The Radi-Aid Awards celebrates creativity in fundraising campaigns worldwide. Specifically, it challenges the perception of the global south as helpless victims who are dependent on donations from the West. The initiative is best known for its spoof videos that debunk and poke fun at the stereotypes perpetuated by aid campaigns.
Now, the latest video, “The Radi-Aid App: Change A Life With Just One Swipe” flips the script on the usual aid campaign. In it Africans are asked to donate to the cold citizens of Norway.
Created in 2013 by SAIH, the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund, the initiative awards creative fundraising campaigns with the Golden Radiator Award, and stereotypical campaigns with the Rusty Radiator Award.
Campaigns that play into the age-old narrative of poverty porn are sure to be featured in the Rusty category while campaigns that celebrate the diversity and ingenuity of people in need are awarded the Golden Radiator.
The campaigns are nominated by an international jury and the final decision is left to the public.
In this year’s Rusty finalists, Save The Children Netherlands calls on donors to “give to children like Jon,” and what we see is a well-known and exploited depiction of a small African child with a distended belly. In another video, children in need are portrayed as helpless only to have their lives completely changed by donations.
The awards bring to light the fact that perpetuating these stereotypes do more harm than good. On the flip side, Golden Radiator nominated campaigns deal with the same issues in more nuanced and inclusive way. For instance, the Love A Positive Life campaign deals with the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa by following an HIV-positive person’s journey to acceptance of herself through volunteering her time to the cause.
It puts the power back into the hands of supposed victims and steers away from idealism by never giving the impression that the material circumstances of others are easily fixed by intervention from the West.
This year’s award ceremony will be held in Oslo, Norway (live streaming online), on December 8th.