Why support Compassion or Watoto

I wrote a post on why I don’t support Compassion but this one is an argument for why I should. This is by no means a change in my views that long-term Aid cripples rather than lifts up but an addition to it. As I said in the other post, I used to sponsor but due to financial constraints I stopped. It is a commitment that requires a consideration of where you are and whether or not you can continue paying the monthly $48.

1. Compassion and Watoto are honourable in the work they do.

I once had an issue with Compassion over the way information was presented at a conference and got in touch with them. They were open and apologised and explained their policy and how they do things. I was left feeling more confident in the work they do. They let locals tell them what is needed instead of going in and saying “this is the way things should be done.”
The locals run all the programs. They are clear about what it is they are doing with the money and up to date, I have not seen an ad of theirs that uses falsified information.
The same goes for Watoto. And any person who would stay and help people in a war zone, definitely gets respect from me…

2. There are people in Serious need

I used to often look at Aid adverts especially if Africa was mentioned and think “this is not possible, I grew up in Africa and things aren’t that bad.” But isn’t it funny how we are so quick to say that and yet we get so angry when we are grouped together as Africans. I don’t know how many times I have been asked questions that assume I’ve come from poverty because I am African. I think at least two people even assumed I was a refugee. Considering we know that there are variations in culture and circumstances, doesn’t it make more sense that some countries are well better off than others and that what we have seen, is by no means the norm? there are peaceful countries as well as war-torn ones as well as famine and abundance. In the case of countries like Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. there is a need for outside help and Aid, within reason to help them build. Couple the effects of war with HIV, you have children that need caring for. I have never been to any other countries in Africa except my own and Zimbabwe and South Africa. From what I have heard from people who have been to some of these places that have experienced war, the levels of poverty are beyond words. That doesn’t mean however that poverty doesn’t exist in our country…it exists everywhere.

3. Personal responsibility

I am an African and there are very few Africans who sponsor children. Don’t get me wrong! There are a lot and I mean a lot! of Africans who take care of orphaned children within the family as well as outside. But I used to think why should I sponsor children when I have family who need “sponsorship”. I have family with needs and  that those children have family too. But the reality is in war, families are disrupted. Our Pastor who went to Rwanda recently was telling us how in some cases only one family member out of 74 had survived. So many children were left alone, with no one. As an African, it is my responsibility to take care of my own. I came to this conclusion thanks to my Pastors and because of the convictions that God had been placing on my heart prior to that. But hearing what our pastors saw, and their wise counsel, we have to rise up and take responsibility for Africa. I guess it is even possible to say, for those suffering in the world. Starting with our own but growing to fit the whole world in our hearts.

I still hate the adverts with the swollen bellied children and a fly. But in this world, no one is perfect and you can’t have it all. There are only two organisations of this kind that I find this close to perfect. Compassion and Watoto. So if you are going to sponsor a child, definitely do it through them. Also consider the cost and whether you can manage it before you commit but definitely consider it!


Why I refuse to support Compassion and other similar ministries

Controversial I know, but it seems I’m always in a controversial place. From the post you can tell that I don’t support aid agencies. I used to but not anymore. I’ve even sponsored a child with compassion before but canceled the sponsorship because I had to reduce my working hours and wasn’t going to manage the expense. However that is not the reason I do not support aid agencies. I should state that I do believe Compassion and some of the other organisations are doing an honourable job and that this post is by no means an attack on them.

The year I moved to Perth I saw a very interesting advert on TV, I can’t remember for sure but I think it was a save the children ad (Emphasis on Not sure), on helping a village in Zambia get clean water and what was annoying about the ad was that it showed a Masai man getting water out of a dirty well. It was definitely not a Compassion or World Vision ad. The truth is, Zambia has no Masai tribes…None! In fact there has only been an influx of Masai men recently, who happen to be mostly illegal immigrants, mostly coming to work as hair dressers. They do not have villages in Zambia. My question is, if you are out to help the Zambian people, why not show us the need that’s there? Or is it a case of we are all African anyway so it doesn’t really matter? A quick search in google and you can find out that the Masai are found in Tanzania and Kenya. I will not support an organisation that misleads people to get funds. Yes, Australian’s probably won’t realise the error, but as a sign of respect for the people you’re claiming to help and care for, put out right and accurate information.

That is a minor reason for my not rallying behind Aid agencies. The other issue I have is aid in general. While people are genuinely trying to help, I believe that, (and I speak for my country and won’t speak for others) there is a need for people within our communities to rise up and change the landscape of our country. I believe in giving short-term aid, what I don’t agree with is aid being given over extended periods of time because I am of the opinion that people stop fighting to improve their lives if what they need is provided for them. All the great economies of the world were built on adversity and hard work and as a people, our discomfort should cause us to want to do better.

The fact that Zambia is ridden with malaria should cause Zambians to get into research and find a way to eradicate it…not us depending on outsiders to provide us with the means to eradicate it at prices that we can’t afford. Our country is full of resources. We have a very good climate and rain comes every year, but do we capitalise on it? No…Our people are still living in poverty. I don’t want it to sound like I’m blaming aid for our failures, I just believe that unless we fight for the change we need, the same cycles will continue and only we can truly determine what we want. So at the end of the day, I do support honourable agencies like Compassion but on a different level. We need to rise up and change what we want changed.