The Rusty Radiator Awards highlight the dim, patronizing worldviews of some international aid organizations.
Image courtesy of the Rusty Radiator Awards
If you are a human on earth, chances are you regularly come across ads for international charities featuring sad, starving African children with flies in their eyes being ministered to by saintly foreign volunteers. Such images of a benighted continent whimpering for salvation from the beneficent West have been around (often unchanged) for decades—in part because they work. These calls to action inspire millions to give a few cents a day, contributing to necessary relief efforts and inefficient, dependency-building aid programs alike. Yet, no matter how effective you might argue these ads are, they’re troubling as well. Instead of showcasing African promise and ingenuity, or helping local partners overcome the hangover of colonialism’s centuries of systematic abuse, they encourage a pervasive, bleak, and demeaning view of multitudinous cultures as incapable, indigent, and eternally invalid.