Letter: Why aid agencies fear business

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The Independent Online
Sir: From 20 years' close involvement with aid charities I have long believed that a double caricature prevails between the private sector and the charity world. The former are apt to ascribe lefty, unreal attitudes to the latter, in return for the tendency in the charity sector to take much of the business world at its word when it asserts that it is and should be bereft of altruism. Both, of course, operate by wonderfully mixed motives.

Having said that, Mr Shawcross does not sufficiently distinguish between delivery of physical aid, especially in emergencies (where most of the leading charities in fact use the private sector), and "in country" development. Helping poor people to stand on their own feet long-term requires an acceptance of that help. Such acceptance will not be given to "business" organisations where "business" is perceived by those in need to be part of their problem. Unfortunately, that is the reality in many parts of the world.


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