“Give a man a fish and he can feed himself for a day, give him a fishing rod and he can feed himself for a lifetime.”


There is a saying, “Give a man a fish and he can feed himself for a day, give him a fishing rod and he can feed himself for a lifetime.”

The issue I wish to discuss today is aid and charity. Why I hear you say? This week is charities week in my school and I want to raise some awareness.

The quote above refers to short-term/emergency aid vs. development/long-term aid. The main difference between these two types of aid is their sustainability and this is highlighted in the cliche above.

Development/ long-term aid is helping people to help themselves by providing the tools, education and funding for projects, whereas short term aid is is help given to communities in a time of disaster or crisis, e.g. food during a famine, shelter after an earthquake.

Provides both short and long-term aid

Provides both short and long-term aid

Short term aid is unsustainable and long-term aid is a sustainable, therefore long term aid can be much more beneficial, although it doesn’t seem this way to many people. In the above quote, giving the man a fish refers to giving him short-term aid and giving him a fishing rod refers to long term aid. The fishing rod is a lot more useful as it will keep the man fed for life, rather than one day. In exactly the same way development aid is a lot more helpful than short term aid.

Long-term aid is a lot more beneficial and I want to encourage people to donate to long-term projects because this is where the real difference is made. The unfortunate thing with long-term aid is that people are a lot less willing to support it. People are a lot more willing to support short-term projects and give humanitarian aid in situations like the aftermath of an earthquake because the donator finds it a lot easier to empathise with the victim of the earthquake then he does with the victim of an everyday poverty problem in the world. Yes, we empathise with the poor, but rarely do we take action unless there is an emergency like a famine. What we need to realise is that if we provide enough development aid the nation will be able to break free of the poverty cycle and will eventually be able to deal with its own emergencies and there will be no need for short-term aid; therefore I would like to encourage more donations to long-term aid charities/projects to make your donations go further, although short-term aid can also be very necessary for immediate relief, hence don’t stop giving this either.

I have written about this as I am always pondering about global concerns like poverty and feel very close to charity as my grandfather was a founding member of Sahayog Pratishtan, which runs a long-term project in the form of a school. Sahayog is currently building a school in a backward region of Maharashtra and needs your help to succeed!

Please check out: https://internationaleconomicmatters.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/16th-of-the-money-spent-on-christmas-in-britain-would-solve-the-worlds-water-problems/ The link takes you to a Christmas themed post that will certainly shock you. It may be about Christmas, but it is in relation to the world’s water crisis and some of the facts will amaze you. I guarantee it!

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