Cody Switzer at the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on this funny video done by an aid worker fed up with how Hollywood — and many philanthropies — promotes harmful stereotypes of Africa and African men especially.
“We shoot our machine guns from trucks … We hate smiling. Smiling is stupid.”
Nyla Rodgers is one charity official who is fed up with the way nonprofits represent Africa. Too often she sees depictions of AIDS, warfare, famine, hopelessness, desperation, and dependence on a Western hero. That kind of concern came to the surface when she saw the “Kony 2012” campaign by the advocacy group Invisible Children.
“When I saw the Kony campaign, it made me so mad,” says Ms. Rodgers, founding director of Mama Hope, a San Francisco charity that works in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to start farms and build schools, health centers, and other facilities that strengthen communities.
In a somewhat related vein, Laurie Lee, deputy director of external relations in Europe for the Gates Foundation writes on the philanthropy’s Impatient Optimists blog about how violence and political instability is actually on the decline in Africa:
A downward trend in violent conflict over the last decade on its own might be too early to cheer about. It has not been irreversible in every country. But combined with positive trends in the last decade on democracy, economic growth and improvements in health and education, we can feel more confident that the progress made in Africa at the start of the 21st Century will be sustained and will continue.