There is a lot of debate and discussion in the academic community and the professional aid industry regarding the effectiveness of programs and policies in developing parts of the world. There are college degrees offered in the subject. There are countless jobs related to delivering services and implementing projects to alleviate poverty. There are books published every year that detail danger, death, destruction, and disease in Africa.
I was encouraged by many people to start my own charity because of my experiences and interest in Africa. That never seemed like the right thing to do in my particular situation. I didn’t even have the emotional response to become an activist fighting for the rights of those that appear to be less fortunate than myself.
There has been an explosion of non-profits and charities who are active in Africa. I’ve done research and tried to learn as much as possible about what many of these organizations are doing in Africa. They all have some things in common. They have good intentions. They want to alleviate suffering. They have to beg for donor money.
I’ve encountered many idealistic students and young adults who want to get involved. Most of them may never have the opportunity to travel to Africa. The majority of them will put their trust in people who appear to be more knowledgeable about the multitude of issues in Africa. They want to do something that makes a difference. They want to do anything that has an impact.
I found that there is a spectrum of responses to the challenges in Africa. They range from the intellectual to the emotional. The challenges cannot be overcome by pure intellect and they can’t be solved by pure emotion. There is a fine balance between the head and the heart when addressing these serious issues. My experiences have revealed an effective way to have an impact. Build sincere relationships with Africans. That’s it.
This is a satirical look at the challenges of the professional aid industry with idealistic activists with good intentions.
Video credit: Global Poverty Project