Middle East erupts, foreign aid cuts and World Vision survives Superbowl T-shirt attack | 

Based on a very unscientific sampling of the foreign aid and development blogosphere, three issues have dominated most of the discussions lately in this community devoted to fighting poverty and improving lives worldwide:

  1. The uprising in the Middle East.
  2. The push by some in Congress to cut deeper into the foreign aid budget.
  3. World’s Vision plan to give NFL Superbowl T-shirts (of the losing team) to poor people.

Flickr, americanistadechiapas

Superbowl 2011

I will focus only on the last issue of the T-shirts, leaving aside for now the first two topics which may be more important but are often, in fact, not very entertaining.

It’s much more interesting to pick on a large do-gooder organization for doing something apparently ill-conceived like donating to poor people more “stuff we don’t want” (dubbed SWEDOW or GIK, gifts-in-kind, by the development cognoscenti).

I should add, in the interest of full disclosure, that I was one of those who jumped on the outrage bandwagon about World Vision’s loser T-shirt donation scheme. Continue reading