Today I read a journal article Development Made Sexy: how it happened and what it means written by Cameron and Haanstra (2008). The article argues that the way in which NGOs represent the global South and development are hugely important in the construction of social power relations between people in the global North and the global South.
The ‘pornography of poverty’ approach has dominated fundraising communications for decades, and to some extent still does. I have interviewed several large NGOs in the UK and many confess to wanting to change their narratives, but are nervous due to clear management data that proves ‘poverty porn’ still works when it comes to donations. The article critiques a seemingly new form of ‘sexy development communication’ with some obvious negative impacts such as objectification, exploitation and oversimplification.
What are the downfalls of both these strategies in raising public awareness of development issues in the North? The paper doesn’t really offer a solution, but suggests in it’s conclusion that an alternative approach could be humour, which has been recently used in successful campaigns such as Greenpeace’s Mr Splashy Pants.
I’ve recently written a lot about video and today took part in the shortlisting panel for a new video award from Africa for Norway. Inspired by the article and shortlisting process I decided to share (in no particular order) some of my favourite ‘funny development videos’ .
Ricky Gervais – Comic Relief
TIMS – A Revolutionary One-to-One Campaign
Africa for Norway – Radi-Aid
Jessie J -Uganda LipDub
WaterAid – Remote Control Poo
UNICEF – Norway
James Corden and Rankin
Rainforest Alliance – Follow the Frog
Let’s Save Africa! – Gone Wrong
No Woman, No Drive
Concern – Rudolph vs Donkey
Water Aid – This World Toilet Day Sing
I want a Goat