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Around the world, non-governmental organisations have filled the needs that governments could not - or would not - fill.

That has earned many of them respect for providing aid and sounding the alarm bells when needed. But are there times when aid actually hurts the recipients more than it helps them?

Before the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January, the Caribbean nation was often nicknamed, "The Republic of NGOs," because of the 3,000-plus non-profits existing there.

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Additionally, the country received billions of dollars in foreign aid before the earthquake; yet, the vast majority of Haitians lived on less than two dollars per day.

Does the vast industry of aid increase dependency and undermine self-reliance? Does it encourage misguided policies, instead of forcing governments to make much-needed reforms?

On Wednesday, Riz speaks with Linda Polman, a journalist and the author of War Games: The Story of War and Aid in Modern Times. In the book, Polman discusses her first-hand experience witnessing the haunting realities of aid agencies in war-torn countries.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera