Aid in Action
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The illustration on our cover is taken from The Ankle Grabber, written by Rose Impey and illustrated by Moira Kemp (1870817 07 9, £5.50). The book is published by Ragged Bears and is one of the Creepies series (for full details see page 4). We are grateful to Ragged Bears and Rose Impey for help in using this illustration.
An increasingly important feature of the heightening profile of the big aid agencies is their role in education - not only in giving aid in the form of education but their education of donors about what happens to their money and how and where aid is delivered. A new non-commercial respect for the donor is developing and (thanks not least to Bob Geldof and Princess Anne) we are being shown and told more. At the same time the agencies' respect for the recipients is more clearly seen as they move away from pure crisis-alleviation towards the encouragement of self-confidence and self-sufficiency through long-term education and development. This excellent book shows us this trend very clearly by concentrating mainly on the work of Save the Children - from volunteer collector through the directorate to the field-worker and recipients. Alistair Ross provides a very readable and straightforward text which evolves naturally with its subject and allows its readers room to manoeuvre and to develop their own opinions, nourished by his presentation of facts. In particular, his distinction between starvation (an acute physical state, possibly accidental) and poverty (a chronic condition with identifiable social and political causes) is brilliantly made and abundantly justifies his emphasis on the social and educational work done by the agencies - which often takes second place in the public imagination to the more picturesque short-term belly-filling. The text is punctuated by fact-supplements and 'What do you think?' boxes which, unlike most such features, actually ask sensible and interesting questions so that the reader really does think. Black and white photographs actually illustrate the text rather than, as is often fashionable, subjugate it, and the whole is a good end-to-end read.