For whatever reason, the start of Spring season lately has signaled an emergence of chaos in the world of international development communications. For the past few years, the February – May time frame unveiled the development community’s worst ideas. In 2009, it was Ashton Kutcher and Malaria No More, in 2010 it was Jason Sadler and 1 Million T-shirts. Last year was graced with World Vision and TOMS Shoes.

By now you have witnessed 2012’s installment of what’s becoming an annual exercise of righting the development ship. Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video created a mother of a storm in the development industry. At this rate, I shudder to think what 2013 holds in store, but almost a year away. Until then, we have what we hope is something all of you can participate in.

With each passing year, smart aid’s toughest critics have raised the stakes on the importance of doing development the right way. The status quo and acceptance of age-old ineffective practices is under increasing scrutiny. Debates over poverty porn, respect to agency, and even the recipient/partner nomenclature has been fodder for the richest conversations in the development sphere.

Last year, in response, to TOMS Shoes’, A Day Without Shoes campaign, a few of us launched A Day Without Dignity, as a collective response by the development community to TOMS BOGO shoe idea. Saundra, at Good Intents compiled a list of over 70 blog posts all of you wrote in response. This year we are opening it up even further to let you participate in any which way you want.

The discussion that raged last month mainly centered around dignity and agency, cornerstones of good development work. The Kony 2012 video showed what can happen when you take the Whites in Shining Amour motif a little too far. For once, we’d like to take the opportunity to put Local Heroes in the spotlight. So here’s the deal on this year’s campaign:



This year’s event will focus on Local Champions. The theme was chosen to show an alternative to awareness raising events that often focus on Whites in Shining Armor at the expense of the dignity of the people they’re trying to help.

For this year’s event, we are seeking blog posts and articles on:

  • Locally led development projects and stories of local action working successfully to address local needs.
  • Advice on how to work as partners rather than as a savior.
  • Suggestions or examples on how to support and champion those who are innovating in their own communities.
  • Discussions on how to best represent the people we’re trying to help to our donors.
  • How to help without expecting to “Save the World”
  • And we’d love it if some of the Western bloggers would invite people with local voices to share their perspectives in guest post on their blog.

In addition to these blog posts, we’ll also create a simple Day Without Dignity curriculum and discussion points.

AND we’ll be hosting a t-shirt design competition. The winning designs will available for sale – proceeds will benefit Villages in Action.

  1. Send links to blog posts and articles to Saundra at Saundra[at]goodintents.org
  2. Send curriculum suggestions/ideas to Tom at Murph[at]aviewfromthecave.com
  3. Send t-shirt entries to TMS Ruge at Teddy[at]projectdiaspora.org

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