Apr 1, 2011

Chunky chooky ravin' on- it has been a while

As you may or may not know, I love Kiva. Kiva is an agency supporting people in developing countries by offering them interest free loans. You can join up with kiva by donating $25 and when it is paid back you can loan it to someone else. But this post is not about Kiva. It is about charity. I often wonder, as I just heard this interview on the radio about an agency now set up in Australia that is exactly the same as kiva, which is great, but I wonder why this agency just didn't become an arm of Kiva it seemed to be set up in exactly the same way?

How many charities and AID agencies are there in Australia?  thousands?  How much do the spend on administration in total? MILLIONS
And this is where your aid money could be going:


Corporate involvement in aid
A major concern of Australia’s aid program is that it favours commercial interests in aid delivery. The commercialisation of aid often results in “Boomerang Aid”- aid which ends up funding private Australian companies, consultants, advisers and goods and services, bypassing those who need it the most and returning to Australia" from Aid watch. Obviously not ALL of it but the fact that companies are making money out of AID...where does it end?????? It makes me MAD! If you want to get yourself really fired up pop over to AIDWATCH

Ask questions about where your money is going!!

Which brings me to my second complaint. The Celebrity UN Ambassador. This pains me enormously. To see some celebrity earning millions swanning around a refugee camp to get some pictures with some poor children, before they jump back into their helicopter and fly to a resort for a few days - it is so offensive. I do not believe for one second that this educates the community about the plight of refugees? It doesn't at all. If that was the case surely we would be, as a society, a lot more compassionate. We wouldn't be arguing about asylum seekers, we would all be offering our spare rooms for families to come and stay. We wouldn't be sending people who have been tortured and traumatised off to a prison locked  away with no idea of when and if they will ever see there families again, or when and if they will ever be allowed to enter Australia.

However, seeing some celebrity give a donation, like setting up a school in a developing country  also pains me ( I know, you just can't win with me). Why do they have to always put themselves in the story. Why can't they investigate what charities are really doing some great work and give money to them.

Chef argues with me about this all the time - his point being, "but they don't have to do anything, so anything is good." and I agree with that,  but if many celebrities gave half of what they get for making a movie over a few months maybe we would see some real changes.... I mean honestly who needs $20million for a few months work? Personally I find it obscene. How much money do they actually need?

I have a lenders team on kiva- crafty bloggers, if you would like to join, we would love to have you.


  1. I whole-heartedly agree with you. I have a Kiva account and think it's one of the best things. Considering the number of charitable organizations around the world (I live in Canada and there are many thousands of them here too) shouldn't we expect to see more being done?

    As for celebrities, it is obscene how much money the get for what they do, and how few of them are noticeably doing anything to give back. I can think of some - Matt Damon, Bill Gates, Paul Newman, George Clooney - but one would hope that others would take inspiration from that.

    To be fair, these celebrities that are being paid multi-millions for one movie are able to be paid that because the film corporations have that money (and more!) to spend on them. If the corporate heads gave even a percentage of what they make, that would go an incredibly long way.

    It's terrible to think that will of the money in the world (and really, money is such and abstract idea) that people are still living in poverty.

  2. I know what you mean about the celeb ambassador thing. There was a pic taken of Princess Di with a young girl who had lost a leg bc of a landmine.

    The image was supposed to be powerful and caring and tug at my heartstrings and all I could think was 'That girl has no idea who this blonde chick is or why there are so many cameras pointed at them. All she wants is to have her crutch back so she can get away!'.

  3. Gosh I agree about celebs or anyone who earns THAT much money. They sure should give some away. As for putting themselves in the story..I guess they have the power to highlight the cause and maybe encourage their other celebrity friends/multimillion billion trillion dollar companies to jump on board. I watched an interview with Seinfeld once and he was asked what charity he was passionate about. His reply...a big fat nothing. I was appalled and I'm pretty sure he wasn't being funny!

  4. I am not a huge fan of announcing to the world when we donate to charity or do a good deed, it should simply just be done. I am thinking of the Qld Floods recently, where so many companies businesses shouted from the roof tops (on Facebook or whatever avenue) what they have donated etc, just get on with it and do it!

    I am sure these celebrities see it as awareness raising. I am equally sure there are celebrities/rich people out there that simply donate money and never mention it. I like Deborah-Lee Furness' approach, she aims to raise awareness with Internation Adoption and seek change. She only talks about it in context and never blows her own trumpet!

  5. I agree which is why I only contribute in real articles not cash. Every tim I hve given cash there have been media cries about the small % actualy reaching the target. Cherie

  6. Not wishing to contradict at all, just to add a discussion point:

    Here are the the most generous celebrities in terms of percentage of income given to charity (although the actual % is only given for the first one):
    Oprah Winfrey 11%
    Nicolas Cage
    Michael Jordan
    Jerry Seinfeld
    Sandra Bullock
    Rush Limbaugh
    Celine Dion
    Paul McCartney
    Steven Spielberg
    (Source: Information Is Beautiful)

    So, do is Nicolas Cage a better person than Oprah because no-one is aware of how much he gives to charity?

  7. I don't really care for celebrities, there are not in my daily thoughts but..........Have you seen this on BANKS?



    Mwah xx

  8. I work for a charity and we have had staff cutbacks last year due to funding issues. Celebrities giving a donation, and even if they yell it from the tree tops, still provides the funding to get the hands on charity work done. And it makes a real difference.

  9. HEAR HEAR I am Soooooo with you on this one.

  10. Hey Cath - another great post. I totally agree with you about the duplication in charity organisations and how they could save so much money by getting together and cutting their admin costs. Also agree about the whole celebrity thing - they make me personally want to vomit... however, I also get the way that (a) the charity or cause gets publicity only because they are there (otherwise would not happen) and (b) that people are more likely to support that charity themselves if they see their fav celebrity has got behind it.... (and so I hold back said vomit)... it is at least something. ;)
    And finally, yes yes yes yes yes yes yes... how is a 20 mill pay packet EVER justifiable?

    p.s. just received brochure from local conservative MP whipping up reactionary propaganda about carbon tax being the new super tax... Ready to foam at the mouth here. WHEN will politics ever be about arguments for what is good; for the right thing to do? WHEN will this reactionary points scoring and taking the oppositional view all the time just to score votes... WHEN will that end???

    Sorry. Corresponding rave ;)

  11. Hey Cath,
    I don't like the commercialisation of charity either. I can see how some need to be competitive these days with so many different causes needing money and particular diseases not getting funding in other ways. Perhaps there could be a central body that cuts down on duplication of admin?
    I have a few charities that I stick with like Unicef. And also Kiva - and I'd love to join my Kiva account to your crafty kivans! How do I do that?

  12. Agree wholeheartedly with the obscenity of wealth distribution globally. We are one f*$#ed up global "community", that's for sure. I think about this every single day Cath and it makes me beyond mad, it breaks my heart.


  13. I find this all so frustrating, and a bit confusing. I do understand that in the current environment, charities do have to do some advertising, but I don't know if they're just taking money from each other, or if they do actually reach people who wouldn't normally donate... and the way government "aid" works is really questionable... and I wish there was some kind of answer...

  14. Agreed.

    The unequal distribution of wealth is vulgar :(

  15. I have worked for the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) on a campaign in the 80's called The One World Campaign. trying to dispel myths on how Aid money is wasted. I have also worked for OXFAM , Aust Volunteers Abroad, Save the Children and have been on the One World Centre Committee ( Global Education). We work our butts off for very low pay in not great conditions and the money makes a HUGE difference. It is a complex dicussion to have , but PLEASE don't ask peopele to stop supporting the many wonderful NGO's. I was in the field in Bangladesh which has the highest ratio of NGO's per capita and I wouldn't want any of them to stop what they are doing (except for a few fundamentalists perhaps... not your run of the mill NGO). Please take the time to look at the books at somewhere like OXFAM. You can. They give amazing value for the dollar. The Gov uses this as a cop out. Once again community groups carrying the can. We need Aust to give more and better AID.

    Peter Singer makes a great case for our personal responsibility to give charity in his latest book. Most of us can afford to give more than we do. As a community we give when there is disaster and the media show us the agony, the challenge for us working in the daily grind is to help people realise that constant support is required. Sorry to rave but it hit a sore spot!
    Kind Regards

  16. Just unclear and annoyed as to where I said do not give aid??? I would never say that ever. I am saying ask questions about how and when you give it.

  17. oh god yes. THe celebrity UN Ambassador. cringe, groan, ... If they spent half of their private jet flights on some 'coach' flights, they would solve half the problems they advocate for.


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