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“WaterAid” or “Water Rip-off”?

(Monday/Tuesday blog)

Why are you giving your money to corrupt UN bureaucrats?

In my previous blog, I tried to convince readers that they should never give any of their money to UNICEF.

UNICEF is an agency of the United Nations (UN) and the UN is probably the most corrupt, self-serving organisation in the world. You usually don’t get a job at the UN due to your qualifications. The whole place works on the principle of Third-World nepotism – if you have family or connections at the UN, that’s how you get a well-paid, taxfree job for life.

But today let’s move on from the (IMHO) utterly corrupt and worthless UNICEF.

Wateraid or Water rip-off?

During the Chinese Covid-19 plague lockdown, we seem to be getting more charity ads on TV than usual. One of the most heart-breaking has been from Wateraid. It features a little African girl forced to walk for hours each day to fetch water for her family. The water she collects is clearly polluted with human and animal urine and faeces and all kinds of other nasty stuff.

I’m sure Wateraid do excellent work and I’m sure they do provide clean water and sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people who wouldn’t otherwise get them. But should we be donating at all?

Little boss, big salary?

Wateraid raises and spends about £82m a year, has 806 staff and its chief executive gets a remuneration package of £148,204 (salary of £134,123 and pension contribution of £14,081). Just to put this into some context, from what I can see the newish big boss of Oxfam gets a salary of about £120,000. One might wonder why Wateraid’s chief executive should get bigger salary than the chief executive of Oxfam which has a budget (£434m) five times as large as Wateraid and over 5,100 employees compared to Wateraid’s 806 employees.

What about the workers?

Now let’s look at staff costs. Wateraid’s 806 staff cost an average (including social security and pensions) of £32,500. Oxfam’s 5,101 staff cost an average each of £23,170. So, Wateraid’s staff seem to be rather better paid than those at Oxfam.

Who gets the money?

Of the £82m a year we give to Wateraid, around £60m theoretically reaches the Third-world poor and the other £20m goes on fundraising and managerial and administrative support. So, about £7.50 of every £10 raised supposedly goes to providing water and sanitation.

The largest recipients of Wateraid’s (our?) money are Mozambique, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. I have a feeling that the current Wateraid ad campaign is filmed in Ethiopia. But I’m not sure.

I’m sure we’d all agree that these four countries are pretty poor. Or are they?

Let’s have a look at supposedly poverty-stricken Ethiopia. Here are some figures of the estimated wealth of Ethiopia’s five richest people from 2013, all of whom appear to be part of or have close relations with the Ethiopian Government:

The 5 Richest Ethiopians in 2013

1. Mohammed Al Amoudi – Controls gold mines and massive tracts of fertile lands that were handed to him by Meles Zenawi, after their owners were kicked out and displaced. Estimated net worth: $10bn.

2. Azeb Mesfin – Widow of the late dictator Meles Zenawi, commonly known as the “mother of corruption” has ownership interests in many of the biggest companies in Ethiopia. Estimated net worth: $4bn.

3. mBerhane Gebrekiristos – The closest and most trust friend of Meles and Azeb; allegedly laundered their loot out of the country. I think he’s the current Ethiopian ambassador to China. Estimated net worth: $2bn.

4. Sebhat Nega – His fortune reportedly declined after he was kicked out of the TPLF politburo and the Endowment Fund for the Relief of Tigray (EFFORT) by Meles and Azeb; he later rebounded. Estimated net worth $2bn.

5. Seyoum Mesfin – Former foreign affairs minister and former Ethiopian ambassador to China, accused of using his chairmanship of Ethiopian Airlines and diplomatic status to smuggle illegal drugs between Africa and Asia. Estimated net worth: $1.8bn

There would probably be different names on the list this year as there are now at least 15 billionaires in Ethiopia and an estimated 4,700 millionaires.

It would seem that the Ethiopian elites have more than enough money to provide clean water and sanitation for all their people without Wateraid’s help!

As in so many Third-World countries, the aid we give is just allowing the corrupt, kleptocratic elites to steal money from their countries as they know that we stupid, gullible westerners will look after their impoverished people.

Don’t mention over-population!

Let’s look at the population of Ethiopia:

population re band aid

When Saint Bob did his BandAid gig, there were about 40 million Ethiopians. Now there are at least 110 million. No wonder they don’t all have clean water and sanitation.

Moreover, in Wateraid’s latest ad they claim to be aiming at eradicating water poverty “within a generation”. But while making this claim, Wateraid seem to gloss over the fact that unsustainable rates of population growth mean that water poverty will never be eradicated so Wateraid’s lucky employees are pretty much guaranteed a job for life.

What about corruption?

Although about £60m of the £80m we give to Wateraid supposedly reaches the hell-hole countries to which it is intended, how much actually reaches the poor?

It’s difficult to know. But occasionally we get glimpses of who is really benefiting from our charity and foreign aid.

After the 2004 tsunami, customs clearance for relief consignments in both Sri Lanka and Indonesia was delayed for months, while food and medications perished. One non-governmental organization (NGO) responding in Sri Lanka (I think it was Oxfam) was required to pay $1m in customs duties on the vehicles it imported for its operations. If I remember correctly, the $1m had to be paid in used (and therefore untraceable?) $50 and $100 notes – perhaps not the normal way one would pay customs duties?

In Eritrea, hundreds of tonnes of UN food aid for drought-affected persons were delayed for over a month in 2005 due to government demands for taxes. I wonder in whose pocket those supposed ‘taxes’ ended up?

After the 1999 earthquake in Turkey a legal storage deadline was exceeded for some relief consignments awaiting customs clearance, and as a result they were nationalized (stolen by local politicians and bureaucrats?) rather than cleared for distribution.

When asking for our money, charities like Wateraid seem to ‘forget’ to mention the scale of corruption and the rates of population growth in the countries where they work.

Likewise, when telling us that Africans drowning in the Med is all our fault, the media and the bleeding-heart, liberal, virtue-signalling opinion-formers also don’t mention the real reason for the tsunami of African immigrants – rampant corruption and unsustainable population growth.

It’s time to stop this charity and foreign aid farce. It’s time to tell the truth:

1. African leaders steal three times as much from their countries each year than we give in charity and aid. If we could just cut the level of corruption in Africa by half, we wouldn’t need to give any aid at all and the countries would still be better off

2. If Africans were to practice just a little birth control, then maybe more than 80% of them wouldn’t be living in abject poverty (less than $1.25 a day)

7 comments to “WaterAid” or “Water Rip-off”?

  • David, I refer yo to comments to blog May 2th 2015

    The current little girl was indeed filmed in Ethiopia and collecting water from the same point as a previous little girl ‘Genet’ filmed in 2012 and the subject of an ad/appeal from 2103.

    What is interesting is that I sat in WA office in 2103 and offered to fly direct to Ethiopia and give Genet a Rotary barrel (www.rotb.co.uk) but was refused her location due to data protection.

    More interesting is that in the current film with the little girl dropping her container a couple of times, in the background I thin I see Genet 6 years on, still collecting water from the same place in the same way.

    We were assured that her plight would be addressed by contributing £2 per month.

    Final point has to be WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO WITH THEIR PEOPLE’S MONEY? Do they just spend all their time counting it?

    We have no staff, no salaries and we literally hand the help to the very person that it benefits. No cash transactions.

  • A Thorpe

    There is a strange attitude to the rich. Just a few days ago I read a comment about Paul McCartney’s wealth and that he had got it by robbing the poor. This is nonsense, he got it because people voluntarily bought his music and paid to go to his concerts. The same applies to most wealthy people in the west. Nobody forces us to buy their products. Inherited wealth is less significant and people are creating it in their own lifetimes, by hard work and perhaps a good deal of luck in getting the right products. A huge number of businesses fail and those who criticise the rich do not look at the other side of it – they have to take risks and failure is just as likely as success.

    When it comes to charity giving, it is therefore odd that people do not seem to consider where their money is going and the people abroad who are getting rich by robbing the poor.

    But it is coming here. The political elite who do nothing about the failures of charities are based here. The UN is one of the worst. The environmental activists are making a fortune out of renewable energy subsidies paid for by taxpayers. The objective is a zero carbon energy policy which will destroy our economies. It is already happening. The west is heading to the same corrupt elites as Africa.

  • leila

    We find more and more reasons to be grateful to Trump. He has stated that unless the WHO reforms, his suspension of US $ may be permanent. Our gov couldn’t wait to give it 200M just weeks ago. The rotten successor to Mugabe was handed 5M by Mordaunt ( remember her?) Why do they continue to be so cavalier with taxpayers money? I note we are all in this stitch up together but we are not are we? All MPs were thrown a bribe of 10,000 for ‘working from home’ Where oh where is our Trump? BTW the fortunes of the mentioned Ethiopians is staggering.

  • Ubeen conned

    The Corona Virus Horse Race.

  • There is no shortage of labour in these impoverished African countries.

    With some engineering help, they should be able to pull their fingers out and create concrete in the same way as the Romans did over 2000 years ago without modern machinery and create water and sewage systems that would last centuries.

    Among the great engineering wonders of the world are the Roman constructions of aqueducts and roads, many of which are still in use to this day.

    The Romans built 250,000 miles of covered roads and 6000 miles of aqueducts in order to serve their cities with water. They didn’t need to make modern pipe systems.

    The Romans invented concrete that lasts far longer than modern concrete. The best feature of the Pantheon, for example, which still exists in excellent condition, is its unsupported dome made of concrete, which is 140 feet high.

    The Romans adjusted the chemical composition of their concrete so that it solidified under water. This enabled them to build sewers and ports that could hold 300 ships. Roman sewers are still in use in Rome to this day.

    Giving these people water and other aid is only going to make them able to breed faster than they already are. They have to pull themselves out of the mire.

    Doing everything for them is next to useless. Roman culture disappeared from Britain very quickly after the Romans left. This is because culture takes centuries to develop and runs very deep. You can’t acquire it from another culture without integrating fully into it. Certainly not by just watching documentaries or visiting museums.

  • Stillreading

    Excellent response Eric Legge. True in every way.

  • Tomsk

    Excellent article. I got your book a while back, The Great Charity Scandal’. Sums it up. They are business’s not charities. Stick with little chazzas folks. Not this type.

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