“Risk can be defined as a probability of both enduring unintended consequences and experiencing its impacts from implemented agendas. Inherent to actions, plans, and programs, players in any domain do their best to avoid risk. In order to do this, they implement cost-benefit analyses which discern how to achieve maximum profit through minimal risk. The methods and assessments, in which data is collected from, for these cost-benefit analyses often include thorough political and economic mapping. However, these assessments fail to give heed to a vital building block of a nation: the complex intricacies of society. The lack of information on human terrain/environment, mainly culture, cultural history, and language, becomes a major source of failure for the international aid agencies. This dearth of specific intelligence leads to incomplete assessments, which are either unknowingly so or overlooked. As a result of proceeding on incomplete assessments, interventions, more often than not, result in failure.”

This excerpt is from the potential publishing work of my internship here at PKSOI. I’ve learned a lot during the two months I’ve been here. I’ve learned that nothing is as easy as it seems. When I was younger, I would look at the world’s issues and wonder why they couldn’t be easily solved, something as simple as basic needs for instance. I would wonder why and if these mammoth aid agencies were actually helping other people. Coming here, I’ve realized that they do … and sometimes they don’t. The issue lies in something that we have been taught to do since our socialization as little infants and toddlers. This issue is communication.

For me, it was difficult to understand and see why such an issue would occur as such an important level in our world today. I mentioned this in an earlier post, “US Army”, where the US Army, other US contingencies and NGOs experienced difficulties because of communicative problems. This concern is also evident when aid agencies attempt to aid foreign countries. Communicative issues lies within aid agencies, between aid agencies, and between the aid agency and the local players. Another area is in the assessments that the agencies make before going into countries. There is a lack of cultural information that is pertinent to the assessment. But this is often missed. This lack of communication is detrimental to the donor and recipient, but more so the recipient because it becomes bogged down with the aftermath.

Perhaps in order to solve the world’s problems, we need only work on our communication skills. After all, “Ignorance, which gives rise to wrong perceptions, is responsible for most of our pain.”


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