20/21 June: Any talk about development aid can spark a huge and passionate debate about pros, cons of the aid and if and how it should be delivered. In an aid-dependent country like Nepal mechanism through which the aid money is disbursed and delivered matters a lot. This can make or break a society. Or, make some people very dissatisfied with the donors as is the case in Nepal. I do believe Nepal will, unfortunately, remain an aid-dependent country for at least a decade to come because of the way things are now. Of course, it’s better to be in a position where we don’t need aid. But we are not in such a position now. So I think aid is needed. That’s my personal opinion. I am a big supporter of aid in infrastructure projects rather than in something that can be loosely termed as ‘capacity building’ (whatever that is).
The ‘capacity building’ part should come from within us- from our own national resources, efforts and dedication. That way it will be sustainable. We should build our capacity through better education and improving quality of our education.
Soviets built some bridges in the east-west highway in 1972 and we are still using them in 2013. We are still reaping benefits of the infrastructure projects 43 years after their completion. I am not sure how that would have helped us now if Russians had used that money in ‘capacity building’ back then.
Talking about bideshi-built bridge it’s worth mentioning the Sabha Khola bridge, earthquake-resistant, that the Brits constructed recently in Sakhuwasabha district. A lifeline indeed. Photos of the bridge here (I recommend that entry by Siromani).