By Jane Silloway Smith - 18/03/2010

By Jane Silloway Smith -

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A heart and mind for the poor

New Zealand is a wealthy country in a world with much need. Confronted by this, many are concerned about the reality of severe poverty yet confused about what will make a difference in the lives of those who suffer. A Heart and Mind for the Poor looks at the history of the modern aid regime and the ways that it has developed over time. It also explores some of the competing philosophies about how to alleviate poverty and/or bring about sustainable development in poor countries, concluding with seven principles that should guide aid and assistance efforts.

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A heart and mind for the poor

Having a mind for the poor means educating ourselves about the complex issues surrounding poverty and foreign aid and then acting out of what we have learned. It means asking and answering difficult questions, like: is it even possible to alleviate the suffering of the poorest in our world? If it is, then whose responsibility is it, and what should they do? Once we have done this, we can make better decisions about the dollars we spend, the hours we volunteer and the organisations and movements we join; decisions that will optimise the effectiveness of our actions.

This paper will help you cultivate a mind for the poor. In the pages that follow, you will find a framework for understanding the complex array of issues and debates that have shaped our understanding of the needs of others and have circumscribed the actions we in the developed world have taken to address those needs.

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By Jane Silloway Smith -

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