Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Over 100 national staff members employed by USAID have been killed in Afghanistan over the past three years in hostile incidents. That really is a staggering amount. If a government development agency or NGO lost even a 10th of that number, and they were international staff, you can bet operations would be shut down and evacuations would long be completed. But with national staff, very sad to say, there's often a double standard when it comes to the cost of doing business. Lots of questions with this statistic. Is USAID doing everything possible to ensure the security of its staff members? What type of risk thresholds are being used? Are the USAID programs making a difference, especially considering this amount of loss of life? Do potential USAID national staff members understand the higher levels of risk associated with their employment? Who within USAID is accountable for the security of national staff members (and does he or she sleep at night)? And finally, what is the current USAID staff member body count in Iraq? The more I think about this, the angrier I get.