The Effect of Bi-Lateral Aid on Sierra Leone from The United Kingdom-Is this Sustainable?

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The UK.government provides about £80million to  Sierra leone  as part of its Bi-lateral Aid  through the Department for International Development(DFIT).(DFIT,2009).

I am not an admirer of foreign aid.Having  witnessed from first hand  how these aids are manipulated by both receipient countries and the donors.One  impact from experience of such support is the ultimate right of donor countries to influence/interfere into the day-to -day acitivities of the receipient.Also the direct  influence these aids  have on influencing government policies.This is a case in point with Sierral Leone/West Africa.

I listened to the BBC focus on Africa programme on 22/10/10  with curiousity as most news from this region is mostly negative.I   was impressed by how a cross section of Sierra Leoneans have reported an improvement in their living standards with the building of a water well and few tiolets(public) which was funded by DFIT.A case study was an area called MABAYLAH,a small community of about 30,000 inhabitants in eastern freetown.The project costed  £30,000 for the construction of toilets and wells.

When residents in this community were questioned about the benefits of such projects/programmes,i was very touched by the feedback from across the community.These included the following,viz:that the distance previously covered to fetch water is closer.This has minimised violence particularly towards girls/women,it has improved their earnings for those who use water for cooking, as time spent on fetching water can be used to serve customers,it has reduced school lateness and improve attendance as late schooling was due to travelling long distances to fetch water,the general health  of the community is improved as hygiene has improved.

All the above mentioned benefits are without doubt have imapcted positively on the lifes of the local people.My  concren is the sustainblility of such projects/programmes in the long term.To me the following are not sustainable in the long term  and maybe an alternative approach to improving on the livelihood of these people may include the following,viz,aid to be given to businesses/private firms who inturn can creat employment for people and inturn  provide income.Also reforms in trading policies  to help developing countries access to western  markets and technologies at cut throat prices.This will help to improve growth in GDP and improvement  in the human development of these vulnarable people who have lived on aid  post  inception of the development agenda.

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