Little did Sadler know that he had stumbled into a debate raging in the aid world about the best and worst ways to deliver charity, or whether to give at all. He crashed up against a rather simple theory that returned to prominence after failures during the 2004 Asian tsunami and the Haiti earthquake: wanting to do something to help is no excuse for not knowing the consequences of what you’re doing.
The TIME magazine article published today, by Nick Wadhams, a Nairobi-based journalist, offers some closure to the bloggers, aid workers and aid watchers who have been following this debate since it broke out two weeks ago: Sadler “no longer plans to send the shirts to Africa. He says he will find another way to use the T-shirts he collects, possibly for disaster relief, giving them to homeless shelters or using them to create other goods.”
In addition to Bill Easterly, Kenyan Economist James Shikwati, and the aid worker and blogger known as Tales from the Hood, Wadhams quotes Kenyan journalist Rasna Warah:
“Africa is the greatest dumping ground on the planet. Everything is dumped here.” Adds Warah: “The sad part is that African governments don’t say no — in fact, they say ‘Please send us more.’ They’re abdicating responsibility for their own citizens.”
Read the whole thing here.
And see an exhaustive collection of posts about 1MillionShirts here.