NGOs, not governments, are the new vehicles of imperialism

NGOs, not governments, are the new vehicles of imperialism

But this is the inevitable result of trying to buy civil societies with Western funds. For civil societies do not yield so easily to market logic. Functional ones cannot be bought. They must be grown. Indeed, far from helping, throwing money often compounds the problem. And yet more money keeps being thrown. Already, one-fifth of international aid is via NGOs. At the level of bilateral aid, 23 per cent of U.S assistance programmes are channelled to the sector. This combined with low barriers to entry and lacklustre oversight has perverted incentives. As NGOs have grown fat on the bounty, many have also grown corrupt. Stories of NGO scandals abound. Take Somaly Mam, where in 2014 the CEO (and founder) of the anti-sex-trafficking NGO, was found to have fabricated stories of abuse about herself and others. Or the Honduran non-profits The Dibattista Foundation and Todos Somos Hondurenos, which between 2010 and 2014, swindled 12 million dollars from the country’s already depleted Treasury. Or Oxfam’s sex scandal in 2018, where during missions in Haiti and Chad, members of the prestigious NGO paid for prostitutes with donated funds. Or the telling but sobering fact that 11 out of 17 of France’s largest NGOs refused to participate in a confidential Médecins du Monde study on corruption.

So, far from building social trust in the developing world, NGOs have atrophied it. Trying to circumvent the perceived corruption of local governments, Western donors have merely displaced it. Overly dependent on troughs of foreign funds, these NGOs lack domestic support. Instead viewed simply as instruments of overseas interference.

The recent situation of Myanmar is emblematic of this dynamic. A group of NGOs have written a letter urging the Norwegian PM to stop a Norwegian telecommunications company from selling its stake in Myanmar to Lebanese firm M1 Group. The Norwegian state-controlled giant Telenor sold in response to the recent military coup and the NGOs allege M1 Group won’t uphold the same privacy standards that a Western company like Telenor would. But this concerted manoeuvre raises many questions. What is the track record of these NGOs in pushing for foreign intervention? How well do they understand the situation in Myanmar? And how much funding do they get from Western governments – each with their own ulterior motives?

If these foreign-funded NGOs are to ever gain the trust of the people they claim to speak for, then these questions must be answered. And answered honestly and forthrightly. But they won’t be. For an honest reckoning would reveal them for what they are. Not a burgeoning civil society. But simply the Missionaries of the 21st Century – seeking to protect the benighted natives from their own devices.- EU Reporter

See: Crisis caravan- NGOs are businesses dressed like Mother Teresa

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