Good intentions are not enough

I was referred to the site Good Intentions by my friend Brian Gough who works for Task Furniture in Education in Cologne. Good Intentions houses critical articles and debates about the effectiveness of aid projects, aiming ‘to provide donors with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed funding decisions’. From her experiences in Thailand working on post-Tsunami aid programmes, founder Saundra Schimmelpfennig observed that:

It quickly became apparent that many poor aid practices were a result of charities trying to attract or keep donors. The donors themselves were unaware of the many misconceptions they held about aid. These misconceptions combined with the lack of easily accessible information made it almost impossible for donors to give in ways that matched their good intentions.

I’m interested in that first statement, describing charities ‘trying to keep or attract donors’ – chimes in with my own analysis of the relationship of design for development projects to first world audiences, sometimes to the detriment of users.