Shoddy Deals for Darfur

So you may remember that a few weeks ago I wondered what had prompted three NGOs – smeared, criminalised, intimidated  – expelled from Darfur to consider returning. With no guarantees that the same thing wouldn’t happen all over again once they had poured millions of dollars more into the region, they decided to return with different names and different logos as part of a shoddy deal hammered out accepted by Barack Obama’s special envoy, Scott Gration.

Aid workers who were familiar with Darfur told me how upset they were. And it seemed the decision to return was driven by headquarters who needed the cash associated with Darfur projects to fund jobs in the US and UK. Inevitably though I was accused of not understanding the "humanitarian imperative".

Well, as I learn more and more about the decision taken by Care in particular, then no, I clearly don’t understand the "humanitarian imperative", not if that means doing a favour for your buddy and trying to avoid an investigation into how millions of dollars have gone missing.

It turns out that Scott Gration is some sort of old chum of Helene Gayle, chief executive of Care USA, and was on the blower to her for a favour to help his deal get off the ground.

At the same time, USAID has done some sort of audit of Care projects it has funded only to find that millions of dollars cannot be accounted for. USAID is one of Care’s biggest donors and was able to then dictate that the charity returned to Darfur, or else…

Not sure any of that translates as the "humanitarian imperative" but then I’ve never really understood the charity world.