Getting Help to the People of Bangladesh
November 19, 2007 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Where Can People Send Help to Bangladesh?

Is there a grass-roots organization that ensures that all donations are received and given directly to the people of disasters such as that in Bangladesh right now?

Is there a place where people can volunteer? And is there any way to pinpoint specifically what is needed so that people can provide those things - again directly to the people?
posted by watercarrier to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Grass-roots organizations in Bangladesh can be hard to reach, especially when they are, like everyone else there, cut off by the flooding. You can search for them, however, at the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).

The World Food Programme is rushing aid to Bangladesh under UN auspices, and that might be a better bet in the short term.

The Bangladesh Government has on its website a link to a relief fund. That's hardly grass-roots either.

I would guess that major organizations like Oxfam will be getting involved in the near future.

Hope this helps, at least a little!
posted by Palaverist at 9:08 AM on November 19, 2007

Money and trained medical professionals are usually what's needed for disaster recovery.

This looks like a good way to donate money. Or this.
posted by mpls2 at 9:10 AM on November 19, 2007

Is there a grass-roots organization that ensures that all donations are received and given directly to the people of disasters such as that in Bangladesh right now?


[soapbox, pre-apologies]

Nobody will ever get this through their heads, which is why NGO's trying to do good work in countries that desperately need help will always be in part hindered from their ability to do the best work possible.

The fact of the matter, very simply, is that moving your donation, wherever on the planet you may be right now, to Bangladesh (or a beneficiary anywhere else on the planet), can not take place in a void. It will not happen for free. The closest thing you could possibly get to that would be finding the name/address of someone in Bangladesh, stuffing some cash in an envelope, and mailing it to them. You've eliminated the middle man in that case, but even then - the total amount you would have given has been reduced by the amount of postage you gave to your host-nation's postal carrier. And I think you can hopefully see how that is probably not the best way to go anyway.

Big organizations, like the one I'm currently working for (which you should certainly consider: World Vision), are, generally speaking, good at what they do, believe it or not. They have strategies and policies and procedures and people that manage global operations to help people in need at the end of the day. But those people need paychecks. And defining those procedures and policies and making sure they are adhered to isn't free either. Global operations cost money.

If you give your money to a WV, or an Oxfam, or a WFP - I can guarantee you that a % of your money (relatively speaking) will not get to the beneficiaries in the field, because, as I've pointed out, that's impossible.

Donor visibility is an important thing, and these organizations do need to be held to high visibility standards, but even purchasing and implementing the systems necessary to do such a thing is yet another cost involved in helping people.

Don't punish the people of Bangladesh by holding back on what you have to give because there's not an organization out there that can magically turn your money into instant help for the beneficiaries. Deal with the reality of relief situations and accept the fact that something is better than nothing at all.

Too many people use this as just another excuse to never start helping.

posted by allkindsoftime at 1:54 AM on November 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

That said, I commend you for wanting to get involved and helping. There's really not a lot you can do to volunteer in the field, b/c as previously mentioned, they need professionals there. That said, if you are in the US, there are donations-management warehouses that often accept volunteer help in kitting, product preparation, etc.. WV has one in Denver and one in Pittsburgh that regularly host volunteer groups. My email is in profile if either of those interest you.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:00 AM on November 20, 2007

Dear God, don't give to the Bangladesh Government. They're disorganized and I doubt your money will get to where it's needed efficiently.

*is Bangladeshi, though not living there*
posted by divabat at 12:41 AM on November 22, 2007

The Red Cross is doing work there, though it's possible that your money will go to some other project.
posted by divabat at 12:56 AM on November 22, 2007

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