Somalia: The Limits of
In the name of surge capacity, over 200 UN international staff has arrived, the shortest for a month, the longest for three and more months. If you use an average $10,000 per month, the figure of $6 million is paid as salaries and allowances to the new arrivals. Add that to an already bloated bureaucracy of thousands and you get a sense of how much money is burnt in western capitals and Nairobi in the name of the Somalia Emergency. Add the millions of dollars paid to shipping and freight companies to transport food and non-food items. Add the rentals, construction, renovation and sundry costs of multifarious lavish buildings. Add the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services with the ridiculous fare. Add the phony security and safety specialists who roam everywhere with the expensive armored vehicles. Add the millions of computers, radio and audio-visual equipment procured on a continuous basis. Add the barbeque, the cakes, the drinks the humanitarians need to be able to discuss the severity of the famine and strategies for response. And you would think you got a feel of where the money is ending up. You have not even begun. This is the ears of a hippo. Below the dangling ears which look like two dancing birds lies a bigger monster. The UN and general humanitarian system in Somalia is corrupt to the bone, and all what is said here are the small things the naked eye can see.
And in the few instances some initiated leaders of Somalia ask questions, they get acronyms and jargons: FFW, LGDP, Contingency Planning, ToT, M&E, ToR, assessment, CHEP, factsheets, policy papers, maps, matrixs, strategic plans, evaluation reports, draft templates, MoUs, SOPs, you name it. Is there no other ways of getting better value for all that money? Is it for lack of ideas or for lack of good-will? It is the latter.