I have a little story to tell you. I wrote to OXFAM the other day. A simple request, that of course I didn’t need to do. I suggested that they might use their links across the developing world, with schools, community groups and other organisations to spread the word about my UDEMY course on Micro-Renewable Energy for Beginners. You’d think they’d bite my hand off. After all it would cost them nothing to do, and might help young people develop an interest and perhaps even lead to a career in the fastest growing sector in the world! Instead I get a reply saying that they won’t ‘take it forward at this time’. Take what forward? It’s not as if I’m asking them to invest in something! It costs them a few hours maybe of one workers time to gather the email addresses and forward the email.
Over the years I’ve always thought of myself as a philanthropist – a lover of humanity – a humanist – someone who cares about humans. However, increasingly I am discouraged by what I find goes for ‘human’ in places of power. OXFAM remember is the same organisation that was found out for failing to prevent abuse, including sexual abuse, of people that its workers should have been caring for! Here I’d offered them a no-cost, win-win situation, and all they had to say was, okay, we’ll forward your email with your free offer on to our contacts!
In a way I wasn’t that surprised. The fact is that for years many larger charities are just about three main things:
1. The furtherance of poor leadership in the countries they assist. After all if you are in power and an outside agency is helping you to prevent rebellion by keeping the people fed, well that means you can skim a little off the top and put your feet up. That’s what most dictators do!
2. Assisting people tends to be during crises, then hopefully the charity helps to put in place longer-term programmes. These rarely work. There’s a whole catalogue of examples! I won’t bother listing them. You can find them out yourself!
3. Many large charities are now major employers who have executives taking large salaries. No charity should ever be allowed to also be an employer. If you run a charity, it should always have volunteers only, otherwise people are paying you not the people who need it. That’s part of a wider problem with all companies that claim charity status to avoid tax and make their executives wealthy.
If you want to develop the world, you need to start at a very basic level that doesn’t help their leaders, but instead facilitates their youngsters to empower themselves through education. Even if that education is just a start. We don’t need rule men, bean counters and corporate types in charge. We need flexibility, people who really want to help and can think outside of the box.
From now on I’m a philanthropist for the masses, and a misanthropist for the leaders. Here endeth the lesson.