In today’s Salon, I write about some of the lessons gleaned on the importance of African self-reliance contained in Helen Epstein’s landmark book on AIDS in Africa. “Western do-gooders may want to help Africa stop the AIDS epidemic,” Salon’s editors write in the lead-in to my piece. “But Helen Epstein’s new book shows the most effective solutions are often the continent’s own.” After reading the piece, my friend Tom Higgins notes sagely: “You have to marvel at the stubborn resistance to simple lessons.” Donors aren’t likely to embrace the grassroots any time soon, either, because of the inherent logic of foreign assistance and international philanthropy.
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