of decades. And not without reason. Fortunately, I don’t think anybody is so naive anymore to buy into the “Oh, we’ll go and save the world” kind of mentality. As pitfalls and mistakes have been exposed, people and organizations have become more savvy about how to generate positive change around the world.

One clear case of good intentions gone wrong was exposed in the documentary “The T-Shirts Travels.” The film shows how secondhand clothing, given away as charity in the West, ends up in Zambia (Mozambique’s neighbor to the northwest), enriching the middle person and ruining the local clothing industry in the process.

‘Every single clothing factory in Zambia went out of business; we do not have a clothing industry left in the country because the secondhand clothes are coming in.’ Mark O’Donnell, spokesman, Zambian Manufacturers Association

You can see the 50-min film here:


Want to know more about the issue? You can read it here.

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