The debate on the recent “Oxfam sex scandal” has focused almost exclusively on the offending aid workers and aid organisations while ignoring the voices of the vulnerable young women exploited, writes Giulia Piccolino, a lecturer in politics and international relations at Loughborough University, UK.
A new study of the work of philanthropic foundations says corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Walmart “deploy” these charitable foundations “as a form of tax-exempt influence seeking”.
The Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal signals the arrival of the moment for an honest public conversation about charities’ role in society, the white saviour mentality, gender relations, charity accountability, and the impact of western aid and power in developing countries.
Like political campaign contributions, today’s self-interested foreign aid often supports badly-designed development projects, imposes foreign investor-friendly policies on recipient countries, facilitates access to intended beneficiaries’ resources, helps aid-giving countries to look good on the world stage, all the while making unquestioning taxpayers in aid giving countries feel good about their supposed generosity.
The Red Cross Helped an Executive Get a Job at Save the Children After Forcing Him Out For Sexual Harassment
The Red Cross forced Gerald Anderson to resign from his position as head of the global charity’s half-billion-dollar response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake after concluding that he’d sexually harassed at least one subordinate, and then helped him secure a high-paying job with Save the Children.
Women’s NGOs play crucial roles in development projects in numerous developing countries. A study conducted by Dr. Bipasha Baruah, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues, at Western University, and Dr. Kate Grantham, Research Associate, International Development, at McGill University, found that women NGOs in India and Tanzania “were easily marginalized and trivialized” once the projects they would have initiated got off the ground.