Global Hand Principles
Global Hand is in the process of developing a set of principles and values to ensure that aid given is good aid.
Need Driven: The product shipped is determined by a genuine and thorough understanding of the recipient’s need.
Rationale: Inappropriate agendae have seen product wrongly shipped by actors sending consignments to bolster volume of operation.
* Competition. Actors may feel driven by the “need” to ship a large number of containers in order to compete in the aid arena, even if product sent is less than ideal.
* Constituents’ demands. In response to a crisis, NGO’s may feel obligated to be seen as responding in order to satisfy constituents’ expectation .
Such scenarios run the risk of cargo choice being driven by actors’ agendae, rather than those of recipient
Quality Controlled: Goods are respectfully chosen, of appropriate quality in consultation with the recipient.
Rationale: Product placement has been perceived, in some cases rightly, as foreigners “dumping” their rubbish, and thus communicating disrespect and increasing pain in an already hurting community.
Determined by Informed Choices: Product sent is determined by reliable needs assessment, where available. Organisations offered unsuitable in-kind donations refuse or redirect them.
Rationale: When responding to need, disasters in particular, media, or other information channels, can motivate a response from the public that is well-meaning but naïve or uninformed. Such cargo can do more harm than good. It may:
* be dangerous, or offensive, to recipients.
* obstruct the movement of much needed product.
* be costly to remove, consuming scarcely available financial resources.
Avoiding Aid-Dependency: Product donation is placed in strategic ways that prevent a culture of dependency or hinder community recovery.
Rationale: Wrongly placed aid, while well meaning, can prevent healthy recovery in a damaged or depressed economy: when product is repeatedly donated, rather than purchased, the community may gain a “hand-out” mentality. (N.B. Care in this area need not preclude a relationship being built up between the donor and the recipient.)
Exercising Economic Responsibility: Product donation is given with consideration of sustainable development. Where donated product countermands this, it will undermine local employment and weaken growth.
Rationale: Repeated provision of product, if donated or heavily subsidised, can undermine employment. When appropriately given, however, goods can be used to positive, rather than negative effect. Where relevant, they can even serve as capital injection for job creation in micro-small enterprise scenarios.
Factoring Both Relief And Development Constraints: Relief goods shipped during emergency scenarios are chosen with consideration for their long-term impact as well.
Rationale: Product placed in post-disaster scenarios, while meeting immediate need, can undermine long term recovery. Where there is time, product choice should be carefully considered in light of both objectives.
Implementing Distribution Accountability: Product placement is considered in regard to both short-term and long-term effectiveness.
Rationale: While focus may be placed on the responsible distribution of goods and observation of short-term outcome, longer term considerations are less often taken into account.
Transparent: Practitioners are transparent and accountable to the legal practices required by the governments of the land where they operate and those to which they ship.
Rationale: Transparency is mandatory, but nuances of interpretation re the law may come into play, knowingly or unknowingly, in matters including:
* cargo value estimation
* freight documentation
* fund-raising methods
* accounting procedures
* promotional literature
* project management
* product distribution.
Cost Effective: Value of cargo is of adequate worth in relation to cost of transport.
Rationale: The scarcity of financial resources available for aid dictates that responsibility is exercised in its expenditure. Cargo choices should therefore be made with careful assessment of product value vs freight costs.
Legal : Goods shipped comply with the cargo transactions permitted by all nations involved in the transaction.
Rationale: Illegal or undeclared goods have, historically, been part of cargo consigned as aid, capitalising unlawfully on the goodwill and, often, duty free status afforded such shipments.
Maintainable: Equipment shipped is maintainable by recipients; training, if needed, is provided and spare parts either available or made available.
Rationale: Unfortunate accounts abound regarding the provision of machinery that has been left to corrode through lack of know-how or spare parts.
Applying Corporate Responsibility: NGO’s handling industry surplus take care that the companies concerned not be compromised in regard to their own exercise of corporate social responsibility.
Rationale: With the furtherance of good citizenship practices and corporate social responsibility among businesses, NGO’s are often regarded with hesitation by the business world. Typical corporate concerns or even mistrust include suspected inefficiency, unprofessionalism or corruption.
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