Psych: In New Charity Campaign, Africans Deliver Space Heaters to Freezing Norwegians

Development, as we’ve known it for the last 60 years, is dead. We’ve given white Western people decades to ‘save’ Africa, Asia and South America. It should be obvious that the continual international years of [insert development topic here] and development goals have not yielded the magic bullet to transition poorer parts of the world into industrialized, exotic versions of Western nations.

The development and humanitarian fields are beginning to shift this focus, but official development assistance from Western nations and the media lags behind. When the #Kony2012 video came out last year, there was an outcry from development organizations working across the world as well as from Ugandan groups. Luckily, the #Kony2012 movement predictably petered out, but only after it showed millions of young people that the ‘white savior complex’ in development issues is still viable. 

Radi-aid puts a stop to all that. 


Another lovely addition to a growing body of satirical work about Western development projects, the Radi-aid video shows clean, happy, intelligent and talented young African men and women working to fundraise for radiators to send to the poor and heat-less in Norway. If you have never met an African person before, I think this video is a good place to start — intelligent, capable, resilient and with am amazing sense of humor. 

Development in the old, traditional sense is dead. Development organizations, of any type, should stop viewing the citizens living in nations across Africa, Asia or South America as children or as victims and instead see them as partners or clients — human beings capable of the same intelligence, talents and strength as any Westerner and therefore able to develop their own countries with the mutual partnership and support from richer nations. Some of those richer nations may be Brazil, South Africa, India or Korea as they have more in common with less developed nations around the world than most Western countries.

The future of development is less about giving $1 a day to help a starving child (or to cover the overheads of a charity) and more about becoming consultants for a new generation of entrepreneurs and social change-makers. 

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Katie Gresham

A graduate of American University's International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, Katie currently lives in London where she works with well-known international development NGOs. She has a keen interest in international affairs skewed towards development and conflicts issues. She has augmented her academic studies with trips to Northern Ireland, Kenya, Cyprus and the Balkans.

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