I've been reading a New Internationalist (i.e. Communist) article titled Why You Should not Sponsor a Child. They say child sponsorship is horrible because of a number of reasons. Chid sponsorship is expensive because of all the letters and photoes that need to be sent back and forth as well as other paperwork. But what this paper ignores is that giving money to aid organizations is not something many people are comfortable with because they do not know how much of that money is going to corrupt politicians or aid workers. By sponsoring a child you get to see the child and see how his body size changes over time (to see whether he is being fed well). You can even visit the child and see in person how the child is doing. This I think is a good way of checking to see if the aid organization is actually doing something other than funneling the money into buying Ferraris. Through child sponsorship the aid organizations are accountable to the donors.
Child sponsorship may cost more but these extra costs are monitoring costs necessary because of the corruption of human nature. Communist is more cost-effective than democracy. If the communist government wants to build a hospital it gets it built straight away. Any objectors will be shot dead. Democracy is tougher. To get a hospital built you have to negotiate with different state governments, zoning regulators, and so on. You need approval from the voters. It's expensive and costly. But it's more transparent. It fosters confidence in the system. Child sponsorship is the same. It is no wonder then that New Internationalist, the communist site, is making this argument against child sponsorship.
This is why I believe child sponsorship is good. If you live in Australia and want to sponsor a child, go to the sites below:
World Vision Australia
Compassion Australia (Christian)
The Salvation Army
Update 23/12/2007: I've been reading about some crazy ecologist named Paul Ehrlich who believes that food aid should stop completely and people in poor nations should starve to death! What an evil person. Anyway, Ehrlich predicted in the '70s that there would be a massive famine that would hit the world and that millions of people would die. In reality, worldwide poverty went down. The world has more than enough food to feed everyone. The problem is politics. Even if food is shipped from rich countries to poor countries, the government in poor countries often don't care and won't bother to deliver the food. This is another reason why I think child sponsorship is important. Suppose you give $100 to some aid agency. That aid agency may buy $100 worth of rice and then dump it on an airport in Sudan and then nothing happens. If you sponsor a child, that aid agency has to move its butt into the country, into the forests or into the deserts, to find the child so that they can give food and make sure the child writes back to the sponsor. Growing demand for child sponsorship will make aid organizations search for more children.