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'Saving the Children'

December 24, 1987

Patti Petesch and Sheldon Annis raised some provocative questions in their article on "Debt-for-Development Plan Is No Gift for Third World" (Op-Ed Page, Dec. 9), but their purist stance pales before the high infant mortality, hunger, poverty and environmental degradation that plagues most of the debtor nations. It is these problems as much as the debt that saps their strength and prevents them from realizing their potential.

And, it is these problems that private voluntary organizations like CARE work to resolve in partnership with the respective Third World governments and indigenous non-governmental organizations. It is only through this kind of partnership, where everyone has a stake in its outcome, that a project will successfully contribute toward the development of a country and its people. And I suspect that this is exactly what the U.S. banks want to achieve with their donations.

Petesch and Annis also miss the main point, which is that the countries involved recognize their obligation to repay their debt and that by entering into an arrangement with a creditor bank and a development organization, they are alleviating a small portion of their debt and thereby establishing themselves on a firmer footing within the international economic community.

ELIZABETH S. EISENBERG

Assistant Director

CARE

Los Angeles

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