Rick Scott, a former USAID official and 1970 Ripon College graduate, tells an audience in the college’s East Hall last week that U.S. foreign aid spending “shouldn’t be any less than it is” during a presentation on USAID programs. 					    Maic D’Agostino photo
Rick Scott, a former USAID official and 1970 Ripon College graduate, tells an audience in the college’s East Hall last week that U.S. foreign aid spending “shouldn’t be any less than it is” during a presentation on USAID programs. Maic D’Agostino photo

by Maic D’Agostino
maicd@riponprinters.com

     In Afghanistan, aid from the United States has helped put more girls behind school desks than ever before.

     In Ethiopia, Liberia and other African nations, U.S. assistance for AIDS relief has saved millions of lives across the continent.

     And in Timor-Leste, U.S.-supported farmer co-ops export 1,000 tons of fair trade, organic coffee to American companies such as Starbucks.

     According to Rick Scott, these programs are just a few examples of those bolstered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

     A former USAID official and 1970 Ripon College graduate, Scott spoke about his career working with USAID last week Monday in the college’s East Hall theater at an event sponsored by the Center for Politics and the People. ...

     “The key lesson that stuck with me throughout my career is the local people, no matter how poor they are, have wisdom, knowledge and understanding,” Scott said, “and we can in fact learn much from them ...

     “The upshot of this, and something that I carried throughout my career, is that the design, implementation and monitoring of all development projects must include local citizen and government input. In short, we as foreigners can only help people to help themselves, and we certainly do not have the best solutions for cultures very different than our own.”

     To that end, Scott stated that organizations such as USAID prioritize “host” countries funding their own programs, directing how their aid dollars are used and utilizing their own existing agencies and programs as much as possible.

    To read the entire story, see the Dec. 7, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.