Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden (2010)

2 Apr

“In a world with extreme imbalances of power and wealth, the more powerful partner in the cultural exchange sometimes embeds deep – often unconscious – assumptions of its own superiority, and then projects the assumption of inferiority onto the weaker partner.   When development agencies, NGO’s, missionary societies, and volunteer groups travel to traditional cultures in order to “help” them, it powerfully reinforces the assumption of the superiority of the developed nations and the inferiority of traditional societies.  This can undermine people’s self-respect at a deep level.”- Schooling the World.

Here is an intriguing documentary titled, Schooling the World, which brings to question the historic and future impact of developed nations such as the United States, taking on the role of educators for children in indigenous cultures in the developing world.

It opens your eyes on the education development programs being implemented in developing countries. Many have criticized these programs for executing carbon- cut and widespread education models, failing to take into account indigenous knowledge and traditional values which ultimately has negative socio-economic effects in the community.  Is it really the “White Man’s Burden”? What do you think? Is it effective? Who is it actually helping??


Healing Ourselves From the Diploma Disease

1 Apr

What does education and being educated mean? Does it come in the form of a diploma?

Shikshantar, the Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development based in India, believe that the Western model of factory- schooling often imposed on the global south by the global north is suppressing many different forms of human learning and expression. This Western model of schooling is also unsustainable in many local communities as specific traditions and cultures as well as indigenous knowledge are not taken into consideration or de-valued.

Take a look at the national campaign Shikshantar is involved with and reconsider the culture of schooling.

22 Must-Read Updates to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

30 Mar


Which demographic use Social Media

26 Mar

Camfed, one of the organizations we researched and critiqued, does a great job with their social media. Social media has such an impact on our society, as we are surrounded by it. Here are some cool stats that we found on Camfed’s Pinterest account!

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TED talk – The way we think about charity is dead wrong

24 Mar

TED talk – The way we think about charity is dead wrong

This TED talk to is worth taking a look at. Dan Pollotta emphasizes the significance of involvement. Sponsors want to show their support beyond financial contributions but active involvement as well. We also believe that involvement is important, as partnerships should be made between organizations and existing local communities as well as their sponsors.

A Guide to NGO’s

15 Mar

The magazine New Internationalist published this article back in 2005, highlighting various aspects of an NGO that should be carefully considered before you donate. There are so many organizations out there, especially as the internet and social media makes it easy to promote and share causes with others. It can be difficult, even overwhelming, to wade through the marketing rhetoric in order to figure out an NGO’s true purpose, what they are working to achieve, and their impact (good or bad). However, as the article states, “Donors or potential donors have real power, which is part of the problem. But that power, and responsibility, can also be used in favour of positive change”.

Before giving your time, fundraising efforts, and money to an organization, it is important to do your research to ensure they are truly making a positive change. The article provides a series of questions to consider before you donate. For example, does the NGO in question have limits to the amount of donations they accept from governments and corporations? Strong monetary partnerships with these institutions might affect the ideals, practices, and decisions of the organization, who may fear losing significant amounts of funding if they don’t align their beliefs with these powerful groups. As one author puts it, “Empowering poor people means challenging the disempowering status quo, which brings social movements and their organizations into conflict with the powers that be. Those who profit from the current forms of development have no interest in a shift” (Barry-Shaw & Oja Jay, Paved with Good Intentions, 2012).

Other points to consider, raised in this article, surround responsible budgeting practices, the level of transparency with the public and their donors, and if donors are encouraged to move past passive giving to be actively engaged with the issue at hand, increasing their knowledge about global problems and implementable, equitable solutions.

Many organizations are passionate about social justice and are doing excellent work, in both the global north and the global south. If you are involved with an NGO, or if you are thinking about how to get involved with one, this article is definitely worth a read.

Why a blog?

11 Mar

Our blog seeks to inform the global north, specifically those going abroad on humanitarian trips, about harmful assumptions that create unequal power relations between the ‘donor’ and ‘recipient’ countries. These assumptions are visible in the policies and language of many development programs. We hope to provide suggestions for an alternative model of educational programs, encouraging a dialogue between the global north and south, and centered around the importance of creating partnerships as opposed to approaches that implement solutions based on Western ideals alone.