Foreign Aid Advisor (with Sean Mulkerne)

I think that for change to happen on these kinds of things, people have to believe that it’s possible and people have to believe that there is a stake in it for them.

If you’re reading this right now, statistically speaking, there’s a very good chance that you’re in the top 1% of earners on Earth.  I know you may be thinking “it sure doesn’t feel like I’m in the top 1%”, but I can assure you your situation is quite different than the other 99%.  If we spent some time in their shoes, we would undoubtedly want to support the other 99% of world occupants in some way.  Well, good news!  If you’re reading this right now there is also a very good chance that your government is giving millions (or billions) of dollars per year to help people in developing countries.  And if you’re a tax paying citizen that means that you ARE helping the other 99% of world inhabitants right now.  Some of the money you’re paying goes towards people like today’s guest, a foreign aid advisor.  If you’ve ever wondered about the current state of foreign aid, and whether or not it’s working, this should be an interesting listen.

I sympathize with the question [of whether or not aid is working] because we’re living in difficult economic times, and people might be feeling like it would be nice to have a little bit of that money in their pocket rather than going somewhere else. And if not that they want to be sure that the money is actually doing something.
I think part of some of the projects I work on is about getting that engine revving a little bit. If we can make this run smoother and we can set up arrangement where people feel like I pay into something I get something out…then that gets the cycle going.

Interview Contents

2:00 - The type of work Sean does in international development.
4:30 - Why governments pay private organizations to help.
6:40 - Benefits/downsides to being for-profit.
19:00 - Is development aid working?
28:00 - Personal accountability and making people feeling empowered.
37:00 - Advice for getting jobs in development.

Links

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This Episode Was Made With The Support Of

Brittany & Matt Marcotte

Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour

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Blake Fletcher

San Francisco, CA

Livin it up!