Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Dead Aid

Posted: December 13, 2010 by brfrese in Africa, Charity, Education, Poverty

Hey everyone! I know I have talked about Dead Aid this semester, but I haven’t really gotten into it too much. So, I thought now might be a good time to do so.

Dead Aid is a book that was written by an extremely intelligent woman — Dambisa Moyo. She completed her undergraduate at American University, got her MBA in Finance at America, a Masters  from Harvard and a Doctorate from Oxford. Wow. Additionally, she worked for Goldman Sachs for 10 years prior to writing her New York Times Bestesller — when she talks, she knows what she is saying.

 

 

She is particularly critical about aid to Africa, she believes it creates a cycle of dependency that leaves Africa no better off than it was before foreign nations (or in our case celebrities) got involved. Did you know that nations in Africa have received over 1 Trillion Dollars in the past 50 years? How much better off is Africa because of it? Think about what that level of economic involvement could do to a developing country that needs to establish its own infrastructures!

 

So,  I just wanted to give you a little more background on who Dambisa Moyo was. She is extremely educated in her field and I trust her opinion as an international economist because well, she is one. If anyone is interested you can purchase her book, or maybe find it at a library and read up on the effects we truly have in Africa.

Necklaces for Invisible Children

Posted: December 13, 2010 by akl5086 in Africa, Charity, Children

In light of her recent trip to Uganda, celeb Kristen Bell designed a necklace in which she asks for $45 donations for Invisible Children, a charity dedicated to preventing the abduction of children and creation of child-soldiers.

A large rebel force led by Joseph Kony in Uganda has been abducting children since 1986 and has thus far abducted over 30,000 children.

The donations will go to building new schools and provide education to the area’s war-effected children. Bell claims that her good friend runs the charity and made a point to say that the donations are going to a good place and are being used wisely.

Do you think Bell makes a point to say this because she understands how much people now a days question celebrity involvement with philanthropy?

What are your thoughts?!

 

 

They’re Backkkk….

Posted: December 8, 2010 by akl5086 in Africa, AIDs, Uncategorized

That’s right fans, your favorite celebs are back in the game. After one week of abstaining from using their social-networking accounts, celebs are logging back on to let fans know they are “alive!”

A single donation of $500,000 from pharmaceutical entrepreneur Stewart Rahr to the digital death AIDS campaign led by recording artist Alicia Keys on Monday, Dec. 6 marked the return of many popular celebs to the world of social media.

The donation was the grand finale to the AIDS campaign, which kicked off on World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.  

The campaign was anticipated to be much more successful than it proved to be and furthermore generated much criticism. Although celebs reached an outward of millions of people across the nation, they were only able to convince 50,000 fans to donate the minimum of $10 for the cause, making up the other half of the $1 million total.

Leigh Blake, co-founder of the charity Keep A Child Alive, said she never expected to raise the money overnight. She was actually blown away that they were able to raise that much in one week.

If this is true, however, why has the campaign received so much criticism?

If Blake was impressed with the “short length” of the campaign why have gossip sites made the campaign into a joke?

What do you think?

Affleck vs Kristof — who’s better?

Posted: December 6, 2010 by brfrese in Abuse, Africa, Celebrity, Independence, War

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about Ben Affleck and his involvement with the UN Refugee Agency (the UNHCR) and their campaign to bring shelter to refugees. He is particularly involved in the Congo, and his methods involve using his celebrity  as a means to granting unheard individuals a voice. Let me give you a quick refresher on what he does —

In our Comm 410 class, we have learned about a man named Nicholas Kristof who is a reporter for the New York Times. His articles and videos are created in the same manner as the ones I previously posted about Ben Affleck — they pick and individual to learn about their story. Kristof is notorious for doing many, many interviews, but picking the best individual, true story and using that to create his messages. He feels that the American people attach to one person, one story, better than they do to groups of people (we are desensitized).  Here are a few pieces of his work:

And an article here.

So, seeing as how Kristof would be categorized as a popular and effective writer, yet not a celebrity, I am curious as to how you feel. Which member of our society, who focuses on an individual to tell their story and offer them a voice, is more effective? Granted they have used different mediums (Affleck his fame and a TV appearance on ABC, and Kristof his educated and informed following through the New York Times), but I still feel their methods are similar. If I had to pick who I think has the greater impact, it would be Kristof. I pick him because he is more consistent with his involvement (yes, I know it is his job, but that makes  his work more legitimate), and consistency yields results.

However, I want to know what you think, so fill out the poll below!

Determined or Destined for Failure?

Posted: December 6, 2010 by akl5086 in Africa, AIDs, Children, Uncategorized

As of Sunday night, the total amount raised for Alicia Keys‘ “Digital Death” Campaign was roughly $296,000. Now, five days into the campaign, celebs must be facing withdrawal.

I think the fact that donations haven’t been rolling in like they were expected to and the fact that celebs are still going relatively strong with the campaign shows determination, but what do you think?

Share your opinions or vote here!

Still “Dead”

Posted: December 4, 2010 by akl5086 in Africa, AIDs, Charity, Children

It has been four days since Alicia Keys’ digital death campaign for her charity Keep A Child Alive began. The campaign involved popular celebrities signing off their Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts until $1 million was raised to help those affected by AIDS in Africa and India. As of Friday evening, the campaign was shy of its total by $799,326. It has thus far generated an average of $66,891 per day.

So four days into the campaign celebs are still “dead.” However, this is not quite the case for all of them. Twitter updates about the campaign have been posted to celeb accounts including Keys, Swizz Beats, Khloe Kardashian, Jay Sean and Janelle Monae.

The campaign has been criticized for two reason. First, the minimum donation is $10, gossip columns have reported that fans would be more willing to give up the few dollars they spend on coffee rather than the $10 they could spend on the celebs’ new CD on iTunes, which I think is an excellent point. Asking for a minimum of $10 in this current economy is a bit much, people would be much more willing to donate a few dollars. The second reason for criticism stems  from the overall concept of the campaign, with celebs out of the social media game, awareness and reach of the campaign is limited. It was suggested that celebs should have “threatened” to die a digital death one by one until the $1 million was raised, this way they could continuously promote the campaign on their accounts.

I think the second point of criticism speaks highly of communication in current society. In cutting off their communications with fans and the world via their most valuable source of communication, they have limited their outreach. I think essentially people who follow these celebrities regularly have more than less become accustomed to the lack of constant updates rather than become more motivated to donate to get their beloved celebs back in the social networking circle.

At this rate, the campaign is said to last for 11 more days unless something drastic happens in which fans become more motivated to donate money.

Updates to come!

I recently found an article from TIME Magazine called “Bad Charity,” and I thought I would share it with you all.

You can check out the full article here — it is really very insightful into our conceptions of charity work.

From Time Magazine

The article talks about a young man, Jason Sadler, who wanted to help out in Africa with a charity designed to donate T-shirts to Africa. He was, understandably so, surprised when he received harsh criticism from bloggers and anti-charity activists. He received this response for a few reasons:

1. T-shirts are not hard to get in Africa — an influx of free shirts to the market would bankrupt small entrepreneurs and those who vend shirts for a living.

2. The money spent shipping the shirts and supplies could better be used providing the impoverished areas with food and medical supplies they do not have.

One of his opponents was James Shikwati, a member of a Nairobi-based Inter Region Economic Think Tank, who found it ironic that after the second hand expansion of clothing into small towns shut down their textile industries, people who be interested in providing free shirts to the area.

He received additional criticism from a blogger who goes by the pseudonym “Tales from the Hood,” saying no level of rational debate seems to make an impact — sometimes people need to be yelled at for their charity because it isn’t making a difference.

He is, however, cooperating with his opponents and planning to readjust his charity model by donating shirts to orphanages who request them and to widows who can sell the shirts for profit. Sadler currently works with the founder of WaterIsLife.com, Ken Surritte, on his philanthropy efforts.

It is this kind of philanthropy we all assume is helping countries in other continents, but may actually be detrimental to their economic systems and ways of life. I want to know how you all feel about the way we look at charity and if we think it is always a good idea to get involved…even if we might be misinformed. Answer below!