UPDATE 4/28 10:45 am answering the “be a man” video: see end of this post
I guess our great Alanna Shaikh post “Nobody wants your old shoes” (2nd most popular post of all time) did not quite reach everybody. Or maybe the parallels between old T-shirts and old shoes were not widely appreciated (HT @texasinafrica)
A new clothing-themed charitable campaign from the guys behind lucrative social media marketing exercise I Wear Your Shirt is looking to get unwanted T-shirts out of your closet and onto the backs of a million people across Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Swaziland and South Africa.
The 1MillionShirts project, launched this month, is asking for used (but decent) T-shirts to be sent in with a one dollar bill to help with container costs. The shirts will then be shipped to Africa to help clothe folks in need.
The guy in the video also asks for $ from each of us because it is very expensive to send containers full of bulky low-value T-shirts all the way over to all those places somewhere in Africa. Test question: why might this fact help explain why this is “one of the worst advocacy ideas of the year” (in @texasinafrica’s words).
UPDATE 4/27 10:45 am: @iwearyourshirt posts an angry video attacking me and other “Internet trolls” for daring to criticize him, challenging us to come out from behind our computers to call him on the phone directly and “be a man.”
Laura has put up a constructive alternative suggestion to #1millionshirts in response to the, um, “be a man” challenge.
I of course completely agree with Laura.
As far as how to have the debate on 1 Million Shirts, it’s perfectly legitimate to have a public debate on Twitter or any other forum on a very public advocacy idea that is out there. That the only acceptable alternative for @iwearyourshirt is to get a personal phone call is to suggest that public debate is not legitimate and that the design of aid projects should be negotiated in private.
Sorry, pal, that’s not how democratic debate and accountability works. I’m sorry if you feel blind-sided by this debate, but the burden of proof was on you to check out your idea before you made it so public to a large audience. To me, that’s what it means to “be a man”, oops I mean, “be a human.”