The Western World is aware that international assistance is required to help rebuild less developed countries... Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness of what it takes to make these systems work in the different cultural settings. This is especially the case with Afghanistan, which is years behind in progress due to 35 years of conflict.
We need to focus as never before on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the country, investing above all in the infrastructure of basic health and education services that will help lift people out of poverty. Afghanistan needs more schools, more health clinics and more trained teachers and health professionals to staff them.
You may be surprised to learn that over the past decade, a third of the money pledged by aid donors for water and sanitation has failed to be delivered. That's US$27.6 billion out of the US$81.2 billion committed since 2002. This is a staggering amount of money. It could have helped hundreds of millions of people gain access to water and sanitation.
So for the past few weeks, social media seems incredibly concerned with an article written to explain why white people are damaging to hands on international aid. It seems that their money would be better spent from their homes, and given to people who know better. White people in the developing world are a negative, not just a hindrance.
If you have any doubt as to why we think the UK's Department for International Development should prioritise disability, look no further than the situation of Esther Cheelo. Blind, elderly and with difficulty walking, Esther has for years relied upon a child to walk her into the scrubland near her home in Zambia to find a place to relieve herself, a humiliating and sometimes dangerous experience...
At a time when across the developed world public finances are under pressure, we must ensure our aid investments are cost-effective. Tackling child malnutrition could add $125 billion to the global economy each year by 2030. Yet only 0.37 per cent of aid globally is spent directly on tackling the problem. This is clearly a missed opportunity.
The eyes of the world may now be turned elsewhere, but Haiti remains one of the most vulnerable places on earth, battered repeatedly by earthquakes, cyclones, floods, landslides, drought, and epidemics. Hurricanes routinely knock up to 15% from GDP. The total volume of humanitarian aid to Haiti since 2001 exceeds $4billion. The challenge ahead is stark.