The Impact of Aid in the Gulf

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How are aid agencies dealing with their ambitions of being philanthropic?

Aid is often looked upon as a big game-changer in the Gulf. The process can be looked upon as a fierce situation, where not must thought is given to how it impacts communities out of this aid-pool. But should so much thought really be spent on the feelings of competitors? Everyone does not think along the same lines when it comes to supplying Syrian refugees with aid in Lebanon – can you really expect all to be stouthearted and arrogant there, like the United Nations, that recently slashed rations to $13 a month for that displaced diaspora? The harsh truth, if you can call it that, is that you cannot.

There is always a great display of camaraderie in the Gulf: numerous Jordanians have donated money to Syrian refugees to support them with housing but this has instead done the unthinkable and made them homeless because of a hike in rents. 2014 saw the Gulf eat up 60percent of the global money shelved for humanitarian relief and there are always murmurs of personal kindness there over it, even though these days aid agencies are more pure multinationals than kind charitable hearts.

The trouble with the delegations is that it is tough to assess the impact of aid: in Gaza, a water tap for a community is more important and resourceful but that is a rare sight. A comprehensive understanding of the impact of aid is not really possible because of limits in budgets for aid agencies. Another problem is the safety concerns: in Syria, charities, such as Mercy Corps., operating on the opposition-factions have not had any aid for two years because there is no staff on the ground.

Although, their presence is big in Syria, it’s troubling how that lies empty as we concentrate our efforts in less volatile regions, such as Iraq and Turkey. Elsewhere in Syria, most of the aid is going out to refugees and you hear stories of how people will actually walk for that food aid, if it won’t be dropped infront of them. Syria is a hard place to penetrate for aid: food aid reaches only a slim-margin of 12percent of the 4.6mn Syrians because those target-areas are not easy to get to and the condition for medical supplies is so much worse; it only reaches out to a lower than 4percent and these Syrians do not have much longer with their supplies and stocks.

Those tales circulate in Syria, according to the Ankara-run Mercy Corps., a world-first, as people people express their gratitude over food aid, even going so far as to say that their very survival depended on it. Somehow this seems to help the refugees equation in Europe, all thanks to the Syrian conflict. In further shores, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia emergency reliefs are more prioritized, even though they are reliable, rather than a constant flow of aid. The UN is not built of cash but in Syria, similarly, emergency aid has a more wider-appeal than targeted aid.

It is about doing the right thing, with a civilized attitude, such as monitoring what Israel permits to enter into Gaza (each bag of cement) and also go the distance to run clinics and schools. There is no glamour of politicians deciding which aid agency to pick and not pick, here, as it is in many places because concentrating on relief efforts is tougher and far more important. In those climates, it is tougher to be brave out of fear of losing aid when aid groups are found to have a slight connection with terrorists because saving innocent lives is more important. Since 9/11, the debate has shifted towards prioritizing development over humanitarian and philanthropic efforts battling for aid delegation, which I believe is a better alternative because positive progress is finally unraveling.

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