The Friday Funny: RADI-AID (Africa for Norway)

Here’s a gently satirical treat to take you into the holiday season and give us food for thought as evaluators.

How much do sterotypes drive the way needs and outcomes are reported in cultures other than our own?

Or, as this group of African students in Norway puts it on their Africa for Norway page,

Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway”-video, and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?

If you can’t see the video below (e.g. because you are on the email feed), you will need to click through to the post on the Genuine Evaluation site.

Here’s what the makers of the video have to say about their key messages:

Why Africa for Norway?

Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway” video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?If we say Africa, what do you think about? Hunger, poverty, crime or AIDS? No wonder, because in fundraising campaigns and media that’s mainly what you hear about.The pictures we usually see in fundraisers are of poor African children. Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. But while these images can engage people in the short term, we are concerned that many people simply give up because it seems like nothing is getting better. Africa should not just be something that people either give to, or give up on.The truth is that there are many positive developments in African countries, and we want these to become known. We need to change the simplistic explanations of problems in Africa. We need to educate ourselves on the complex issues and get more focus on how western countries have a negative impact on Africa’s development. If we want to address the problems the world is facing we need to do it based on knowledge and respect.

What do we want?

  1. Fundraising should not be based on exploiting stereotypes.
    Most of us just get tired if all we see is sad pictures of what is happening in the world, instead of real changes.
  2. We want better information about what is going on in the world, in schools, in TV and media.
    We want to see more nuances. We want to know about positive developments in Africa and developing countries, not only about crises, poverty and AIDS. We need more attention on how western countries have a negative impact on developing countries.
  3. Media: Show respect.
    Media should become more ethical in their reporting. Would you print a photo of a starving white baby without permission? The same rules must apply when journalists are covering the rest of the world as it does when they are in their home country.
  4. Aid must be based on real needs, not “good” intentions.
    Aid is just one part of a bigger picture; we must have cooperation and investments, and change other structures that hold back development in poorer countries. Aid is not the only answer.


This is a useful reminder, too, of the importance of evaluation – showing that change really has occurred. But how well have the impacts of aid programs been communicated to the world, as opposed to retaining all the focus on needs that have yet to be addressed?


On that note, Jane and Patricia would like to thank you so very much for tuning in to Genuine Evaluation this year, and wish you all the very best for the holiday season. And for those in the Northern Hemisphere (in the spirit of this week’s video), our warmest summery wishes from the south, where we are off on our annual vacations to beaches and such. :)

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