Development programmes and celebrities- Madonna

I do love a challenge and have just entered Nikki P’s 30 day blogging challenge. right now I am not sure where I will get the time from but hey- I just had to be in it. So for the first post my challenge is to review the papers, find something that relates to my area of work and write about it!

As luck would have it all the papers are full of Madonna’s failed school project in Malawi

When I read this story several questions came to mind

  1. How? Really How? How does a project with so much money behind fail
  2. Why did it fail? OK, this was answered in the article- money went missing
  3. where did the money go?
  4. what happened

I was surprised that such a high profile project could fail so spectacularly and having got over the shock of it, I realised that at some level I was not really surprised.

For this is becoming a common  story of development where folk who think development is simply about throwing money at problems. Money is needed in development however, throwing  money at problems is not always the answer.

Reading through the papers, according to The Guardian, the land where the school was due to be built had no land title and some in the community felt they had not been adequately compensated for their land!

I have written about community involvement in development projects several times as the heart and soul even of any development project  that wants to succeed. But how people like Madonna with access to all manner of experts get it so wrong is beyond me.

The other notion I revisit time and time again is one of  FIRST DO NO HARM– I have to ask how much harm Madonna and her team have done in this village/community and was this  the best way to spend such huge amounts of money and have nothing to show for it!!

Was it really beyond the scope of the project officers to involve/work with the community to ensure that everyone was on board, happy with the compensation they received for the land and that the land had the correct paper work in place?

Let’s face it no one would dream of building anything of that scope here in UK without the necessary approvals from local government and or the neighbours.

So why do celebrities think things should be different in Africa?

Oh Well!

In the mean time Nikki and I contribute to a FORBES 100 blog and our revenue is spent on the education of two girls in SW Uganda, the school they attend is constructed on land that was donated by some one in the community and a classroom that sits 30 children cost #1000 to build, we have built 6 classrooms now with the help of friends and well wishers.  Here is how end of term went for our girls last year





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