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Oxfam charity: negative Africa image harming aid effort
December 26 , 2012

Associating Africa with images of malnourished children and poverty-stricken war-torn areas is not new. What is new is that these images no longer stimulate enough compassion, at least, so says international aid agency, Oxfam.

This claim is based on the result of a recent survey, ”of public attitudes commissioned in support of the charity’s new Food for Alladvertising campaign that launches today.

When asked to select what they thought were the three most pressing problems facing Africa in 2013, almost half (47%) of more than 2,000 people surveyed by YouGov identified hunger. Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) of respondents thought it was ultimately possible to bring an end to hunger across the continent, but only 1 in 5 believed they could play an active role in solving the problem in Africa and elsewhere.

The survey suggests over-exposure to negative media and advertising portrayals of Africa and developing countries in other parts of the world may be contributing to this sense of disempowerment. 

Respondents described this portrayal as ‘depressing, manipulative and hopeless’, with 43% of respondents saying it made them feel that conditions for people living in the developing world would never improve. Three out of five of those polled said they were or had become desensitised to images depicting issues such as hunger, drought and disease and almost 1 in 4 (23%) admitted they turned away when confronted by such images.”

The report can be found here:  http://www.oxfamblogs.org/eastafrica/?p=5572

 
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Hassan      Reply     2014-06-22 08:12:33     

Matt, I very much appreciate your ttguohhs, your perspective, and your passion. For me, the issue was and is not so much about whether this past GA focused on justice And no, I didn’t attend, because I was not about to feed any of my money or energy to that black hole called Arizona. I’m an activist and, like you, felt I had plenty of ways to change the world without compromising my values and feeding that which I would rather see starve. But aside from those personal values and concerns, I’m not so sure it would matter what GA or the UUA focused on as long as we have no clear identity as a religious movement. I have been a UU for nearly 30 years, and from the very beginning I noticed we didn’t seem to know who we were. We knew who and what we were not pretty clearly, and many of us became UUs so they could have a religion without the kind of dogma they found repulsive. In other words, they were rebelling they were going away from something, not toward something. I suspect that’s still true, and I suspect that lack of identity is why there are so many hyphenated UUs.What disturbed me the most about the Justice GA other than way it seemed to play on the emotions of those present more than center them in their shared values was the dependence on our partners that I heard repeated like a constant refrain. Whenever a question was raised about why we were, or should be, doing something, the response was often because our partners asked us to. There was a codependent strand running through the entire process, and I found that disturbing. It was the kind of response you might expect to hear from someone who has no clear identity of their own or appropriate boundaries. What I heard and saw happening was not a values-centered religious response, but the response of a group that was desperately trying to find meaning. The newly minted UU College of Social Justice certainly seems like part of that to me. Are we defining ourselves as the social justice religion now? Are we trying to fill the void left by certain conservative Christian denominations? Have we simply been so flattered by the attention and partners we’ve gotten from taking this direction that in the absence of our own strong, clear identity we are allowing ourselves to be co-opted?Another hint about what’s going on was, for me, the pervasive negativity and reactivity I heard even in the usually inspirational Ware Lecture! Where was the vision?Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying to find meaning! But how do you do that if you don’t know who you are? Perhaps we’re in the midst of an identity crisis. If so, that’s can be good thing, but only if we use this time to ponder and discover who we are as a religious movement not if we allow others to define us and/or continue to define ourselves as over and against. I’m going to stop here because I could go on for a lot longer and this post seems to have taken on a life of its own Thanks again for your ttguohhs and your passionate commitment.


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