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Oxfam Challenges Negative African Stereotypes

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Starving child covered in flies

Starving child covered in flies

It appears a lot of people are as sick to death as I am of the World Vision and Tear Fund TV ads featuring starving, fly-infested African children.

The The International Business Times has an interesting article about a study the international aid organization Oxfam released yesterday revealing charitable donations for Africa have been hurt by the “depressing, manipulative and hopeless” TV images used in fundraising efforts.

In a survey of more than 2,000 British residents, three-fifths indicated that constant images of hunger, drought, deprivation and disease in Africa have left them desensitized and apathetic. While almost three-quarters believed it was possible to end hunger in Africa, only one-fifth though they could play some role in bringing it about.

According to Oxfam executive director Dame Barbara Stocking, “The relentless focus on ongoing problems, at the expense of a more nuanced portrait of the continent, is obscuring the progress that is being made toward a more secure and prosperous future. If we want people to help fight hunger, we have to give them grounds for hope by showing the potential of countries across Africa; it’s a natural instinct to turn away from suffering when you feel you can do nothing to alleviate it.”

The IBT quotes a comment on the BBC website, which pretty much sums up my feelings: “Africa and the third world doesn’t need aid. It just needs rich people in the West to pay a fair price for its agricultural produce and stop living on the backs of the child workers who make all the cheap clothes sold on the high street. Africa’s population doesn’t threaten the planet, it’s people in the West who are using up all the world’s resources to support their unsustainable lifestyle.”

I myself might go a little further and talk about the disgraceful role the US has played in fanning political instability and regional conflict in Africa, particularly in countries with oil and other important resources. On Christmas Eve, the Obama administration announced they are deploying troops to 35 African countries in 2013.

Cross posted at The Most Revolutionary Act.

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Submitted by stuartbramhall on

the Oakland Institute talks about (in The Great Land Grab) that are driving Africans off their land to set up massive corporate farms.

Submitted by lambert on

There's a phrase for this, which I can't recall -- not "celebrity animal," not "glamour animal" -- but an organization will fund-raise for an animal-based vertical project at the expense of taking a systemic view.