was taken in the introduction of the simple filtration of water in Bangladesh.2 The Kigali Institute of Technology (KIST) in Kigali, Rwanda, has been using such an “adopt a village” model in its engineering program.3 Students are exposed to villagers’ problems at an early stage in their curriculum.

Recommendation: The high mortality rates in Nigeria from diarrheal disease and malaria argue that the Nigerian government should offer health education and training in the schools that would include the importance of safe drinking water, how to maintain a sanitary water supply, and how to choose effective medicines. Other relevant topics could include nutrition, hygiene, safe sex, and the prevention and treatment of common diseases such as respiratory infections, diarrhea, and HIV/AIDS. This program should be supplemented by public pronouncements on topics such as filtering water and a public information campaign on the importance of using the most effective antimalarial therapy—currently ACTs—and the necessity of completing the course of treatment.


The proposals offered here for government suggest a new approach for philanthropic foundations and donor agencies. Ideally, any donor should have two objectives. First, enable the target community to find and implement solutions to its own problems rather than giving it a particular solution—that is, as the popular saying goes, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish. Second, create sustainable solutions that do not require an ongoing supply of donor funds.

Too often, however, aid agencies and foundations are criticized for making recipient countries and communities dependent on aid by giving them unearned benefits that are not sustainable or by creating wealth that is not shared by the majority of people. Furthermore, the benefits disappear when the aid program ends because the local government is unable to continue the support.

Instead, we suggest that this kind of philanthropy should be considered a sort of investment in public goods and services. The goal should


Young-Gun Zo, Irma N. G. Rivera, Estelle Russek-Cohen, M. Sirajul Islam, A. K. Siddique, M. Yunus, R. Bradley Sack, Anwar Huq, and Rita R. Colwell, “Genomic Profiles of Clinical and Environmental Isolates of Vibrio cholerae O1 in Cholera-Endemic Areas of Bangladesh,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99(2002):12409–12414.


See http://www.kist.ac.rw.

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