Photo by fsse8info | flickr.com

Poverty is a problem our society has been facing and there are many people who dedicate their professional lives to the cause of eradicating extreme poverty.

Be it working overseas in affected communities, working for government agencies, the UN, or a non-governmental organization, the act of providing aid to disadvantaged countries has ballooned to an industry itself with numerous viewpoints on what is effective, what is necessary and what constitutes effective aid.

However, one constant that seemingly emerges is that aid is intended to produce some sort of output that benefits the community and if this output is successful many times scaling up will be implemented.

Scaling-up means that a project or solution that was successful in its pilot communities will now be introduced into larger communities with the hope and assumption that the same successful outcome occurs.

One factor that really ought to be considered in output scaling is the global environment- primarily what its current state is and the changes it has been undergoing. Why you ask?

Currently a large contingent of the aid and development industry fixes their projects and programs around short-term funding and outputs that are measured by certain outcome indicators. The reason why this is problematic in terms of global environmental impacts is because the global environment is very dynamic.

The global environment is consistently undergoing biophysical changes to its ecosystems and biomes that are not fully contemplated in short-term projects. This has the potential to become even more problematic when the scaling-up phase comes into effect since the communities implicated during the scale up may have different biophysical climates that can potentially hinder the effectiveness of the project leading to adverse effects to the environment.

Moving the aid and development industry foreward should include the careful examination of the changes occurring in the environments they work within as well as the long term effects their projects will have (not only on the livelihoods of those living in poverty but on the global environment as well).

Posted
AuthorMeaghan Langille