No amount of charity will help if you don’t take responsibility for your own life

This is really interesting!  Helen Zille, Democratic Alliance leader, was officially sworn in to become the Premier of the Western Cape in South Africa. I would imagine that it was the first time a white woman had this honour bestowed on her in South Africa. But am guessing.

It is the only province which the ANC did not win in the recent elections. So it’s great happiness to the DA and gloom and doom for the ANC. However, that in itself was not the very interesting bit of my story. Although of course it’s fabulous news. No party should have the luxury of such an overwhelming majority as the ANC has. It leads to some bad politics.

Well, what is so interesting you might say?

During Hellen Zille’s acceptance speech she mentioned that for every R3.00 spent by the City of Cape Town on developing and providing services to the people a further R2.00 was spent in repairing damages caused by vandalism. She should know. She was mayor of Cape Town for three years.

In fact she was such a great mayor she won the world’s outstanding mayor award in 2008.

It makes one think though doesn’t it. That for every R3 or whatever currency you want to use, $3 or £3, a further R2 has to be paid out to repair what the original R3 had paid to build. Isn’t that something else?

Her message, as she was sworn in as Premier of the Province – one step up from being mayor of the capital of the Province, was that people have to take responsibility for their own lives.

Now isn’t that a thought. What is it then that stifles the development of people? It’s not necessarily the lack of money spent to help the underprivileged. It could in fact be rather all about taking responsibility.

Take responsibility for your own life. Understand that it could be tough sometimes and you just have to work through it. Be your own person rather than handing over responsibility to others or to an authority. Try again and again to get the best life you want to have.

Above all else understand that there is no free ride no easy way to become the next millionaire. It’s all about effort, working hard and taking responsibility. Is that too hard for some folk? Maybe! But then don’t blame the government, other people, school, the system, your parents and and and.

Given half a chance you’ll think of loads of people and institutions to blame. We all do. It’s a national past time. But will it help besides entertaining us? Don’t think so. We are truly responsible for our own lives. Only us.

The Aid money is just not getting to the people

The sums of money given in Aid to needy countries often seem shockingly high. In the case of some countries in Africa it appears that years of sending through Aid has not lessened the suffering of the ordinary people.

Yet there seems to be a pattern in countries where large sums of Aid is sent to. A few get rich their pockets filled to bulging point and the poor get poorer.

An article in the Independent describes the Aid situation in Afghanistan and shines a spotlight on the high degree of wastage of it.  In particular the amounts of money spent on accommodating Western aid officials in palatial style explains why between 35 to 40% of aid is badly spent according to the country director of the World Bank in 2006.

Besides luxury accommodation much money is spent on security and safety measures. Private residences are built to be bomb and sniper proof and individuals have the services of high-priced security companies to offer personal security.

A further problem seems to be that the US Aid package gets funneled through US companies operating in Afghanistan. They make their profits out of it and it seeps down through various layers of businesses. It leaves little for the ordinary Afghan who needs it the most.

The resurgent Taliban forces are able to gather support easily. Young men consider joining because it’s a job. With such high levels of unemployment, getting a gun in your hands and a couple of Dollars per month pay seems to be better than nothing.

It’s especially attractive to young starving Afghans who see how the Westerners live in their country and that the Aid money and Western presence seems to make no difference to their lives.

Aid organisations will really need to work out a better way of distributing help not only in Afghanistan but in all countries where Aid is offered. Throwing money at a problem is just not working in these instances if it ever does.

Swine flu has got nothing on Malaria

Did you know that malaria kills nearly one million people a year which is about 2 700 per day – most of them children under five in Africa. In fact, on average a child in Africa dies every 30 seconds from a malaria infection caused by the bite of a mosquito. Stats supplied by WHO.

Did you know these Swine Flu statistics?

According to WHO as at April 30, 2009 there were 11 countries having officially reported 257 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection or swine flu.

USA has 109 laboratory confirmed cases and one death. Mexico has 97 confirmed infections and seven death. Further countries have reported cases but no deaths.

Why is there so much panic about this flu and none whatsoever about the malaria deaths which far outstrip the flu pandemic? I don’t see anywhere on WHO’s website that they have given malaria a no 5 Alert status?

What is wrong with this picture? Africa, where the bulk of the malaria deaths occur doesn’t matter. The rest of the world does or so it seems to me.

Or maybe it’s because the few deaths by swine flu happening in the First World make dramatic news headlines whereas the millions dying of malaria in Africa don’t. Either way it’s a shame.

I can just imagine the shock and horror reaction by people if I were to say, let’s start worrying about the flu pandemic when it reaches the proportions of malaria.

But wouldn’t that be fair?

Facebook seems to be allowing developers at your content

So here we go. Facebook it seems will be announcing today that it will allow third-party developers access to user content with the purpose of allowing more application development.

Mmmh. The article in the Wall Street Journal makes it sound all happy and fabulous and a huge bonus to Facebook users.

For instance developers could build a site that aggregates just the articles certain friends upload to the site. Or developers could offer an application that streams your photos you’ve uploaded to another site and much more.

With other words developers will be allowed to create applications that manipulate the data you, as Facebook user, have uploaded.

Of course you will be asked permission first. Okeeeey. Bit like that Facebook Beacon story where you had to opt out rather than opt in. Most people didn’t spot that the box had been ticked already and gave permission by default?

So if Facebook does that again, by default you could have all sorts of things happen to your information. Oh really?

Wasn’t the whole point of Facebook that you had a secure area where you could share your stuff with people you knew and you were safe from prying eyes? Now if Facebook opens up its info to outside developers that could be like opening up the sluithgates to a flood of information into the outside of Facebook world.

People out there might say that Twitter is allowing it. Sure, but nobody in their right minds posts anything close to confidential on Twitter, surely? They can’t be that daft, or can they?

We all know the point of Twitter is to send out stuff that we hope as many people as possible will read. Not so on Facebook. Most of us really only want our friends and family to see our info. We don’t even want our clients or bosses to lurk around in the shadows.

What consequence then if developers are allowed to play around with our Facebook data? Not nice.