This week J. K. Rowling released her new book The Casual Vacancy, which saw record pre-order sales topping 1 million copies. Demand was identified, the book was written, orders and payments were taken and receipts given. The book was delivered to hundreds of thousands of peoples’ door steps, and orderly queues were formed outside of book shops across the world. A successful job was done.
This week, Unicef estimates that 3000 children will die from malaria. This is 1 million children per year. This is the same number of people who received the new J. K. Rowling book in one day.
How come the West can deliver a £13 book all over the world in one day, but can’t deliver 8 pence malaria medicines to the world’s most needy children?
Almost 3 billion people live on less than two dollars a day, 840 million people in the world today don’t have enough to eat, 1 billion people lack clean water, 1 billion adults are illiterate, a quarter of poor children will never finish primary school, and 10 million children will die this year from easily preventable diseases.
But in the West our governments continue to be able to increase our learning potential, lifestyles and social welfare. The past five decades has seen government agencies such as USAID and the Department for International Development (DfID), invest a gigantic amount of finance into solving the problems of developing nations. The amount is roughly equivalent to giving every man, woman and child on the planet today 1 thousand dollars each. Yet, the situations continue to get worse, poverty traps deepen, and solutions by these government agencies are becoming increasingly hard to find.
DfID have donated 200 million pounds toUganda’s health service, yet they are still struggling to buy simple things such as surgical gloves. Why do the nations in the West not question where our tax payers’ money is going and what our government international development departments are doing wrong?
Why are the West’s’ governments still implementing the same development strategies and calling for foreign aid to be doubled, when there is vast amounts of evidence to show that situations haven’t greatly improved and in some nations even declined.
This year in Britain millions of kind hearted people watched Pugsy the Bear and Terry Wogon on Children in Need, we cried at the heart breaking images and donated into the millions. But we rarely question why year after year the images of poor under-nourished children are remaining the same. We are still being called to donate millions for medicines which cost pence, yet the number of children needing these medicines rises each year.
Maybe the people who organised the development, sales and delivery of the new J.K. Rowling book, are the suitable people to deliver malaria medicine, and international aid? And its time for pop stars and the governments to take a step back and let the people who know what there doing to take over.