Opinion

After Kony 2012: Three ways NGOs can work with Africans as equals

As in the Kony 2012 campaign, humanitarianism in Africa gets oversimplified in myriad ways, in the process making Africans themselves one-dimensional and raising up the white Westerner as savior. Here are three ways nongovernmental organizations can work with African citizens as equals.

2. Refuse to portray people as victims

In the 1990s, a consortium of NGOs developed and signed the Code of Conduct for humanitarian relief. They pledged themselves to fight against exploitative “aid pornography.”

Kony 2012 threatens to erode these attempts. Its narcissism promotes the false and dangerous belief that Westerners are heroes rather than the equals of Africans, resulting in new forms of paternalism and external control.

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