The Power of Focused Unity: Short-Term vs. Long-Term International Aid

Many Hands Make Lighter Work


Many of us feel that what is required to solve the big issues in the world like world hunger, poverty, war, and disease are insurmountable. However, smaller things make bigger things. If we look at our universe, everything that is in our existence is made of something a little bit smaller than itself, down to the tiny circumference of an atom. With that in mind, the donation that may seem small and insignificant really does make a difference especially when everyone pitches in. For example, a small fraction of the wealth of the developed countries in the world could solve world hunger with around 0.12% of their wealth redistributed to countries in need. Our impact does make a difference.

Photo of two hands outreached holding a yellow daisy by Lina Trochez.
Photo of two hands outreached holding a yellow daisy by Lina Trochez.

Do Deep Pockets Make a Difference?


Of course, the ratio at which we are able to give does vary from person to person. A billionaire is able to give a larger sum than let’s say the average person. This is something that many of us think will make a lasting more substantial difference. In November 2021, Elon Musk tweeted that he would give 6.6 billion to the UN World Food programme if they were able to tweet their plan to utilize it. David Beasley, Director of UN World Food Programme, responded with a well thought out and descriptive plan to use the money to benefit as many people as possible. The plan included the cost of shipping, storage and transport, as well as the distribution plan for the food. The money could provide one meal per person, per day for a year, keeping tens of millions of people from starvation. It is unfortunate Elon Musk did not act upon his promise, leaving many people scratching their heads as to why.


The questions grew on January 31st as Elon Musk bought Twitter for a whopping 45 billion dollars. Many people posed the question “how is Elon buying an app instead of being part of the solution to world hunger?” As it turns out, Elon did not like the UN’s plan.

Photo of one of Elon Musk’s electric cars and company logo by Schweiz.
Photo of one of Elon Musk’s electric cars and company logo by Schweiz.

All Hands-on Deck


Elon proposes the solution to world hunger does not simply lie in giving food aid to different countries, there must be a long-term focus on how to rebuild a country. From the infrastructure to ethical governance so that the food can be distributed accordingly. With this incorporated into the plan, there is future potential for the country to be able to stand on its own two feet. There are even examples of how food aid has hindered certain countries and left them worse off than they were previously unless it is coupled with infrastructure and economic rebuilding. David Beasley did acknowledge in his plan that “$6 billion will not solve world hunger,” adding that “it WILL prevent geopolitical instability [and] mass migration.” There is no doubt in the minds of the masses that staving off millions of people starving in the short term is still more important than owning the bird app.

Photo of Twitter logo on a phone by Jeremy Bezanger.
Photo of Twitter logo on a phone by Jeremy Bezanger.

In an ideal world, we would use a collective sum to support, uphold and maintain those that are in need in a more balanced way. The short-term relief is imperative, but so is the long-term. Next time we donate to a charity, we should look for organizations that are encompassing the whole picture, providing essential food aid AND providing educational opportunities, infrastructure rebuilding, and family support. Through a collective focused action on both the long-term and short-term solutions to world hunger, we could see a revolution in developing countries in the coming years. Let’s give them the tools to build a lasting foundation well into the future. Choose your charities wisely and give power to those who really make a difference.

A photo of many kinds of tools laid out by Cesar Carlevarino.
A photo of many kinds of tools laid out by Cesar Carlevarino.


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