Monday, March 3, 2014

Foreign Aid and Political Issues

Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
One issue that I have found very interesting recently has been involving the recent Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act that has been passed and how it has affected foreign aid to this developing country.  This issue has caused organizations to make a decision regarding their guidelines for providing aid.  Many organizations give aid to this country due to the low GDP and to assist the nation in its continuing development efforts.  However, many organizations have felt that the enactment of this new bill does not line up with the values of the organization and have expressed a desire to withhold aid as a result of the passage of this law.  This article by the UN News Centre sites public health as a huge concern due to the high level of people living with HIV/AIDS in the nation.  With 1.5 million people living with HIV in Uganda, treatment is a huge concern due to studies that show that "when gay people face discrimination including abuse, incarceration and prosecution, they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services" (UN).  The World Bank has postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda for maternal health, newborn care, and family planning due to the enactment of the new law.  The organization has concerns that the new law will "affect our projects and our gay and lesbian staff members" (BBC).  

Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
The backlash experienced by this issue however, seemed to be anticipated by the lawmaker who first proposed the bill.  Overall, this bill was widely liked by the citizens of the nation, and the lawmaker believes that these withdraws of support are worth the preservation of the nation's moral values.  Whether a person agrees with the new law or does not however, I believe the most important thing to look at is how the average citizen's life will be hurt or made better by the enactment of the law.  Nonprofits and aid organizations additionally have to evaluate how their organization's values fall into line with any decision the government has made.  These widespread implications make politics and aid interesting topics to dig deeper into and to continue to follow closely.  

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