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Sitting Allowances

It may surprise you that international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are not viewed favorably here in East and Central Africa. This includes not only the big aid organizations like World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, Action Aid, the Red Cross, and others, but also NGOs that are much smaller in scope. I have been collecting comments on the dissatisfaction with these NGOs. At worst these are considered the newest form of neocolonialism and exploitation of Africa.

One aspect of NGO aid to the region is paying “sitting allowances” for people to attend meetings, seminars, workshops, and other activities promoted by the NGOs. It may be surprising to learn that people are paid to be involved in learning opportunities for their own benefit. Sometimes this pay is significant. I have heard of $35‐per‐day payments for attendance to participants when the daily wage is $1 per day!

For the last 11 years, David Zarembka has been actively involved in peacemaking in Africa.


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