Assignment 3

A humanitarian aid is like a double-bladed sword that can be both beneficial and harmful. In the process of supporting and delivering, intended and unintended problems can be occurred. Some humanitarian organizations are aware of these consequences and problems; however, they do not have other options but to follow the system and work with what they have. From Sierra Leone to Rwanda to North Korea, humanitarian organizations have said lives in spite of inefficiency of them. A human being’s responsibility to protect humanity in whole has formed strong INGOs. The intention is great, but many factors make harder for INGOs to work as genuine and passionate as before. In the book The Crisis Caravan by Linda Polman, the author goes in-depth analyzing where the problems have come from. These humanitarian organizations can’t avoid capitalism. INGOs earn most of their money from donations and it’s crucial that they use the media properly and effectively. Boutros-Ghali referred the CNN as the sixteenth member of the Security Council (Polman 101). It’s also logical idea for INGOs to hire beautiful women as press officers. It’s understandable that they need money, but using donated money to get more money by spending it too much in the media sounds ironical.

“As a rule, Sierra Leoneans in Freetown can barely even get close to the white humanitarians” (Polman 118). There are walls between the white community and uninvited locals. This made me upset. When I was in Tanzania this spring studying abroad, I’ve noticed something-you do not see Mzungus (a Swahili word for white people but locals call foreigners as ‘Mzungu’) anywhere but specific places. The places include: Subway, KFC, bourgeoisie restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. I met some people who work for the USAID in a club. They never tried to learn Swahili, never associate with locals unless they have to. How are they going help them if they shut down doors on them? “I’ve known aid workers who cared for child soldiers and war orphans by day and relaxed by night in the arms of child prostitutes” (Polman 120). Just like there are good and bad people in the world, there are aid workers who have good mentality and inappropriate mentality for them to work in humanitarian organizations.

Aside from intended consequences of internal structure of humanitarian organizations, there are unintended issues happening in the local fields. Charles Taylor, the president of Libya demanded 15% of the value aid, to be paid him cash. Also the entrance fee charged by warlord was almost as much as 80% of the aid supplies in Somalia (Polman 225). Yesterday, there was a major conference between North Korea and South Korea in Panmoonjum of the DMZ. For years, South Korea has been providing a humanitarian aid for North Korea, but the government of North Korea has been using the money for its military weapon. A humanitarian agency is getting money from compassion and heart of people for humanity. Donors blindly believe, and less aware of that where their money goes. And INGOs use those facts to manipulate people to get their revenue.


a good intention iteslef will not save anyone. people should be more aware about their helping hands.


Hall, Peter Christian. “’The Crisis Caravan’: Charity’s Road to Hell?” Huffington Post. October 11, 2010. Web. <>

Fanthorpe, Richard. “Humanitarian aid in post-war Sierra Leone.” University of Sussex.  (2003): n. page. Web. < aid in post war Sierra Leone the politics of the moral economy.pdf?1>

Polman, Linda. The Crisis Caravan. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010. Print


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One Comment

  1. Posted June 10, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I would like to hear much more detail about aid to N. Korea. Use your insider knowledge to tell us more about that, please.
    Also tell more about your experience in Africa.

    Take care to better edit and organize your essays, please.