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What's the biggest change needed in how charities and federal agencies deliver aid to developing nations? Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts, David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Dale Hanson Bourke, author of The Skeptic's Guide to Global Poverty, suggest the best way to help.

Help That Makes a Difference: Change our Worldview

The goal is not to turn Kampala into Chicago. The goal is for both Kampala and Chicago to look more like the New Jerusalem.

Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts

"We were happy in our village before you folks told us we were poor. We didn't have many things, but happiness doesn't come just from having more material things. What makes you think we want to become just like you?"

The audience, a group of American donors and development leaders, looked bewildered as Emily, a community development worker from Liberia, took her seat. Finally, one of the U.S. donors spoke up. "Yes, of course we share your goals, Emily. That's why we keep on bringing you more capital and technology." Emily listened helplessly, realizing that her message had fallen on deaf ears—again.

Americans are the richest people ever to walk the face of the earth, and we coexist with 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day. The situation is simply immoral. We must do more, but we must do it differently.

For the past 60 years, the majority of American assistance has flowed out of a materialistic worldview, which assumes that wealth is produced by material things, namely capital and technology. In this view, America is "developed." We have arrived, and they have not. The assumption is that if we provide them with more capital and technology, they will be able to be just like the U.S.—a ...

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In the Magazine

December 2009

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