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Profiting from Poverty: A Discussion with Shirley Buzzard, Ph.D.

The talk will be  Profiting from Poverty. There are at least two types of organizations that profit from the poor:  churches and the U.S. based development organizations.  This will be a presentation based on the speaker's lifetime of international development work.  She will present her thoughts on the trends and be open for discussion for those who have experience or comments.  She recently returned from a trip to Ghana where the exploitation of the poor by the churches was very apparent.  Over the past 25 years, there has been a major paradime shift from organizations working to help the poor rise out of poverty to organizations that use the poor as a marketing gimmick to raise money for their own expansion.  She will also touch on the issue of celebrity foundations and how they fail to help those they claim to serve.



Shirley Buzzard has a Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology, an M.Sc. in Community Development and M.A. in Physical Anthropology and an undergrad degree in Psychology.  She worked in international health programs in over 60 countries world-wide. She worked as a professional consultant in the sectors that most affect women which are health, water and sanitation and small business development. She has worked for USAID, the World Bank, various UN Agencies, and most of the U.S. based private development organizations such as Save the Children, Care and the church organizations such as ADRA (Adventists) and the Salvation Army. She also taught anthropology and development at various universities over 10 years.


There will be snacks to enjoy. This will be more of a discussion with Shirley than a lecture so be prepared to asked questions and get involved!

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  • John W.

    I was fascinated by the topic of how religion, or churches, benefit from poverty. The Christian churches fashion themselves as the champions of the poor. I would like to know how much, especially compared to what they take in.
    "Soup for souls" sounds like they are on a fishing expedition trying to exploit hunger to catch lost fish. Promising to get people into heaven costs churches nothing. It is the free lunch they cannot deliver, but which keeps the people and money pouring in.
    Many of the issues were not about religion. Drug companies were criticized for not promoting the use of condoms. Drug companies have the right to expect returns on their investments. Why should they also have to undercut their sales by promoting condom use? Promoting the use of condoms is an area churches could step into, but they do not. And why not? Don't they care about the health of society?

    September 12, 2013

  • Ev

    Excellent talk and discussion

    September 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    A very interesting group.

    September 12, 2013

  • Steve M

    Fascinating topic and a great discussion with a knowledgable and visionary enabler who has used her education and talent to personally and positively influence much worldly good. Well worth the time and travel. (The part about how privatizing aid allows private corporations to profit well on the misery of others like when pharmaceutical corporations don't promote condom use because AIDS medication sales are so profitable. My mouth was hanging open.)

    September 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Reinforces what I learned about those venomous missionaries at Skepticon IV in Nov 2011... See www.giveadamndoc.com

    1 · September 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry to miss it.....

    September 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Still stuck at the office, won't be able to make it.

    September 11, 2013

  • Renee

    I will be there if I can get away from Fountain early in the afternoon! sounds interesting!

    September 5, 2013

  • Linda R.

    I'm glad to see that another trend is micro-lending.

    August 29, 2013

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