Opinion: Charity-Song Parody Raises Smart Questions

A nonprofit group’s satirical video purporting to show African pop stars uniting to support frostbite victims in Norway is “a smart way to question” the effectiveness of aid to developing countries and the assumptions that often underlie it, a reporter who covers development policy writes in an International Herald Tribune column.

Parodying famous music-driven charity drives such as Live Aid, the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund’s “Radi-Aid” video urges Africans to send radiators to help Norwegians stay warm. Journalist Dayo Olopade writes that the mock campaign effectively shows viewers how such efforts can play into stereotypes about the developing world and ultimately do more for donors’ self-esteem than for the intended aid recipients.

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