Philanthropy and Development – can it ever be enough?

Last Updated on November 25, 2020 by Karl Thompson

I stumbled across the example of the coreographer Sherrie Silver using her fame, money and skills to raise awareness of African cultures through dnace and to campaign for better funding for opportunities for young farmers in rural Africa.

Below is an example of the kind of Development advocacy work she has been involved in:

Sherrie Silver is originally from Rwanda and educated in the UK, and has had a successful career at a very young age, and it’s pretty impressive to see someone so young already working to give something back.

To my mind its hard to find anything to dislike about this kind of advocacy – it seems to be coming from a pure desire to help on the part of an individual that’s done OK for themselves, and the particular awareness campaign above certainly seems to be involving young people in developing countries.

It’s also an interesting example of the kind of ‘development assistance’ that even neo-liberals would agree with -if it’s philanthropy it’s not coming from the State, so they’d probably be OK with it.

But is this kind of Advocacy work effective at promoting development?

In itself getting young people to put up dance videos isn’t going to do anything to encourage African governments to invest in young people, so I don’t really get the logic here!

However, I guess this is useful in busting myths about underdevelopment in Africa, it is empowering, it is peer to peer and puts youth in rural Africa on a level footing with youth in cities in Western countries – I mean they’re just as capable at dancing and video editing.

But i just don’t get how putting videos of rural youth in Africa dancing is going to encourage financial investment in agriculture?

Maybe I’m missing something?!?

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