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Empowering communities in developing countries

Eleni THEOCHAROUS
11.04.2014 - 09:00
Eleni Theocharous

Working passionately as a Member of the Development Committee in the European Parliament, I was constantly discovering new ways to support poor and developing countries. Providing for education and supporting the democratisation process, preventing brain drain, enhancing capacity building and the better management of skills and competence are key components of EU aid to poor and developing countries.

Development aid should be given straight to the community

I tried to implement in Development Committee policy what my 25 years of experience with voluntary organisations in poor countries in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Caucasus and the Balkans taught me.

Development aid should be given straight to the community because that way we avoid corruption, while aid recipients participate more in the process and are much more productive Eleni Theocharous

That is, that development aid should be given straight to the community and not channelled through central or regional governments and authorities, because that way we avoid corruption, while aid recipients participate more in the process and are much more productive.

Enduring development based on more knowledge and skills

An example would be Chicombedgi, ‘the project of Good Hope’, that is taking place in corrupt Zimbabwe, where I worked directly with the community with various non-governmental organisations from Europe and America. We taught the locals how to cultivate the land to produce fruits, vegetables and maize and we planted a large grove of olive trees from Cyprus. We also taught them to process agricultural products or to sell them fresh in local markets, to breed and reproduce milk animals so as to make cheese. Moreover, we started a honey production programme and we also created small carpentry, furniture, sewing and knitting workshops with simple means and no electricity.

In other areas, many millions got lost on the way while the small sum that we raised with fundraising activities worked wonders

We worked hard and equipped the local hospital, operated on children and transferred knowledge to local doctors and nurses. Finally, we helped local schools to overcome bureaucratic difficulties and become operational. The community now prospers and people possess a more democratic spirit.

In other areas, many millions got lost on the way, while the small sum that we raised with fundraising activities worked wonders.

We believe in people. #believeinpeople @ELENITHEOCHAROU

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