International aid is a contentious issue. Between the efforts of NGOs and the at times heavy handed influence of developed nations, the realm of aid and relief work is usually a jumbled mess. Progress tends to be iffy, metrics for tracking development skewed, and consistency in methodology and follow-through shoddy at best.
This TED Talk is one of my favorites. My senior year Economics teacher presented it to the class during our development studies and used it as a launching point for the Sachs vs. Easterly debate in development economics (give this a Google search if you have never heard of these guys). Ernesto Sirolli provides a compelling thesis for the reasons behind the failure of much of the developed world's aid work in LDCs. He suggests that rather than coming onto the scene with a predisposed idea of what might be the most effective aspect of life to target, the true potential for success in development comes in true cooperation with those in need. A welcoming ear seems to outdo deep pockets when we look toward true progress.