Development for Money?

I’m doing a contract for a small NGO that is building a Centre for Literacy and Skills Development for youth in the Caribbean. I started on with them as a volunteer, because they needed some assistance “gathering” things in a format that CIDA likes.

My contract with them mushroomed into something that has, thus far, taken me approximately 30 hours. This program they are running is fantastic, and has full support of the St. Lucian government and all the businesses that surround the planned centre. They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. The kids are just patiently waiting to enroll.

We arranged to have me as a paid consultant for this gig. My automatic thought to myself was, “This is great! It’ll cover some med school costs.” Oh, money. But I can’t help but feel weird about the money. This program is excellent. Spontaneously and serendipitously, this organization found me at exactly the right time to put it together in CIDA-friendly wording and formatting. The beneficiaries are the kids.

Don’t think I’m naive. Development is a business. Unfortunately. It’s a business where many NGOs fake the mandate of “working themselves out of business”. Someone has to do this work, and we all need to be paid, but really, should a price be put on something as important as education for kids that need it?


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