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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Better practices for foreign aid

professor Stuart Carr and Ishabel Mcwha

Ishbel McWha was so impressed with the work of organisational psychologist Professor Stuart Carr that she returned from the front line of aid work in Cambodia to work for him and the Poverty Research Group in the University’s School of Psychology.

Professor Carr is now six months into an international project that is expected to lead to better practices in the complex world of foreign aid and the thousands who work in this field – from the poorest of local people to highly paid ex-pats. The project is called ADD-UP (Are Development Discrepancies Undermining Performance).

He has played a leading role in bringing together a team of psychologists and sociologists from 10 countries to examine the human dynamics of aid salary discrepancies and the significance of these big differences in income levels, to the outcome of projects in poor countries.

Professor Carr’s commitment to applying organisational psychology to the world of aid workers was triggered 15 years ago when he was working in Malawi and watching aid projects unravel, as the side effect of unfortunate human dynamics. Many years on, he says in a world “awash” with aid workers, there is growing acknowledgement that there have to be better practices. For this reason, he says, the research initiative has been widely applauded. A cornerstone of a best practice is that pay should be aligned and harmonised across worker groups.

Professor Carr has been establishing working relationships with groups in Malawi, Uganda, India, China, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Ishbel McWha, fresh off the plane from Cambodia, joined him at his Auckland-based office in July as project manager and research officer.

A postgraduate student at the University’s Palmerston North campus, she had developed a strong interest in the social marketing of poverty. In 2003 she headed for Rajasthan, in India, where she worked as the programme officer at a local NGO helping to raise the profile and expand the activity of the organisation.

Later she moved on to a local NGO in Cambodia to help build capacity. She learnt the language, travelled to remote places and embraced a rewarding but challenging time working towards local empowerment.

She blames a rogue mosquito under her desk for the subsequent onset of a very serious case of dengue fever that forced her to evacuate first to Bangkok and then home, to recover.

Determined to continue, she returned to her project in Cambodia. The chance to return to Massey and join the aid project enabled her to apply her education in a way she says she had never imagined.

Now she and Professor Carr have their international networks in place and they are developing the methodology and framework for this groundbreaking project.
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Cambodia needs over 50 tons of microbial insecticide to fight dengue

Cambodia now needs more than 50 tons of microbial insecticide to fight the dengue fever around the country, local media reported Sunday.

The Cambodian Ministry of Health needs to distribute 50 to 60 tons of microbial insecticide to local residents to control the spread of dengue fever, Chinese-language newspaper the Cambodia Sin Chew Daily quoted ministry officials as saying.

Some 50 tons of microbial insecticide had already been distributed to people in the 19 provinces having dengue outbreak, it added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sending 25 tons microbial insecticide to the country, the newspaper said.

As of Aug. 2, there were about 29,000 cases of dengue in Cambodia and 316 deaths, according to statistics from the health ministry.

The microbial insecticide is used to kill wigglers in the water to prevent the spread of dengue fever, which is passed throughout a community in a cycle from mosquito to human and back again.

In 2006, 158 people died from the mosquito-borne virus, according to official statistics.

Source: Xinhua
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Volunteer Vietnamese doctors treat the poor in Cambodia

Communist Vietnam is trying to buy heart and soul of Cambodians by sending doctors to treat poor Cambodians in all provinces. Thanks Vietcong brother, but make sure you really do humanitarian jobs and don't give poisonous drugs to Cambodians. We knew it is not a free gift from Vietcong, exchange for more land or Phnom Penh?

PHNOM PENH — Poor in Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang provinces, received free medical check-ups and treatment from volunteer Vietnamese doctors during a two-day visit that ended last Wednesday.

The charity medical drive was made by the HCM City Association for Support of Poor Patients in co-ordination with the Viet Nam Red Cross and the Command of Military Zone No. 7.

A voluntary team of 28 doctors, nurses and technicians from Military Hospital 7A and Nguyen Trai and Tu Du hospitals in HCM City performed free eye surgeries on 692 patients and gave obstetric and gynaecological examinations to 611 women in the three provinces.

All the patients also received medicine and health care gifts worth a total of VND1.35 billion from the Viet Nam Red Cross.

The work was part of the first phase of a charitable medical examination and treatment programme in Cambodian provinces reached by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni during President Triet’s official visit to Cambodia in February.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister, Kong Som Ol, said he appreciated the health drive and thanked President Nguyen Minh Triet and the Vietnamese people for their work.

Kong Som Ol, who is also Minister of the Royal Palace of Cambodia, said the aid reflected Viet Nam’s whole-hearted sentiment to Cambodia, affirming the two countries’ traditional solidarity and friendship.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he hoped that impoverished people in all Cambodian provinces would continue receiving medical assistance from Vietnamese physicians under plans to expand the charity programme.

Le Thanh Hai, Permanent Vice Chairman of the HCM City Association for Support of Poor Patients, affirmed that the programme on free eye operations for the poor will be carried out in all Cambodian provinces.

From 2008, he said, the HCM City Association for Support of Poor Patients would conduct free annual reconstructive surgery for Cambodian children with harelips and cleft palates and present 100 wheelchairs to disabled Cambodians.

He said that since 2003, his association had given free eye operations to 7,500 poor patients in 13 Cambodian provinces. — VNS
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