Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Won't somebody please think of the children?

After every high there is a comedown.

Yesterday I uploaded Oxfam's spending data but today I received a reply from Save the Children, repeating their refusal to publish what they fund.

Frankly I consider their argument to be absurd:
I have investigated this further for you and for security reasons we wouldn't be able to give you the names and locations of our overseas projects. If we were to make this information public it could put our overseas staff and the children within our projects at risk.
The problem with making the 'security argument' is that lots of things could put people at risk. Inevitably we have to draw the line and say that the likely benefits of action outweigh the potential risks.

In any case it would be reasonable for Save the Children to choose not to disclose details about a minority of projects if they were particularly sensitive (this is what Oxfam have done).

One can't help but think that there are more risks to the NGO's reputation than there are to children's lives. In fact, it's more likely that children's lives would be improved if aid agencies embraced transparency, rather than cowered from it.

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