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Category Archives: Badvocacy and celebs

Are celebrities good for development aid?

by Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte

Recent New York Times coverage of Madonna’s “Raising Malawi” school project has once again drawn attention to the role celebrities play in raising awareness and funds for international aid. But at the same time, the report—which chronicled the collapse of Madonna’s poorly-managed venture—brings negative exposure to “good causes” for Africa.

There was a similar case in January, when an Associated Press story on corruption in The Global

Also posted in Academic research, Aid policies and approaches | 34 Comments

The Aid Contest of the Celebrity Exes

A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna …has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition…. the plans to build a $15 million school for about 400 girls in the poor southeastern African country of 15 million — which had drawn financial support from Hollywood and society circles…— have been officially abandoned.

Madonna’s Charity Fails in Bid

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, In the news | 16 Comments

Does bad taste indicate dictators’ vulnerability to overthrow?

UPDATE: an enterprising reader offered another intriguing datapoint

Bill noticed it on ubiquitous billboards during a trip to Libya. Laura found more examples. So we think we have found an intriguing phenomenon: autocrats and outré pop stars look alike. Photographic evidence:

And one last uncanny visual correlation:

There are many directions we could go with this, but we choose for now the point that many dictators look ridiculous, and ridiculously unaware of how ridiculous.

A…

Also posted in Satire and parodies | Tagged | 21 Comments

No coups please, Professor Collier

UPDATE 10:30AM 1/15: Chris Blattman has a thoughtful response to my blog. The Complexity tribe is still upset that I didn’t do their sacred idea of Complexity justice.

On the Guardian Global Development blog, I tell Paul Collier that he’s crazy to recommend a coup in Cote d’Ivoire. But the use of complexity theory allows me to be very nice about it.

Also posted in In the news, Meta, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 24 Comments

So now we have to save ourselves and the world, too? A critique of “the girl effect”

by Anna Carella, PhD student in political science at Vanderbilt University

Women have increasingly become the focus of international economic development projects, as exemplified by “the girl effect,” a catchphrase and global phenomenon that suggests that development projects aimed at women will succeed because women are more likely to nurture their families and communities.

The “girl effect” initiative was launched by the Nike Foundation in 2008 and has gained traction in the media (Save a Girl,

Also posted in Stereotypes, Women and gender | Tagged , | 45 Comments

Aid Watch Rerun: A suggestion for the 1MillionShirts guy

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Over the holidays, we’ll be publishing reruns of some of our posts from the first 2 years of Aid Watch. This post originally ran on April 28, 2010, and was one contribution to a controversy that erupted on the internet when aid workers got wind of an amateur aid effort called 1 million shirts.

We will be back running new content starting tomorrow, January 4th.

Here’s the back story: A young American…

Also posted in Aid debates | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Aid Watch Rerun: And Now For Something Completely Different: Davos Features “Refugee Run”

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Over the holidays, we’ll be publishing reruns of some of our posts from the first 2 years of Aid Watch. This post originally ran on Jan 28, 2008, and attracted a firestorm of comments, passionately for and against the idea. There will be a similar event again this year at Davos.

Refugee-Run-Text-4.JPG

When somebody sent me this invitation from Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I thought at first

Also posted in Aid debates, Human rights, Stereotypes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Lennon vs. Bono, Round II (Washington Post version): the death of the celebrity activist

UPDATE III: Blood in the water, sharks circling! (see debate with Daniel Drezner at end of this post)

UPDATE II: pasted some email comments below. Gained 1st supporter, victory in sight.

UPDATE: go to the Washington Post full version click below to read lots of comments. The vast majority of commentators disagree with this column. So my attempt to answer the critics who were not convinced by my previous answer to the critics of the…

35 Comments

Africa Clichés, Part LXXVIII

The blog Africa is a Country reacts to the NYT Magazine’s Coverage of John “Save Darfur” Prendergast. The best summary is from former NYT Reporter Howard French’s Twitter feed: “Bwana Saves Africa, Part 3,276.”

The same blog had a post yesterday on cringe-inducing attempts to have a supermodel portray an “Africa” theme at a certain fashion show. It reminded me of crude Hollywood portrayals of Africa when I was a child.  And…

Also posted in Stereotypes | 6 Comments

The 100 Bestest Global Thinkers

The Foreign Policy magazine ranking of the top 100 Global Thinkers just came out. The rankings can be a bit mysterious, like college football rankings that confuse Texas Christian University with a real football team.

I myself had a two-year run in the top 100 for still unexplained reasons. Alas, a late-season loss to Collier State University doomed my chances this year. I wouldn’t mind as much if there were not way too many…

Also posted in Big ideas | 12 Comments