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Beyond Good Intentions: A Journey into the Realities of International Aid Paperback – September 25, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written from the heart, Beyond Good Intentions follows an uplifting journey of gratitude as Tori Hogan returns to East Africa in search of the refugee boy who changed her life. Her extraordinary memoir blends together a quest for truth and hope as she investigates the complicated world of humanitarian aid. Tori's message, rooted in curiosity and compassion, is a true gift to the world and a testament to the many ways in which our humanity is bound up with each other."     --Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

"A profoundly bold and inspiring book. Anyone who wants to help make the world a better place will find revelations in Tori Hogan's journey. Beyond Good Intentions will touch your heart and change your mind." —Larry King

"With remarkable honesty, self-awareness, and an easy and often wry style, Tori Hogan allows the reader to accompany her as she explores what does and doesn’t work in development, and life." —Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public

About the Author

Tori Hogan is the founder and director of Beyond Good Intentions, an organization that produces films and educational programs on the topic of international aid effectiveness.

Hogan has spent more than a decade immersing herself in the developing world as an aid worker, volunteer, researcher, filmmaker, and aid critic. In 2006, frustrated by the lack of results she was witnessing while working with refugee populations in Africa and the Middle East, she embarked on a yearlong round-the-world journey, meeting with countless aid organizations and recipients to produce a ten-part film series on aid effectiveness, Beyond Good Intentions. Since then, she has dedicated her time to educating young people worldwide about this topic.

Hogan’s endless curiosity about the world has taken her to every continent and to more than seventy-five countries. She received her bachelor's degree from Duke University, went to Egypt on a Fulbright scholarship, where she studied at the American University of Cairo, and obtained an MEd degree in international education policy from Harvard University. Hogan currently lives in San Francisco, but remains a global nomad at heart.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158005434X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580054348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Gibbs on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Many people, especially those inside the system, would rather not question the so-called "helping industry" at all, according to Tori Hogan in this book. Nonetheless, discussion of aid effectiveness is necessary for the sake of those who have been at the mercy of ineffective aid projects.

The book tells the story of the author's quest to find the Somali refugee boy who had caused her to change her career from aid worker to aid critic several years previously when he had challenged her about the effectiveness of aid projects several years previously in the Hagadera camp at Dadaab in Kenya. A sub-plot of the book revolves around the author's on-again off-again romantic entanglement with a Dutch aid worker.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to help a teenager bridge from Twilight to something more serious, this book might be okay. If you already know anything about Africa or the challenges of multi-lateral development, it's probably not worth your while. Full of stereotypes and clichés, it offers a series of poorly-justified personal opinions on people, places and organizations on the ground, and hot-air rants against "the system" without an engagement with how said system could be improved. There is little history, little account of the several layers of intervention (both current and historical) in each of the sites visited, and little sense of anything other than the grumpy opinions of a young privileged American outside of her comfort zone. I'm sure she's a lovely, well intentioned individual, but that's the problem - it doesn't go beyond good intentions after all.
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The author takes us with her through Kenya and Uganda, with searching but generous evaluations of the non-profits she goes to visit and appraise. We also get ringside seats in her roller-coaster love life. Overall, one of the better (of the few) accounts of what the receiving end of humanitarian aid is like.
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Good read. I enjoyed Tori's adventures through Africa as she tenaciously follows her quest to find that one individual who inadvertently changed her life. She elaborates on a single comment by a stranger, made in the most unlikely of circumstances, that results in a months-long search to find and thank him. How many of us have had the courage to follow such a tenuous yet significant thread? Her approach could have been academic but I am happy it was not. Instead the book is a contemplative narrative as she struggles to resolve both personal and professional issues. Throughout the chapters the reader becomes well acquainted with problems facing aid services in Africa. Yet the reader is also introduced to several wonderful people (change agents) who are transforming their communities at the micro level. Thank you Tori.
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The book is about the trip of the writer on her way to find a boy who "opened her eyes" to the reality of the aid organisations. On the trip of the writer the reader hear about several hid projects she have been to and about her love life. In my opinion the book isn't proffesional enough and is a little bit shallow. The writer doesn't go deep enough into the depth of the subject, she describe very shortly the different projects and the way she analyse them doesn't show any deep understanind of the way things works. I also didn't like the "love life" part of the book but I could accept that if the other parts where good enough. Still, this book ilustrate in some way the problem associated with the aid organisations work in Africa and as such it is a blessing. I would suggest to read other books such as "the crisis caravan" (by Lind Polman) as a basis to this subject and then to decide if you want to read this book.
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This was an interesting, thought-provoking book. It would be a VERY useful read for anyone planning to work overseas in any capacity. Tori Hogan's experiences in Africa, particularly, opened her eyes to many problems with aid programs that are meant to help solve problems but in some cases actually exacerbate them. The critique is fairly anecdotal and should be read with an open mind and the awareness that this is a limited view of international aid programs as a whole, but again, it's well done and provides a useful perspective.
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