Beyond Good Intentions.

Author:Gee, William
Position:Book review

Tori Hogan (author); BEYOND GOOD INTENTIONS; Seal Press (Nonfiction: Social Science) 17.00 ISBN: 9781580054348

Byline: William Gee

Advertisements make persuasive cases for giving to international aid agencies. In Beyond Good Intentions, Tori Hogan offers a firsthand account of what such donations, as well as those from governments and businesses, actually provide. She recounts her enthusiastic entry into aid work in Africa as a young adult and how a Somali refugee youth pointedly stated, "A lot of aid workers come and go, but nothing changes," before asking her, "Do you really think you have the answer to our problems?" Hogan traces how that honest question in a chance meeting redirected her life to "uncover how the 'helping industry' could be reformed."

With degrees from Duke and Harvard and experience as a Fulbright Scholar, Hogan capably combines the theoretical with her on-the-ground experience. She has established herself as a global critic of the aid industry and has released a ten-part documentary on the topic. Beyond Good Intentions traces her return to the Somali refugee camp in Kenya after eight years to thank the student who had changed her life. It also covers two months of travels to other aid sites in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, and her return to America. She tells the story in a quasi-journal style that immediately draws one into the events as they unfold.

Numerous failures of aid agencies are detailed, including instances of "waste, corruption, and distrust" and...

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