Task Two – Compare and contrast
Please compare and contrast the two viewpoints given in the two articles below in an essay format.
The word count for your compare and contrast essay should be 1,000-1,500 words.
Please upload your completed essay to BREO as per the pre-assessment instructions given to you by your tutor.
It is important to remember that this is a timed task
Cutting foreign aid spending in the wake of the Oxfam prostitution scandal would be a blunder, says William Hague
Mr Hague’s comments follow the dramatic resignation of Oxfam’s deputy chief executive
Cutting foreign aid spending in the wake of the sex scandal engulfing Oxfam would be a “blunder”, according to the former Conservative leader William Hague.
Referring to allegations in which the charity’s aid workers used prostitutes in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in 2011, Mr Hague said it was important to deal “decisively” with the “utterly unacceptable” behavior of humanitarian workers.
But he said a reduction in Britain’s foreign aid spending – currently at 0.7 per cent of GDP – would be a “strategic blunder”, adding it would “ultimately damage our own national interest and ability to deal with on the biggest problems heading our way”.
He continued: “This is that over the next 30 years more than half the growth in the world’s population is expected to be on just one continent – Africa.”
Mr Hague, who also served as Foreign Secretary in David Cameron’s administration between 2010 and 2014, added there was an “overwhelming strategic, as well as moral, imperative to deliver aid to the world’s poorest people”, but added that the sector needs to show it is setting and meeting the highest standards.
“The case for the type of work done by Oxfam is too strong to allow it to be undermined by bad behaviour and inadequate standards of disclosure or investigation,” he wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph.
“The case for an aid budget that tackles the world’s biggest issues will get stronger, not weaker, in the years ahead. The response to this appalling scandal needs to be tough enough to convince the public that their generosity will not be abused.”
His comments came after Jacob Rees-Mogg last week delivered a Daily Express petition to Downing Street calling on Theresa May to cut the foreign aid budget. But a Downing Street source told the Guardian that the Government is committed to meeting the 0.7 per cent target as “it is a legal obligation”.
Mr Hague’s intervention also follows the dramatic resignation of Oxfam’s deputy chief executive on Monday, saying she took “full responsibility” for the alleged use of prostitutes by senior staff in Haiti seven years ago.
Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, has written a letter to all UK charities working overseas demanding “absolute assurance that the moral leadership, the systems, the culture and the transparency needed to fully protect vulnerable people are in place”.
“It is not only Oxfam that must improve,” she said. “My absolute priority is to keep the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people safe from harm. In the 21st century, it is utterly despicable that sexual exploitation and abuse continues to exist in the aid sector.”
Ms Mordaunt added that the Department for International Development (Dfid) has created a new unit dedicated to reviewing safeguarding in the aid sector and stopping “criminal and predatory individuals” being employed by other charities.
If the Government doesn’t cut all funding to Oxfam, nothing will change
Far too many people are looking for reasons not to give to charity or not to support the UK devoting 0.7 per cent of its national income to the world’s poorest people. We must show that we will not accept corruption in foreign aid. The resignation of deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence will not be enough.
The most charitable thing to do with Oxfam right now is to teach it and its peers a very sharp lesson in accountability. If we want to be sure that the organisation will reform and rebuild itself, and not damage the reputation of aid and development work permanently, then the Government has to cut off its funding. The replacement of deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence with another boss will not guarantee changes in behaviour thousands of miles away.
The Department for International Development, not famed for its toughness, has to make clear that, as a result of the persistent, endemic and institutional failings at Oxfam, the British taxpayer should no longer feel obliged to fund it – and that their money can be channelled elsewhere.
Thus, there should be an immediate announcement that the £32m a year Oxfam currently receives will be wound down in an orderly fashion. In the corporate sector failures on this scale lead to a slump in the share price, closures and redundancies, or even complete corporate collapse. It is how the capitalist system delivers for consumers.
The same should be true of NGOs – they cannot be allowed rewards for failure just because they have a “nice” image. Oxfam needs to be restructured, at the least, just as some time ago War on Want had to go through a similar process, albeit for very different reasons. It too was a hugely famous charity, but faltered and ended up in administration, having to be relaunched in 1991.
Far too many people are looking for reasons not to give to charity or not to support the UK devoting 0.7 per cent of its national income to the world’s poorest people (the UN target). The Oxfam scandals – for there will no doubt be others – offer plenty of excuses for selfishness and meanness. The whole sector is too valuable to muck around. It does indeed help the most vulnerable in the world and, thus, indirectly protect the West itself from the terrorism that often incubates in such places and creates waves of refugees who end up in Calais.
Now the charities need to be helped to reform themselves. Oxfam needs to be made an example of before the damage becomes pervasive and permanent.
The only way to minimise this sort of abuse of power is by the strongest of sanctions against the perpetrators. Oxfam and others must know that their very existence could be jeopardised by the actions of their staff or volunteers; and those individuals must know too that there is no hiding place, no cushy job in some other unsuspecting charity, for them to slip into when the heat gets too much.
Should a charity become reliant on public funding, which becomes virtually a guaranteed source of income? The problems with this are obvious. It takes the edge off their fundraising. It erodes the charity’s independence and ability to lobby and speak out for change. It effectively part-nationalises organisations that are supposed to be in the private sector, albeit non-profit making; and, conversely, it delegates responsibility for some tasks that might be better kept within Dfid or the “host” governments of the nations concerned (though that can also be problematic).
More broadly, as at home, there is also a real question about how much should be done by the state rather than by charities. This is essential work to foster economic development, civic society and human rights: should we actually rely on charitable giving for it at all?
Maybe charities are not the answer, except for perhaps emergency food aid. Because the more we think that sorting out the problems of the developing world is the job primarily of NGOs – i.e. someone else – the less we will consider that it is actually a British national responsibility. When those NGOs become discredited, then the there is no one left to support the most vulnerable. That is the tragedy of Oxfam.
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