With exposure to Africa to the north of South Africa since 1981, I can relate to the best intentions of short term outreach and voluntourism. Perhaps the criticism should be laid at the doors of the international and Africa church communities, NGO's and government agencies who have the means and power to yeast meaningful change yet mostly, in Africa, fail to show fruit that last. Why, for example, is it excessively difficult to bring meaningful change to exploited Conflict Mineral villages in North and South Kivu (DRC), and to isolated villages along the Congo River. There, even the best intended voluntourism makes no dent at all, except to create unrealistic expectations and much longing by the locals after one's departure.
As a humble ground level social entrepreneur in Southern-Africa since 1981, I remain a bit distrustful regarding the top down process which does not empower the bottom billion in Africa. I have had an "affirmative action" partner for two years, and we break no ground in our offer of extension services and conservation farming in support of advertised SA government and provincial or metro faming projects for ground level communities. Funds and projects just disappear ...
32 years of ground level experience in Southern and sub-Sahara Africa and efforts to encourage a truly relevant and sustainable socio-economic moddel from the bottom-up, agrees with the real observations of burgeoning cities and squatter communities in Africa. While cities do facilitate technology and concentrated opportunity, a depopulated rural society cannot maintain the balance for clean water, clean air, environmental conservation and organic agriculture. I am still trying to find the most suitable and facilitating socio-economic model and tenacious international partners to overcome the rural development challenges and marginalized societies in Africa.
Indeed the channels, routes and networks that provide opportunities must be improved. Too often the "disadvantaged" are the result of tremendous disparities or obstacles between top and bottom, rural and city, nothing and abundance, desire and carelessness, pleas and arrogance.