Tag Archives: Help

All that glitters is not gold. The Rusty Radiator Awards have a bitter aftertaste

While campaigns such as the Golden and Rusty Radiator Awards raise awareness of Western development organizations’ unjust views of the global South, they do not go far enough. Critiques of cliche media representation must be coupled with critiques of fundamentally unbalanced power structures. For an analysis of the mentioned awards as well as video clips such as “Who wants to be a volunteer”, see our essay on pambazuka.

Not all that glitters is gold! – Rusty and Golden Radiator Awards leave a bitter aftertaste

Announced today, December 10
SAIH – The Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund
announced the winners of two international awards: the Rusty Radiator Award for the most damaging fundraising video and the Golden Radiator Award for the most creative fundraising video. Much media attention and more than two million clicks on the satirical video “Radi-Aid: Africa for Norway” released a year ago have encouraged SAIH to take new actions. The awards were accompanied by a new video clip “Let’s save Africa! – gone wrong”, in which the young black Michael shows us common patterns in fundraising. He makes Western expectations his profession: “Every time these filmmakers come to us in Africa, I’m the first person they call. I’m incredibly talented. Wait – this is sad Africa.”

The short film successfully problematizes in a satirical way how charity commercials are shot. From reports of filmmakers who have been involved in such shoots, we know how people are literally trained to look sad, women have to take off their jewelry for the shoot, or children have to exchange their school uniforms for dirty rags – sometimes despite the objections and incomprehension of those photographed. It does not make the situation any better that many aid organizations have long since switched to shooting their commercials and posters in Europe and casting Black people and People of Color here for their purposes.

Thanks to the Radiator Awards, the discussion about problematic donation advertising in the run-up to Christmas has also made it into Germany’s leading media. On “Let’s save Africa! – gone wrong”, for example, the Süddeutsche Zeitung has published an article. The racism researcher cited in it, Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard, has her say in a lengthy interview on Deutschlandradio Kultur and comments on the clip as follows:

Continue reading

weltwärts without helping?

The website of the development policy volunteer service weltwärts has been completely redesigned. Not only has the layout changed, but a realignment in terms of content has also been announced. In the follow-up process of the evaluation, it was decided to delete the much-criticized slogan “Learning by actively helping” without replacement. From now on, Weltwärts sees itself as a learning service rather than an aid service.

The first glance at the new homepage makes it clear that the helping discourse is still very much present: if no longer in the slogan, then almost more prominently in the interactive banner that dominates the home page, but also all the subpages. Individual actors of the program have their say here and almost everywhere there are formulations that describe an active, helping role of weltwärts volunteers in their host countries:

Corinna W., Bolivia: “In Bolivia I learn many things for my life that I would not learn at university. I’m doing something meaningful and discovering a different culture at the same time, so I don’t regret my decision at any moment.”

Stefan Beutel, Managing Director of DRK Soziale Freiwilligendienste Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: “I am thrilled about weltwärts! The volunteers support the outreach projects and also learn a lot about the culture and people of the outreach country.”

Lourdes Jibaja, Asociacion Cultural Estrella del Sur, Peru: “Volunteers are making a difference in the remote communities we work with that have been neglected by the state.”

Andrea P., volunteer seminar leader: “We are one of the oldest volunteer service organizations in Togo and are committed to intercultural exchange between local communities and weltwärts volunteers to promote sustainable development.”

Gerónimo Vera, Asosiacón de Usuarios de Manglar Cerrito de los Morreños: “In the Gulf of Guayaquil, we jointly implement projects for better health care, waste disposal or drinking water treatment.”