Well, we all know DFID, USAID, EUAID (Is there such a thing?) GIZ – as a DEVELOPMENT Agency – needs to be shut down, or at least – reduced to one woman writing cheques and a team of M&E experts – external.
Prequalification: *the term “White People” refers to ALL Colours from UK, USA and EU, they are defined by their hand-sanitizers and Apple Macs/iPads/i-everything, in their earnest, zealous endeavours to “save the Afreekian”. Daniel Deng and Parek Maduot (Two black men – are typical of “white people”)… it is NOT a racist/colour thing.
Where DFID/USAID try to feed refugees, (a job they subcontract to NGOs and WFP), they are mediocre at best… where they excel, they inoculate children against Polio, Measles, (again a job the contract to some very efficient NGOs and WHO),
WHERE THEY ARE TERRIBLE – is Income Generation/Self Improvement/Economic Growth type projects and their own self-assessment…
Where they are worse than terrible – is “changing course mid-stream” to achieve positive results.
I will draw from my South Sudan (SoSu) experience.
Save the Children, Aweil. SCF “found no children to save”, and so they resorted to giving families money in “brown envelopes” over a 12-24mth period and measured the improvement in living standards…
…They found “giving people money improves their ability to purchase necessities”. Like seriously? WOW. Such amazing economic foresight. Did these people go to school for this conclusion? I think a 9-year old child knows – “to give a beggar alms, so he can buy some food”… but we will stay with SCF’s mind-expanding fundings.
…(Also in Aweil, I saw SIDA do a milk project in Aweil Town, and predicted its failure – which it did… a hot metal kiosk, under the sun, no refrigeration). It did not need much to make it a success – make Yoghurt, Cheese (Gibna/Jibna) and have a table under a shady tree some 10 metres away, but alas, Swedes are monodirectional in their thought processes).
That SCF was not drummed out of South Sudan by DFID, like an errant child in a 19th century poorhouse… was because some bespectacled academic sitting in his Kensington flat, working from home 4 days a week, designed and self-approved the project, and it was evaluated as such.
A side note: Would such a study have been approved in UK – give money for 12-24 months – then withdraw it as funds are exhausted? I ask because of the impact on the family post-withdrawal… given that lifestyles are ratcheted, easy to go up, difficult go back down. I will personally use this as grounds to have SCF beaten out of South Sudan in a separate report.
Case Study 1)
I once found myself in a meeting with John Prendergast (YES, THE John Prendergast of George Clooney, Enough! And The Sentry Report fame, a man who swings the mighty USAID by the tail) and his country director, an Indian man who was essentially a jumped up accountant, making sure the numbers match… I had developed a reputation within Juba, and 2-3 agencies had come to me to discuss their plans, before implementation, to get my opinion. One kind gentleman from EU even used to bring 6-12 new arrivals to me for a dinner – of “questioning and conversation” as I did a crash course in education for them as to where they were… Afreekia!
So there I was, in Paradiso Hotel Juba, just down the hill from EU/UK/USAID/US Embassy, sitting with the famous John Prendergast (he is a handsome man with an enviable head of hair, I noted (enviously) as I sat down) and his some no-name Indian manager from India…
J.P: “Mr Khan, welcome, I …. …. To help *IT MIGHT have been Mercy Corps, or the ubiquitous SCF, we shall stick to SCF… to help SCF improve its performance in South Sudan, where they are trying to improve livelihoods and empower the community, and I heard of you… “insert words of lukewarm praise for me”.
My style is direct and abrasive – when I am in a good mood, dismissive when not, or when faced with low-grade intellect…
So I turned to his manager – Mr Indian – and asked him – have you been outside Juba? “Yes” he answers, “I flew to Malakal”. (I know Malakal… mud makes it difficult to move in the rainy season, you live and work in a 100-300 metre radius world). Me: “Have you been, say 5Km outside Malakal”? Him: “No, we stayed inside Malakal”. Me: “Have you driven 20Km outside Juba”? Him: “No, security advisory, we are not allowed”. This, you are telling me, a man who goes to Terekeka for a picnic (40-Km from Juba)
Digression-warning … *Ahhh white people and their security advisories… I knew an NGO based in Boma back in the day – HQ was in Lavington, country office in Loki – over a 5 year period, they were on the ground 2 weeks, remainder in Juba, due to a level4 UN Advisory… by contrast – SEAP – has been on the ground continuously for the 5+ years I have known them… that NGO eventually exhausted their funds on salaries and allowances in Juba/Nairobi-Lavington, and left.
Then – having gauged the capacity of the Indian Country-Manager-Man – and found him wanting, we call these “time-passers”, people who wait in an action-zone, zombified, ossified, waiting for 24 month’s salary-accumulation to “build something back home”… they are present in body, not in spirit, not in mind, and certainly not in intellect.
I asked him a direct question: Do you have any money-making economic activity-type projects based around Juba, either in design/thought form, or in initial stages? “No” comes a rather sullen answer, I suspect if his US Overlord-Master was not present, this overpaid peacock of a man would have arrogantly stated his past record in Hindustan/Bengal/Nepal in lieu of answering the question… but his Amreeki overlord was present, hence the sullen “No”… hehehehe…
I then remember I pushed out a list of 14 money-making projects (off the cuff) – that would pump money into the community, and result in a dried, preserved commodity that could be exported worldwide like dried freshwater clams, dried fish, dried crayfish, or a commodity saleable to WFP like dried fish-ropes (for inclusion in refugee/IDP rations)… turned to John-the-handsome and said –
“I bet if I had asked him the same question about his home country, he would have given me 18 money making ideas to help develop the country and community. I am sorry, this man is not qualified to be sitting at the same table as me, I am a guest, therefore I will excuse myself”! … And made an imperious exit!
Thus ends Case Study 1A) Typical NGO scenario – blank faces, well-qualified in Western Education people, really earnest, super-intelligent fish being told to climb a tree, and being paid handsomely for it. You can see them all over – belly-flopping NGOs – complete failure to achieve anything economic. Whether it is DAI, ABT, Chemonics, SCF… all blank, all fish serenely swimming in $$$pools, looking at the tree… wondering – “how to climb it”?
Case Study 2)
DFID’s SDP in Kenya – Smallholder Dairy Project – this project particularly sticks in my craw, because at inception I stated it would fail, got a withering look and comment from Dr Sutherland *(name may be incorrect-ish) from DFID… and it was flawed from step1, it is fixable at 25% of the original budget.
DFID launched the SDP to improve livelihoods of “smallholders” in Kenya, via dairy goats.
Result: 20 years later, Kenya has a miserable supply of goat milk, as witnessed by the fact that goat milk sells at 3x to 5x the price of cow milk, and Kenya has “probably zero tonnes of goat cheese produced per year”.
The most telling comment – I called Dr Wamae – KARI-KALRO’s leading goat man in Kenya: Dr Wamae, this is Nawaz Khan (Insert warm salutations and 2 min of asking each other about health) “How did the SDP perform? Be brutally honest”. Dr Wamae said – and I quote him: “Ah yes the KARI-DFID SDP Project, that project generated a lot of data”. Dr Wamae is available on firstname.lastname@example.org .
It is fixable, for a fraction (20%) of the cost… if you wish to complete that project and bring about the original aims of DFID’s SDP – improve food security, nutrition and income generation for poor smallholder farmers… of whom I have access to 400,000+ and they are getting poorer.
Case Study 3)
(2014-ish) DFID was the big boy in CBTF (Juba) and ASI – Adam Smith International LIED to DFID, the Govt of SoSu Press NEVER WORKED. I have a statement from Mr Phares (Director of Govt Press in Juba” – Me: “Phares, answer this question, when the ASI people left, how many times have you used the Govt Press”? Phares: “Never”… he then went on to list a number of flaws and faults – all of which were fundamental… from undersized Genset to mixed voltage equipment (Part Japanese, part Indian 2nd hand) part German machinery to a lack of trained personnel.
The crux of the matter was: To print the Govt Gazette, the Govt Press ran the Gazette as a 2-3 page advert in Citizen Newspaper, which they printed for a few days.
Total number of days – or numbers of Gazettes printed after ASI left? 0.00. The then UK High Commissioner REFUSED to believe me – when I told him about DFID’s miserable performance. “Surely not Mr Khan? Not EVERYTHING we do has failed”. He refused my invitation to go see the Govt press – even though it was less than a 5-minute drive from BHC. Case closed, he went back to his cloistered enclave of ticking boxes, crossword puzzles and single-malt whiskey. I never received an invitation to the Queen’s Birthday commemoration after that!
Anyways – I found later DFID gave the CBTF A’s and B’s… for a non-functioning project – “Turn-Key” project – where the white people make the project work, hand over – and go away patting themselves on the back… leaving the natives scratching their heads – and like CBTF, their grounds are more productive growing maize and sweet potatoes, than printing the Govt Gazette.
FARM: $75Mn – 40 tonnes Cassava – yes – one or two lorry loads…
GIZ: $65Mn – Aweil Rice – 0.00 rice grown two years later…
The list is endless – and legendary. By coincidence I was intimately involved in a lot of projects or non-projects – for two reasons – Arkel Hotel (which was my regular, and I ended up buying it), I was a supplier to many many NGOs for equipment and services – and introductions to
So clearly all these million $$$ and £££ operators are doing something HORRIBLY WRONG.