Click here for an informative news story from the BBC about why aid to Africa has not helped make significant improvements. I believe one of the best ways to avoid the problems associated with donor aid is microfinance. And a great way to provide micro loans to deserving people is to work with these guys.
The company I work for, Tour D' Afrique, currently has a small aid component that I hope to help grow over the next few years. They are a pretty progressive bunch:
This year they are trying to be carbon neutral by supporting an Ethiopian group that plants trees. The TdA will sponsor 5000 trees this year. The volunteer organization that facilitates the tree planting is called DevXchange. Reading about them on their website it seems to me they have their heads and hearts in the right place.
The TdA also believes stongly in promoting bike use, in having a positive impact on the towns and villages they travel through, and in helping the participants in the tour filter their experiences to better understand the economic, social, political and cultural complexities of the countries they visit.
Many of the tour's participants raise money to support the Tour d' Afrique Foundation or a charity of their choice. Since 2002 the TdA and its riders have donated 700 bikes to health clubs in Africa and raised over 3/4 of a million dollars for various charities. That's nothing compared to a Christian Childrens Fund or World Vision but the impact is much more focused and personal. I think this make it better.
I'm Soliciting your Advice:
Especially from those of you who have or do live in Africa. I would like to explore the possibiltiy of supporting a couple of groups next year. Please send me the contact info of groups or individuals you think could beniefit from a relationship with TdA foundation. I would like to visit them this year in the hopes of developing a relationship with next years tour.