March 18, 2011

Aid Proverbs…

Just a bit of Friday fun, making ten old proverbs relevant to the 21st century aid system…

  1. Always make sure you have a problem for every solution.
  2. An eye for an eye and soon we will all be in gainful employment.
  3. Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single logframe.
  4. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and run the risk of overfishing, contravening fishing policy and reducing biodiversity of the world’s rivers and oceans. (thanks due to Hippo)
  5. Remember, there is no human situation so miserable that it cannot be made worse by the delivery of large quantitites of unwanted goods.
  6. You don’t have to be faster than the lion, you only have to be faster than the other organisations in your priority areas.
  7. Would an infinite number of NGOs with an infinite number of laptops eventually deliver a coordinated humanitarian response?
  8. It’s easier to get paid for one’s principles than to live up to them.
  9. If at first you don’t succeed, simply revise your indicators.
  10. Imagination is more important than results.

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. A “result” in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  2. Outstanding, special mention of proverb n#7

  3. 😀
    no.s 4 & 5 have me chuckling particularly loudly!

  4. […] j’ai un peu de boulot, alors je fais une petite note rapide. Trouvé initialement sur le site « Aid on the Edge », une petite liste de proverbes détournés qui s’appliquent particulièrement bien à l’aide […]


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About Ben Ramalingam

I am a researcher and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. I am currently working on a number of consulting and advisory assignments for international agencies. I am also writing a book on complexity sciences and international aid which will be published by Oxford University Press. I hold Senior Research Associate and Visiting Fellow positions at the Institute of Development Studies, the Overseas Development Institute, and the London School of Economics.