Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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seeing results of charity

Information exchange to motivate and reward non-local charity
 
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I give a lot of presents and financial help to people I know (especially elderly or young relatives), largely because I can imagine or observe their resulting happiness, which makes me happy.

On the other hand, there are many children around the world far more needy than my nieces and nephews. While charities are willing to fuss over me for making a donation, what I really want is to know, at the emotional level, that the gift is being enjoyed or is making a difference in someone's life, whether it's money for toys, food, medical care, education, or so forth.

One way this desire has been met is through organizations that allow you to "sponsor" children and receive information about them. It always seemed to me that this must have high administrative overhead.

It seems there should be some way to use the Internet to better satisfy this desire, although I'm not sure how. I'm hoping someone else can think of an application or, better yet, point me to one that exists.

One possible application would be putting a web cam at a pre-school, hospital, etc., that a donor contributed to. I could then send money for toys or a party and see people enjoy it. Of course, there are privacy problems with this.

ellens, Oct 15 2005

Criticisms of child sponsorship programs http://danny.oz.au/...ld-sponsorship.html
Describes the down sides of child sponsorship programs but doesn't present a compelling alternative. [ellens, Oct 16 2005]

(?) £27 for the gift of sight to a child would surely bring happiness http://www.goodgift...odgifts/default.php
[po, Oct 16 2005]

[link]






       Yes, great idea. It would work for schools, hospitals and so forth, but you would have to make sure resources weren't wasted on maintaining equipment, so parts and labour would have to be donated too. On the other hand, there could be a charity set up for that very purpose. Also, i think this should only apply to campaigns in the rich parts of the world.
nineteenthly, Oct 16 2005
  

       Then there's the issue of people who need food. I suppose you could set up something similar in a soup kitchen-facsimile.
hidden truths, Oct 17 2005
  

       Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
bungston, Oct 17 2005
  

       To expand on Unabubba's point, let's say you give food aid to a person in Niger, and save their life. Well, look at the fertility rate: 7.55 children per woman. That means, for every person you save, there will be at least 3 more people to save in the next generation.   

       That's why I think we should cease all direct shipments of food. We should build(or upgrade) hospitals, schools, and factories, and staff them with locals, when they've been trained up enough.   

       Meanwhile, nearly every country in Africa has the land capacity to feed it's people. It's just that war and poor governence disrupts the growing season. Case in point, Mugabe with his idiotic land redistribution scheme. But there's plenty of other examples. Sadly, removing Mugabe, while perhaps beneficial in the long run, would hurt the people in the short run and breed resentment. Plus, African nations love to meddle with each other. You can rest assurred at least one of Zimbabwe's neighbors would host supporters of an anti-occupation insurgency, with or without government support. Realistically, regime change to a stable, competent government with enough checks and balances to prevent an incompetent leader from screwing up the economy would cost at least 40 billion. A good rule of thumb: 3 billion for every 1 million population. But it could easily go much higher than that.   

       Another pressure point is the economic distortion caused by agricultural subsidies in rich nations-- Most poor nations are disportionately agricultural, so, when rich nations subsidize their own farmers, farmers in poor nations cannot compete.   

       A final problem facing poor nations is brain drain. A good percentage of the smarter people simply leave the country to pursue educational opportunities elsewhere, and stay abroad.   

       Luckily, brain drain does have a "saturation point". India, for example, is achieving a brain drain equilibrium. American-Indian doctors are now moving back to India, not many, true, but enough to start making a difference.   

       So, there's a bunch of information on world poverty.
Madai, Oct 18 2005
  

       This needn't apply to global charities though, just local ones. There is the issue of privacy/voyeurism as well, and i very much take [bungston]'s point, but i suppose i think two things about that. Firstly, yes it would be better to give without wanting the reward of seeing the results, but if not, how do you know your donations are well spent? Secondly, the impurity of someone's motives has to be weighed against the benefits, since otherwise you'd be cutting off your nose to spite your face, or rather someone else's.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of good causes for which this would be inappropriate, but i can think of ones that would be OK. For instance, an environmental charity could aid sponsorship by strategically placed environmentally friendly cameras, so maybe if it's not for the benefit of humans, it wouldn't be a problem.
nineteenthly, Oct 18 2005
  

       To address UB's concerns, higher education (esp. education of women) correlates to lower birth rates. So, educating them (and keeping them peacefully alive whilst) is good for them and the planet.   

       But wouldn't a smart poor person steal the camera, sell it, and go buy some irrigation supplies?   

       I don't need to hear "thanks", but I would like to have enough openness & accountability to ensure that my money is not funding either the Taliban or US equivalent.
sophocles, Oct 18 2005
  

       But if the companies started showing that people were happy now, wouldn't everyone stop donating, because they would think everyone was happy? That's why all of the charity commercials are so depressing.
nahte123, Oct 19 2005
  

       Wouldn't it be a case of preserving their happiness? Also, imagine looking at a rainforest or alpine scene and knowing it would last because of your donations, but not otherwise.
nineteenthly, Oct 19 2005
  

       I actually already give a lot to charity where I don't directly see the results. I'm just looking for a way to make charity as fun as giving a present to my niece or buying myself an ice cream cone so I want to do even more. Also, this might cause people less charitable than myself to start or increase giving.   

       I still don't know how to apply this desire. I know my suggestion of using webcams was problematic.
ellens, Oct 19 2005
  
      
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