Malawi, Elspeth King and The Times

13 June 2002

In a Nutshell

Food not the only problem
WHEN visiting a hospital in northern Malawi full of malnourished patients for my husband’s voluntary surgical work, we went to the nearby Roman Catholic seminary for a frugal lunch of maize porridge, dried fish and beans. The appropriate words of grace were: “Lord, as we enjoy this food let us be mindful of the thousands of families around us who will not eat a meal today.” We had already seen the illnesses of adults and children who were reduced to daily foraging for grass, leaves, and roots in this overcrowded country. As the land is thus stripped, so famine will become permanent.

During my 25 years in Malawi I have long since become disillusioned with the United Nations agencies. Their vast funds are largely blown on continual international conferences and on local “workshops” in luxury hotels which fatten both UN staff and African bureaucrats with wine, dinner and per diem payments. To whom are UN agencies answerable for their operations at taxpayers’ expense? Sadly, this Rome Food and Agriculture Organisation conference is unlikely to discuss the real cause of the famine in Malawi — namely the high birthrate of seven children per woman.

A policy of only one wife and only two children will certainly have to be achieved to avoid more famines.

Elspeth King

4 July 2005 (Note taken from The Times by GD):

THE TIMES today notes that 40% to 70% of funding never gets to the poor, it goes to consultants and others. Last May the World Bank admitted that consultants were taking $20 billion from global aid budgets – 40% of the total amount given by the industrial world for overseas development. “In 1989, Graham Hancock, a British author, termed these beneficiaries the ‘lords of poverty’. Since then”, he told The Times, “matters had got ‘much, much worse.’”