Survivor: USAID edition

The murky complex world of development aid works in strange ways. But a reality TV show to identify a country’s future leaders? Funded by USAID?

The makers of “Hunt for Youth Leaders” received a US government grant last year for a show that would allow young people in the troubled South Asian country [to be revealed shortly] to develop leadership skills.

I would love to read the proposal for that grant. Want to bet that it contained the magic word–“empowerment” (as well as “engagement” and “entertainment”)? Anyway, this ambitious attempt at social engineering came to an abrupt end when Chemonics International, under contract with USAID to fund the program,

announce[d] that it is cancelling funding… after determining that contestants’ scores were manipulated

So, USAID (indirectly?) funds a reality show to aid the personal/professional development of future leaders in a country undergoing political (and possibly social) transformation. And that program is suspended, due to vote-rigging? I should find something in there funny, but I don’t know what part to make fun of, or even how. As if there are not enough bad ideas in development aid already.

Please post if you managed to catch an episode? Youtube links, anyone?


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