Financiers of poverty, malnutrition and death – Part 1

Private ‘philanthropic’ foundations join government agencies in funding anti-technology NGOs

Paul Driessen

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, anti-development banks, the Agency for International Development (USAID), NGO (non-government organization) pressure groups and other eco-imperialists are properly condemned for using their money, power, and control over trade and lending to keep millions of African, Asian and Latin American families from having access to reliable, affordable energy, pesticides and spatial insect repellants to prevent disease, and modern agricultural technologies.

Those outfits perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death. Yet the eco-manslaughter continues.

Too many US, EU and UN government agencies have been captured by neo-colonialist elements in their leadership and ranks, and among the politicians who set their budgets and programs. The NGOs enjoy tax-exempt status and global prestige, because the human and environmental costs of their policies rarely receive more than superficial scrutiny by media, human rights or other “watchdogs.”

But the fact is, few NGOs would even exist without the wealthy foundations that finance them. Indeed, “philanthropic” foundation support for radical environmentalist groups and campaigns is one of the best kept secrets of modern society. It’s time to spotlight some of them and call them to account.

Wealthy foundations – often created with profits and fortunes made in industry and technology – directly and indirectly support some of the most radical anti-energy, anti-technology and agro-ecology activism in America, Europe and the world. Their wealth, direct and indirect aid mechanisms, and inter-locking global network of funders, managers and advisors make them a powerful, callous, oppressive force.

They use direct donations and a growing number of clever non-transparent pass-through operations (funds of funds, or foundations of foundations) to consolidate money from multiple donors and direct “charitable giving” to organizations and projects that support their ideologies and causes. The system also helps insulate the foundations – and their patrons and managers – from direct association with the most questionable, controversial, and often thuggish and lethal organizations and activists.

The funding, in turn, enables the organizations and activists to paint themselves as legitimate, benevolent and popular voices worthy of attention in global and domestic debates over laws, policies and regulations.

They have become especially effective in blocking the use of modern, innovative farm technologies like improved pesticides, GM crops (genetically modified, engineered through biotechnology) – and even fertilizers, tractors and hybrid seeds – under the auspices of what they cleverly call “agro-ecology.” 

A big part of the problem is that the World Bank, EU agencies and Euro foundations demand and support primitive subsistence farming, and block food imports from countries that permit biotech farming. The World Bank’s Global Environment Facility and various European donors support groups like the Route to Food Initiative, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, and Resources Oriented Development Initiatives of Kenya. In fact, virtually every African country is beset by their “benevolence,” as are India and other countries in Asia and Latin America.

All of them promote the supposed benefits of organic farming that bans the use of “dangerous, poisonous” manmade pesticides – but permits the use in “organic” farming of “natural” pesticides and other chemicals that are also toxic and dangerous to humans, wildlife, fish and beneficial insects. They stridently oppose all biotech crops – including life-saving Golden Rice – and have been pressuring Kenyan and other African governments to ban more than 200 pesticides that have been approved as safe in many other countries. Many of the groups even oppose mechanized equipment like tractors.

Among the EU funders are BioVision, the Danish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. They even support newspapers like Britain’s Guardian, which is often little more than another NGO that runs and supports anti-technology campaigns and seeks donations from readers and major funding from foundations in exchange for stories.

Self-proclaimed “philanthropic, charitable” US foundations are just as guilty. They probably provide far more significant than EU funding, but their secretive networks make that hard to ascertain. Foundation support for the agro-ecology Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa helps illustrate how all this works.

AFSA is a pan-African alliance of organizations committed to “resisting” the “corporate industrialization” of African agriculture. It claims the use of modern agricultural technologies like pesticides for crop protection, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified crops for drought and insect resistance and higher yields will result in “massive land grabs, destruction of indigenous biodiversity and ecosystems, displacement of indigenous peoples … and the destruction of their livelihoods and cultures.”

AFSA’s core members include activist pressure groups that espouse an even broader variety of anti-capitalist, anti-technology, radical environmentalist goals and philosophies. Among the more notable and notorious ones are The African Biodiversity Network, African Center for Biodiversity, GroundSwell International, Friends of the Earth (FOE), and La Via Campensina Africa. These organizations work together to plan and support pro-organic, anti-biotech campaigns, and provide financial management and expertise in furthering AFSA principles. Letting them retain tax-exempt status is a travesty.

Core member La Via Campensina Africa (The Peasant Way – Africa), for example, is a radical, proponent of anti-technology agro-ecology. It rejects modern farming technologies: crop protection pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers for nutrient-depleted soils, and even biotech replacements for bananas, cassava and other crops that have been all but destroyed by viruses and diseases. It also advocates an anti-free market program of peasant-centric subsistence agriculture that largely limits farmers to backbreaking organic agricultural farming methods, and selling to local markets.

Agro-ecology farmers are largely limited to those local markets, in part because they cannot raise enough crops for export to wider markets like Europe – while other produce is blocked because many EU nations ban the import of crops that are so much as tainted by glyphosate, neonicotinoids or biotech pollen.

The US-based AgroEcology Fund (AEF) helped to launch and continues to support the AFSA. It acts as a pass-through fund of funds to hide sources, and helps to coordinate, direct and manage giving to outfits like AFSA. The AEF also partners with AFSA and other organizations such as the Center for Food Safety (CFS), to battle “the industrial model” and promote organic farming.

The AgroEcology Fund directly gave the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa in 2015 $200,000 and has given it some $500,000 overall (and possibly more via clandestine means). That may not sound like much, but such funds pay for 10-100 times more hourly wages and activism in Africa than they would in USA. In 2017, the AEF and AFSA worked together on a campaign to prevent biotech seed patent protections laws from being enforced in Africa.

The AEF was created by three wealthy American foundations, the Christensen Fund, the New Fields Foundation, the Swift Foundation and a donor who remains unknown. AEF programs and funding are overseen by New Venture Fund, which was created to help “philanthropists” better direct funds to projects and programs in line with their neo-colonialist goals; the NVF is managed by Arabella Advisors.

Ironically and perversely, the foundations that funded AEF’s creation are rooted in money generated in innovation, industry and technology. Now AEF and its foundation backers battle agricultural innovation and keep African farmers mired in farming practices that can feed few people, and can successfully battle few crop-devouring insect pests, much less protect crops against recurrent locust plagues.

Equally perverse, rich countries have abundant food – traditional, modern and organic. Meanwhile, poor countries are saddled with barely enough food, no safety net for all those times when droughts or insects destroy crops, and diktats from ultra-wealthy foundations and pressure groups that tell farmers they should be happy to engage in dawn-to-dusk subsistence farming, ox-drawn plowing, stoop labor, banging on metal pans to drive the locust hordes away, and living on the verge of starvation.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues. Part 2 of this article will address how these funds operate, and how they lock Africa in poverty and malnutrition.

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Bryan A
April 22, 2020 10:17 am

If they DON’T “Keep Them Down” whose backs will the entitled have to stand upon when the seas rise

April 22, 2020 10:30 am

I have an invention (FWERF) which can revolutionize the poverty stricken regions living standards, deriving energy from indigenous RDF (manage all wastes included) plus thousands of tonnes of clean water daily, without environmental pollution. FWERF is flexible, ultra-low capex and opex cost and can be working at cation in 12 months, from today, for 30+ years. All technology approved internationally. Financially tested.
In 1979 I invented a device which has, to this day, revolutionized the gas/oil industries.
It’s innovation, which is what we need urgently to reverse years of keeping much of the world in deliberate and abject poverty. Change poverty and basic sanitation, irrigate the land, educate and encourage, and we can, so easily, begin to change the world. This is the ‘right time’, and we are in the ‘right place’. We,all, have everything to gain.
Call me anytime

April 22, 2020 10:34 am

When you can afford to hire the best attorneys, that can get you out of almost any situation…
Always remember, they get paid no matter the outcome.

Andre Lauzon
April 22, 2020 10:56 am

Yes, money flows Fund to Fund, foundation to foundation but there is always a return to the politicos in one way or another. In Canada the Liberals have legislated that charitable foundations can be politically engaged. What foundations do you think gets the money????

Now it is also a big business paying 6 figure salaries plus a multitude of benefits. How many lobbyist do they employ?

Reply to  Andre Lauzon
April 22, 2020 5:53 pm

I’m most troubled by the fact that even when the unelected, unaccountable ‘guerilla” enviro pressure groups (eg Tides, Suzuki, etc etc) are exposed by concerned investigative journalists, the ‘captured’ msm shrugs their collective shoulders.

I wonder in this day and age, would Woodward-Bernstein’s editors have been so diligent about Hilary Clinton’s capers as they were about Tricky Dicky?
Methinks the chiefs of the WaPo of today would go – “that’s good fellers, but what have you got for us about Trump?”

April 22, 2020 11:05 am

Normally I provide links with my comments if only to satisfy myself that I’m being at least semi-reasonable.

When I try to research the difference between Western NGOs and the Chinese in Africa, I’m baffled. There are lots of stories but I seriously suspect that many/most/all of them are just propaganda. Not only that but I’m having trouble finding dispassionate African voices that I don’t suspect are a front for some corrupt regime.

Adam Gallon
Reply to  commieBob
April 22, 2020 2:13 pm

Well, try & find a regime in Africa, that isn’t corrupt.

Mark Kaiser
Reply to  Adam Gallon
April 22, 2020 7:59 pm


john harmsworth
April 22, 2020 11:21 am

it has always been the policy of Canada and many other Western countries to donate assistance directly to the government of theses afflicted countries. Then the national government distributes it to whatever clients and projects it decides. The idea of this is that if the money comes from the government it strengthens the government and allows them to have a structure in place to manage. The downside is that much of the money gets diverted, misplaced and outright stolen. While I understand the objectives of method #1, as a taxpayer, I don’t give my money away so the corruption can be optimized. I’m wanting to see a school or hospital built ( and operated). Better yet, I’d like to see an industry established and people employed. This would require a functioning legal system, an effective tax policy and some working infrastructure. The governments who manage our aid money don’t actually understand any of these economic basics, but they have money to give away and headlines to make. So the giveaway takes place, schools get built poorly, if at all and sit empty for lack of the money to equip them and hire teachers. That’s how the system-works?

Reply to  john harmsworth
April 22, 2020 12:44 pm

I thought Haiti would be a good example to illustrate what you’re talking about. Imagine my surprise when I found evidence that NGOs are actually a worse problem than the corrupt Haitian government. link This is one of those days I feel like Sgt. Schultz.

Curious George
Reply to  john harmsworth
April 22, 2020 2:04 pm

Does this apply to Puerto Rico?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Curious George
April 25, 2020 3:30 pm

It applies to Puerto Rico in spades, as well as the United States under Barack Obama. With clear intent, he sought to “fundamentally transform” the United States from a constitutional republic in which the individual is sovereign (unique in world history) into a banana republic – a dime a dozen in the undeveloped world.

April 22, 2020 12:20 pm

If you want to solve poverty, you need groups like Heifers International where each community is studied so you know what it’s lacking and you provide that. It could be as simple as goats, chickens, seed, micro loans or maybe capture system to get cooking gas off animal waste. One size fits all programs are wasteful and unfortunately can do more harm than good.

In addition, Heifer’s international requires you pass the help on. When your goats or chickens reproduce, you give some of the offspring to a neighbor. This multiplies the effect of the aid so one dollar can do the work of many.

Martin Cropp
April 22, 2020 1:00 pm

A timely article Paul, but old news really. It’s been happening for many years, and not limited to those you identified.
Here is an interesting article on similar practices currently.

April 22, 2020 5:53 pm

“The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, anti-development banks, the Agency for International Development (USAID), NGO (non-government organization) pressure groups and other eco-imperialists are properly condemned for using their money, power, and control over trade and lending to keep millions of African, Asian and Latin American families from having access to reliable, affordable energy, pesticides and spatial insect repellants to prevent disease, and modern agricultural technologies.”

This is because they are all UN agencies governed from the top by Antonio Guterres, the climate guy. Four links below …. (sorry)

April 22, 2020 7:21 pm

Many of the agricultural aid projects disproportionally benefit the project personnel. I retired from agro-industry & had been offered roles in some international ag projects. Often the majority of paid project staff was from some insider’s network & there is also a lucrative art to writing successful proposals. One of the recruiter’s bargaining chips for enticement always seemed to be how recent a year the air conditioned motor vehicle issued staff would be.

April 22, 2020 9:32 pm

By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., April 14, 2019

“In the 20th Century, socialists Stalin, Hitler and Mao caused the deaths of over 200 million people, mostly their own citizens. Lesser killers like Pol Pot and the many tin-pot dictators of South America and Africa killed and destroyed the lives of many more.

Modern Green Death probably started with the 1972-2002 effective ban of DDT, which caused global deaths from malaria to increase from about 1 million to almost two million per year. Most of these deaths were children under five in sub-Saharan Africa – just babies for Christ’s sake!”
– February 1, 2019

“…radical greens (really radical leftists) are the great killers of our time. Now the greens are blinding and killing babies by opposing golden rice…” – March 10, 2019

“The Green movement is really a smokescreen for the old Marxists – and they are the great killers of our age.” – March 11, 2019

Flight Level
April 23, 2020 2:34 am

Those with more than enough of everything needed for living seem to have two main goals:

-Depopulation “there” to quench the migratory flow sources
-Depopulation “here” to make space for the migrants driven by poverty and violence.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Flight Level
April 25, 2020 8:40 am

In Canada we have “progressive “ parties and politicians that believe we have no right to limit immigration because “we have it so good”


April 23, 2020 3:14 am

I get the impression that Africans are lucky that China is ready and willing , with its various initiatives based on traditional science and enginering methods, to rescue that continent from the Liberal West whose desire is to see that its occupants remain permanently in a “state of nature”.

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