Even the good hearted wants to live a good life. Even development practitioners seek to have their cake and eat it too. Nobody wants to be a Mother Teresa. Hypocrosy reigns strongly even in one of the most selfless and altruistic fields of work.
ActionAid’s Real Aid 2 reported:
In Cambodia… typical adviser costs were found to be in the region of $200,000 per year, with similar costs observed in Tanzania. In Ghana, one UNICEF official said that $10,000 per month was usual for a highly qualified education consultant, which put them at the lower end of the pay scale, with the World Bank and African Development Bank paying as much as double this rate.
High salaries paid to expatriate advisers do not only raise questions in terms of value for money. They can also cause significant resentment among counterparts and the public in the south. In Cambodia, for example, adviser fees of $17,000 per month are several hundred times higher than the salary of a typical government employee, at only $40 per month. Salary differentials were raised as key concern by interviewees in Cambodia, Tanzania and Ghana. In the Ghana education service headquarters, government officials receive about $300 a month, what a relatively inexperienced Ghanaian consultant could expect to earn in a day, and a foreign consultant in a few hours.
Shocking, but not surprising.
The development industry is a huge business. It’s not merely about good will. Sad to say, it’s filled with some of the most hypocritical people in the world.
Yes, the development community is widely known and heavily criticized for not being to do an effective job of eradicating poverty. The benefits of foreign aid have been questioned. The effectiveness of many of the prevailing development policies and theories have been challenged. No doubt, these macro issues are important and need to be confronted. But so is the personal.
I’m not sure how any development consultant could think about accepting an utterly ridiculous amount of US$1,000 a day when most of the people they are seeking to help are earning less than a US$2 a day?
In low-income countries, the average income is only $500. This means that a typical western consultant will be earning twice as much in day as the average person living in that country lives on in a year. (Real Aid 2 key facts and figures)
Such astounding incongruity needs to be challenged…