Here’s the last post concerning my weltwärts volunteering service. I’d like to give you an overview about development cooperation, the weltwärts program and weltwärts in Viet Nam.
I am often referred as a “good person” coz I’m involved in development cooperation. This is just partly correct. Let me clear this thing up, none of the organizations, nor do the individuals, operate without personal interest. That is fine as long as the participation serves a mutual purpose. I’ve given attention to a book lately written by Dambisa Moyo. Its title is “Dead Aid – Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa”. She argues that foreign aid has harmed Africa and that it should be phased out.
The book polarizes opinion. Her statements aren’t new; some of them are even outdated. However, large media coverage can raise the publics awareness. Public may reconsider development aid. Moyo is of the opinion that development aid creates a negative incentive system. Countries become dependent and aid conceivably promotes corruption. So she advances a view that the main reason of the countries misery is development aid. Instead of claiming cutting development aid, I suggest asking if there’s the possibility to give help which promotes self reliance.
However, it maintains the status quo instead eliminating the root cause of poverty. We might overestimate the impact of development aid. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development published a chart which shows three segments. The segments stand for good governance, politics of the developed countries and official development assistance the so called development cooperation. Interestingly, development cooperation is just in the position to support the two other segments.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations have been reforming projects to improve their service. There is a hope for change if national and international policies are harmonized. Good governance has to protect investors from official arbitrariness in economics. If governments of developing countries assure a reliable law and tax system, national and international businesses will increase.
Down to the present day developed countries grant subsidies to their business and economic sectors. Half of the European Union’s budget is used for the “Common Agricultural Policy” system. This makes domestic goods artificially competitive against imports from example developing countries. Subsidies distort markets and destroy poor countries’ opportunities. We keep those countries from economic growth with one hand, and donor a large amount as development aid with the other one. If we want, in the long term, a juster world and prosperity for everyone, we may not support such policies.
The weltwärts program contributes, at least in part, to development cooperation. “Global learning nurtures a new generation of development workers. It enhances inter-cultural understanding and helps increase awareness and acceptance within society of how development policy issues impact on our future.” Weltwärts will lead to success if the organizations constantly improve service.
Organizations should reconsider their projects and responsibilities. Most of the organizations don’t really know about their partner organizations projects. They send the volunteers abroad and blame the partner for all sorts of problems. German institutions have to ensure a proper work and a proper contract with the partner about hosting and liabilities in the forehand of sending.
Organizations should consider new ways for recruiting volunteers. German educational system is diverse. Many roads lead to success in career. Till this day most volunteers just graduated from high-school (German: Gymnasium). Many of those lack of seriousness of mind due to their little experience of life. Organizations should attract more people from in-company-training and part-time vocational schooling. The foreign language skills are competitive. Those recruits are well grounded in technical knowhow and/or commerce. It’s the mixture of people of different backgrounds that matters.
Weltwärts-assignments can be to any of the countries in the OECD list of developing countries. Viet Nam is changing from a centrally planned economy to a socialist-oriented market economy since the economic reforms Đổi mới (renovation) initiated in 1986. The economy is booming. However, transition economies often lead to increased inequality of incomes and wealth, dramatic and ongoing inflation, pervasive corruption in both the public and private sectors, and a fall in GDP.
We also need a change in peoples mind. The antisocial behavior must come to an end. Inter-cultural exchange can support this process. Young volunteers share live with Vietnamese. We can tell others about problems in our society and may show methods of resolution which people can apply to everyday life.
Most organizations, including mine, send volunteers to English training centers or Universities in Viet Nam for teaching the regular school’s curriculum. We support a system which gives money to privileged. Most likely foreign volunteers get even paid for it. The common salary for untrained volunteers far exceeds the wages of qualified Vietnamese teachers.
I have never accepted funds for my volunteer activities. I have never skipped any task. I just did as I consider volunteering best. I dedicated the past two years to inter-cultural exchange. I left my heart in Viet Nam. Thank all of you for your contribution to our good work. See you soon!