Hugh Jackman on development aid

What I have learnt is that economic development projects, funded by aid, can and do work. They work by tackling poverty on many levels – by introducing initiatives such as education and skills training, agricultural development and access to finance, technology and markets.

At their core, these projects work because they are all about empowering people – giving a community a hand-up, not a handout. They’re about teaching a person to fish rather than giving them a fish. They’re about setting up a community to succeed and stand on its own two feet.

The ongoing challenge is to identify how we can help initiate and sustain the development of the poorest countries. There is no blueprint, but there is broad agreement that the changes necessary for development must come from within the society itself – they cannot be imposed from outside. . . .

Because economic development is complex, field projects take many forms: microfinance programs to enable the poor to purchase income-producing assets; education and training to increase employment prospects; and advocating on behalf of the poor for land rights, roads and social safety nets to see them through times of hardship.

History has shown development is possible, but not inevitable. Our challenge in the developed world is to help people to be more productively involved in the economy, to raise themselves out of poverty, and achieve a life with choices for their children – all without handouts. From what I have seen, economic development projects do work. They are the best answer to one of the biggest social issues of our time.

Full article, The best development programs help people to help themselves.

Hugh Jackman speaks further on deveopment aid in a documentary to be screened on 19th September at 4 pm on Channel 9.

Hugh Jackman is a World Vision Australia ambassador and supporter of its economic development program, SEE Solutions.  Blogger’s personal disclaimer: I am a director of World Vision Australia.

Also, Australia’s contribution to MDG 8.

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