Foreign Aid Success: Self-Help Programs Help Mexico's Poor

By Carter, Tom | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 14, 1996 | Go to article overview

Foreign Aid Success: Self-Help Programs Help Mexico's Poor


Carter, Tom, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


If drinking coffee or eating ice cream and chocolate made it possible to help some of Latin America's poorest people, save the environment and slow immigration along the Mexican border, these acts might be recognized as good deeds.

It is U.S. government policy. Washington coffee drinkers and ice cream and chocolate eaters support Mexican and Bolivian farmers every time they pick up a pound of Aztec Harvest organic coffee, eat select flavors of Ben & Jerry's ice cream or munch on a Repunzel Swiss chocolate bar with El Ceibo cocoa from Bolivia.

These items, found in certain Washington area coffee bars, Fresh Fields grocery stores and wherever Ben & Jerry's is sold, are a few of the products of the 27-year-old Inter-American Foundation (IAF), created as a more efficient, market-oriented alternative to the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID).

Unlike the much-maligned AID, IAF does not fund government projects. Projects are created at the local level, not initiated in Washington, and are market- and goal-oriented. Specific goals, often financial, are identified before IAF funding is granted, and if the goals are not met, funding can be revoked.

Projects are designed to be relatively short term. As a product is marketed, sold and the project becomes viable, IAF decreases its aid and eventually ends its involvement.

Even conservative Republicans, who generally define foreign aid as synonymous with money "down a foreign rat hole," are not out to kill this agency.

STRONG SUPPORT

"We have strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill," said Adolfo Franco, general counsel and spokesman for IAF. "But the pressures on the budget are great. The challenge for us and everyone in the development field is that foreign assistance has been reduced."

Mr. Franco said some of IAF's strongest Republican support comes from Rep. John Edward Porter of Illinois and Sens. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon and Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas.

"We only work with experienced organizations, groups with a track record. It is self-help. We help those who have shown the capacity to help themselves," said David Bray, project manager for IAF Mexico projects.

The Inter-American Foundation, an independent government agency that began operating in 1969, has spent $409 million over the years on 3,811 projects, ranging from forestry management and timber production to educational and cultural projects to creating community based health clinics.

It is governed by a nine-member board, appointed by the president.

In 1995, IAF was given $20 million in taxpayer funding, a 37 percent decrease in the money it received in 1994. But that money was used to leverage an additional $35 million out of private sources. This funding is currently spread out in 850 different projects throughout Latin America.

Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican and foreign aid's most avid critic, said in an April 9 letter to Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, that IAF had spent more than $1 billion since its creation. He urged IAF to secure private funding, or "modest congressional support will evaporate. . . ."

STATES WANTED HELP

"This is a good buy for the United States," said Mr. Franco.

"The people come to us with the idea," said Mr. Bray, one of 70 country specialists supervising projects in every country of Latin America but Cuba. "An idea is evaluated and, if we think it will work, we help."

Mr. Bray said the Inter-American Foundation became involved in coffee production when Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero Indians, the traditional coffee growers in southern Mexico, sought IAF help.

Coffee, Mexico's traditional top cash-earning export crop and once a state-supported industry, was being privatized under the market reforms of Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Foreign Aid Success: Self-Help Programs Help Mexico's Poor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.