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#91 Increasing the budget

September 12, 2011

Submitted by a ‘Mr. Muzungu’ who wishes to remain pseudonymous.

Every Expat Aid Worker with a few months worth of dirt on their Chacos-clad feet knows, it takes money to help people and even more money can help more people.  Because we want to help people, most of our work becomes the text bitchery necessary to chase down donor dollars. And no we don’t spend hours sweating and hunched over a laptop writing to solicit Mr. and Mrs. Johnsons’ $30 donation to our ‘Save Haiti Campaign’  – we do it to get that 3.2 million dollar grant from ECHO for ‘Support to internally displaced persons in Krhazaab Province”, via a  gender mainstreaming in sanitation and water source access improvement, naturally with a healthy dose of integrated cross-sectoral innovative livelihoods approaches.  Sometimes, we spend so much time sweating with our laptops proposing to do stuff if we get that cash that we don’t actually do stuff. It’s the great irony of being a ‘field based’ Expat Aid Worker.

Ooohhh... your budget... it's sooo BIG!

But a really seasoned, veteran EAW, the one who isn’t wearing sandals anymore, knows that increasing the budget is the ‘way forward’. Increasing the budget means more landcruisers, helicopter rides, and more of those great livelihoods approaches.  All of which mean that your project does more good for poor people and is more likely to be sustainable.

Duh – increase the budget.

Bigger budgets also mean more prestige in those annoying but self-grandifying working groups and coordination meetings I mean, at next month’s meeting, do you want to be the tadpole that signed a measley $100,000 sub-grant or the guy that says ‘Oh yeah? You did? That’s cool. Good for you. Yeah… We’re leading this little consortium now, something like six local partners, but it’s not a big deal, only like a $2.8 million grant from USAID.’

Yeah, yeah, yeah… “economies of scale”, “local approaches”… we get it. Those are all awesome.

But when it comes to budgets, as every EAW knows, bigger is better.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr Farangi permalink
    September 12, 2011 6:46 am

    Ah, but you forgot the search for the golden grail, the ‘one’ One percent of the US budget…our cynical, uncaring US public seems to think aid money is just dumped down a rathole, when we all know that increasing the US’s contribution from .05 of GDP to 1% will solve all problems. Look, if Bono says it’s a priority, it’s a priority. The advocate who can accomplish this development dream will be forever celebrated as the rising tide will lift all budgets (or at least those of the well connected).

  2. David permalink
    September 12, 2011 9:08 am

    “Increasing the budget” is such a vulgar way of putting it. “Scaling up” is, I believe, the preferred terminology.

  3. September 13, 2011 6:44 pm

    what really kills me is the end-of-the-year-budget-dumping, because if you don’t spend every penny you got last year (even if it is ’cause a war broke out and it got a little dicey to get to certain places delaying [deliveries, services, goods, whatever] there isn’t a chance in hell they are going to give you the same budget next year. HQ will assume that if you didn’t spend it is because you don’t actually need that much money. it has nothing to do with that war that just broke out that makes it easier to raise money, but harder to get [stuff] done

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