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Category Archives: Badvocacy and celebs

Lennon vs. Bono

I watched last night a remarkable documentary on the life of John Lennon called “Imagine.” For my generation, it’s pretty much automatic that Lennon is our hero, and I am no different.

But then I thought, do I have a double standard? I criticize celebrity musicians today like Bono for taking on a role like “Africa expert,” because we would never put rock stars in charge of say, Federal Reserve Policy. Yet Lennon…

Also posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Osama Bin Laden, aid expert

From the New York Times:

We are in need of a big change in the method of relief work because the number of victims is great due to climate changes in modern times

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Things that are now officially bad: Slum tourism; donors dissing democracy; bad workplaces

UPDATE Aug 11, 12:45pm : some comments defending slum tourism; I give a new perspective on one of the most heated debates that has kept recurring on Aid Watch (see below).

The following bad things are now officially bad because:

(1) NYT oped page gives space to eloquent former slum resident to tell us that slum tourists are indeed really, really offensive (will they get it this time?)

(2) FT Africa editor realizes aid donors not as enthusiastic about democracy as they…

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Wyclef Jean for Prez?

In a world where being an actor, a rock star, or sex video vixen is sufficient qualification for people to sit up and pay attention to your ideas about how to solve world poverty, it comes as no great shock that Wyclef Jean has decided to run for President of Haiti. Herewith, we attempt two arguments in favor of the former Fugees frontman’s candidacy, and two against.

In Favor:

  1. Wyclef Jean demonstrated his impressive

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FT: Celebrities urge G8 to make new unkept promises to keep previous unkept promises

Oh how we wish it would be otherwise! What will it take?

Alan Beattie writes on the G8 in the FT:

It stretches the most elastic mind to envisage the collective wrath of Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, Bill Nighy, Kristin Davis and Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, but it descended on the heads of the Group of Eight this weekend.

The obsolescence of the G8 has long been discussed during interminable and inconclusive international

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Grand plans and aid targets, Organizational behavior, Political economy | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Aid Watch offers free PR advice to prime satire target

As experienced satirists, maybe we can do our part helping Aid CEOs avoid ridicule. For example, if you are the CEO of the (RED) campaign fighting AIDS afflicting the desperately poor in Africa, you might not want to appear in today’s FT Power Dressing column (not available online) with quotes like these:

Suit by Gucci
There are certain things that I am really particular about with my wardrobe..I like my suits to fit incredibly

Also posted in Satire and parodies | Tagged | 19 Comments

The “Stuff We Don’t Want” flowchart

UPDATE: Scott has taken some of your suggestions to improve the chart–Version 2.0 is below.

I doubt we need to point out that if you’re about to embark on an aid project to help Africa with no actual knowledge of aid or Africa, the ire of a certain blogging development economist may not be your greatest preoccupation. And we probably also don’t need to mention that developing a simple set of standards (perhaps in the…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged | 18 Comments

A suggestion for the 1MillionShirts guy

Here’s the back story: A young American entrepreneur wanted to use his powerful social media profiles to do good. He hit on the idea of convincing people to pack up all their unneeded T-shirts, throw in a dollar for shipping, and send them – 1 million of them – somewhere in Africa. He partnered with two charities, applied for 501(c)3 status, and voila, a new cause was born: 1MillionShirts.

Yesterday, professional aid workers, academics,…


Nobody wants your old T-shirts

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

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Hips don’t lie about aid

UPDATE December 14, 2010: The Guardian refers to this post in hosting a discussion of the role of celebrities in development.

I’ll get some grief for celebexploitation on this one… but what the heck..

The celebrity aid phenomenon is not going away any time soon, so one wonders … are there any celebrities doing it better than others?

The Wall Street Journal had an interview with Shakira about her philanthropy efforts.

There are a…

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