KONY2012 or FRAUD2012

KONY2012 launched last week and I kept thinking to myself, haven’t we been through this before?

Charity A Fraud?

Central figure putting himself in a story of poverty where you can help the helpless by giving the privileged guy money. One year out of the fraud of Three Cups of Tea fiasco and we seem to forget that any charity with a central figure looking to promote their story with this UNBELIEVABLY well put together story is a *gasp* fraud.

A conversation I’ve had several times over the last few years is on the value of aid. Microlending seems to be the most participated in direct aid that my friends participate in, but…

The distinction isn’t just academic. While the earlier generation of microlenders were non-profits that tended to loan to collectives or cooperatives, 50% of microlenders now loan just to individuals, and 25% are for-profit businesses. They are acting more like traditional lenders, and their loans aren’t cheap, with 10–100% annualized interest. Because microcredit continues to be praised as a development strategy, discerning whether such loans can have positive effects without the bells and whistles that sometimes accompany it is key.

So where is one to go to help?  Celebrating charity fraud (charifraud ?) should be just as rejected as the premise of withholding aid.  The biggest surprise of the traveling I’ve been doing is the amount of fraud around charity.  It has made me super hesitant to participate.

What works?  Knowledge share is super important, as is government and medicine.  There are things that are working, which is refreshing.

The only ask I wish more took the time to ask: can we move beyond these perfect storms of fraud and actually concentrate on communities where we know the names of the citizens (our own backyards)?






3 responses to “KONY2012 or FRAUD2012”

  1. Guesty McGuesterson Avatar
    Guesty McGuesterson

    What about kiva?


    “100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes directly towards funding
    loans; Kiva does not take a cut. Furthermore, Kiva does not charge
    interest to our Field Partners, who administer the loans.”

    I suppose that description leaves an opening on what might happen at the “Field Partners”…?

    Looks like there’s some data to sift through on that front

  2. NULL Avatar

    I fund with Kiva but have no idea about their partners.

  3. Timothy Johnston Avatar
    Timothy Johnston

    I like how you finished – in our own backyards. We run a feeding scheme in South Africa (I live in South Africa) and the success of the project is because my mother runs it, and we get funds from all our mates. 

    They are happy to contribute because they know the person running the show, and they know they have a certain amount of recourse if the right things aren’t done.

    We (as the people who run it) are petrified of it becoming too much of a success because then we lose that familiarity, the confidence of the donors, and ultimately the people who they are helping get a little less. 

    Charity begins at home; if everyone looked after their own backyard wouldn’t we be in a better world?

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