L’aide humanitaire a aussi des comptes à rendre

Supposons que vous soyez  préoccupés par le sort d’enfants en Afrique qui succombent à des maladies pourtant guérissables. Vous souhaitez donner de l’argent à une œuvre de bienfaisance qui tente de réduire le nombre de victimes. Mais les associations caritatives sont légion. Laquelle choisir ?

La première question que pose la majorité des donateurs est : « Quelle est la part allouée aux frais administratifs ? ». Aux Etats-Unis, ce chiffre est aisément consultable sur Charity Navigator, un site web qui a reçu quelques cinq millions de visites. Mais ces informations sont compilées à partir de formulaires que les associations remplissent elles-mêmes, pour le fisc. Personne ne les vérifie, et les proportions allouées d’une part aux frais administratif, et de l’autre aux projets mêmes sont aisément manipulées avec un peu de comptabilité créative.

Pire encore, même si les informations sont exactes, elles ne vous renseignent en rien sur l’efficacité de l’association. La volonté de réduire les frais administratifs peut rendre une association moins efficace. Si, par exemple, une agence travaillant à réduire la pauvreté en Afrique doit limiter le nombre de personnel qualifié qu’elle emploie, elle a plus de chance de financer des projets qui n’atteindront pas leur but. Elle peut même ne pas savoir quels sont les projets qui échouent, parce que pour les évaluer et en tirer des leçons, il faut du personnel – ce qui alourdit d’autant les frais administratifs.

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