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Harvard Crimson

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Prompt: 2. Is it more important to help locally or globally?


During the Pandemic in which we live, some young people made a project in Rocinha - Rio de Janeiro`s biggest favela - to conscientize the population on what to do to prevent infections. In partnership with a journal called Voz da Comunidade, which translates into Voice of the Community, they have created a way where people can easily access all the information, whenever they want. These actions definitely translated while fighting the pandemic locally, and then globally. Following the same logic, once you help locally, you end up helping globally.


According to Milton Santos, a very renowned Brazilian geographer, the world and the place are linked together in an unbreakable relation. You can see it in the United Nations plans for 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are based on the principle that different areas have specific priorities. For instance, New York city has different challenges than a town in the middle of Bolivia has. But the action of both makes a global effect. This unbreakable relation can also be seen in the Suez channel clog that happened a few days ago. Due to a failed action that happened locally, the whole world impacted from lack of supplies and oil prices going up.


In a more sensible way, when you help locally you can see the impact of your aid much clearer than globally. To illustrate it, when you donate to a charity that helps the poor in your city, you can see the impact on their lifestyle. Moreover, when you consume from a local establishment, you are aiding the regional employment. Those make a more palpable way of knowing the effect of your support. On the other hand, when helping globally, it is harder to see the impact of your initiative. However, local help has a higher chance of failing than globally, since they demand constant support, while global NGOs have a higher financial backing.


In less developed nations, such as Brazil, we should always seek to help locally. When doing so, we are helping our nation to give more to those that are in a vulnerable situation. But, we should always seek for the implantation and fiscalization of public policies to overcome it. In a country that gives less opportunity to those which have less resources to do so, only the help of citizens does not cut it. In this case, helping globally is almost out of question since you see a lot of suffering outside your windows to not justify doing it locally. Nevertheless, you can seek inspiration around the world to help in your region.

Helping is always good, local or global. However, when you do it locally, the whole world is going to see the effects of it. The choice of doing it or not should be based on your preference, resources, complexity of the problem and the situation you are in. Nonetheless, regional help makes you see the effects much clearer, in a closer way.