For even the worst tragedy, there is a beneficiary; be it a noble or an ignoble beneficiary. In Rwanda , an unindustrialised country we have also seen a Genocide industry but in post-genocide care-provision.
There is a whole Non Governmental Organisation sector in Rwanda dedicated to Genocide survivors, but very few survivors are getting help from these projects. They quite often become expensive small-scale experimental projects that never produce anything.
This industry might be worth up to US $50-100m a year because they link to so many other sectors, and they often produce nothing. These NGO’s often become detrimental to the people they want to help, although well-meaning, they patronise and dictate how funds are spent, it is a patron’s right to patronise.
They often provide false hope, leaving the people disappointed. I know so many Westerners here who work on random projects empowering some wretched heathens somewhere in the middle of nowhere, then the project ends and voosh!! What happens to the poor person who had hoped this would help them? We privatised aspects of survivor-care to NGO’s because we were unable to pay ourselves, but it has been badly managed.
Mismanagement is one thing, there has also been downright fraud, these entities are in a legal twilight zone neither here nor there. They are not governmental organisations, some are quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations (Quango’s) some are NGO’s, others use vague names like project, initiative, cooperative, concern, fund, service.
What I am proposing are not my own ideas but what I heard from the lips of survivors. We need an integrated genocide strategy, one that has three parts – justice, reconciliation and rehabilitation/welfare. We need a register of all survivors and their children, whether they need financial help or not.
All NGO’s dealing with Genocide-survivors should work within this Genocide prevention/rehabilitation strategy, they must work with other charities and NGO’s to find synergies, no more lone rangers.
These NGO’s should be taxed and treated like businesses because they make millions of dollars and a vast portion of this is often sent back. Even if they mean well, 300 plus NGO’s working separately, is creating damage and chaos. When you ask genocide survivors they tell you that resources are there but mismanaged, they are livid about money going missing from survivor funds.
There are too many of them to mention, all based in nice offices, with big 4x4’s, nice websites with smiling big-teethed children, but the reality on the ground is different. One project helps 50 people and costs US $1m a year, that is $20,000 per survivor which they never get, the only Africans employed are drivers and cleaners. We own the copyright on our History. We cannot allow others to use our misery for their gain.
This industry is huge from Paul Rusesabagina, to the hundreds of other phantom NGO’s based here. We must regulate it somehow, and divert more resources to Survivors.