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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Catalogue of inanities

Catalogue of inanities

Dear Editor,

Dr Bharat Jhunjhunmara's piece on the role of NGOs in civil society was one of the

daftest things I've ever read. Neither my time nor your space permit a full analysis

of this amazing catalogue of inanities, but there's surely cause for concern when

a "consultant to donors and NGOs on economics and rural development" can

propose that NGOs should stop trying to protect human rights.

Instead, suggests Dr Jhun-jhunmara, an alternative strategy for NGOs would be, and

I quote, to "distribute free clothes and food packets to the needy. Or they

could learn to play the flute to the poor children in the slums." Well now,

there's an innovative development strategy for you. Not much risk of dangerous fads

like empowerment with that approach. Mind you, exactly how troupes of NGO buskers

will solve such problems as poverty and inequitable access to resources isn't made

entirely clear...

Or have I missed the point - was this really a spoof? Quite good if it was. But a

bit worrying otherwise.

- Colin Alfred, Development consultant, London.

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