How charity makes life worse for Ethiopians – Study
How charity makes life worse for Africans
Giving to charities that help African villages actually increases poverty, a study has claimed.
By Telegraph reporters
Academics at the University of Bristol have found a link between rural regeneration and urban poverty in Ethiopia. They claimed that improving water supplies in villages increased the population, forcing more young people to move to the city slums to find work.
Cities in Ethiopia, one of most rural countries in the world, are expected to double in size over the next 40 years to include 40 per cent of the population.
This explosion in urban living is a direct result of charity-funded projects, the study claims.
Infant mortality rates in the villages have fallen sharply. As their populations increase resources become strained. The local youths are forced to move to the cities in search of work.
The study was published in PLoS ONE and funded by the Leverhulme Trust, a research charity. It collected data from 1,280 households in five villages before and after the installation of water taps.
It showed that family size increased as child mortality rates dropped, which placed a strain on limited food supplies and led to higher rates of childhood malnutrition.
Researchers, working in conjunction with Addis Ababa University, concluded that those aged 15 to 30 with access to taps were three times more likely to migrate to a larger city or town in search of work and food than those without ready access to water.
Dr Mhairi Gibson, from the University of Bristol’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, said: “The importance of the research lies in its identification of previously unforeseen consequences of international development.
“While improved access to water has reduced women’s workloads and improved child health, it has unexpectedly led to higher birth rates and larger family sizes which have increased household shortages.
“These population pressures have encouraged young adults to migrate to urban areas, which actually contributes rather than relieves population pressure.
“The demographic consequences of rural intervention initiatives are rarely considered, but it is imperative that they should be. One of the key challenges of the 21st century relates to population pressures, and this work highlights the need to develop a better understanding of the relationship between demography and development.”
In 1985 Bob Geldof brought the plight of millions of famine-struck Africans to the attention of the West by staging the Live Aid concert.
The concert and charity single raised an estimated £150 million, which provided access to safe, clean water for millions of rural Africans — many of whom now live in rural slums.