Gimme Hope

This is the second in a video campaign to promote the work of American ngo Mama Hope.

They work with local partners in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Uganda to fund the completion of schools, health clinics, children’s centers, clean water systems and food security projects. The idea with this campaign–titled “Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential”–is to tell “…  the story of connection instead of contrast and potential instead of poverty.”  In Mama Hope’s own words: “… People everywhere have talent and capacity, and people everywhere share a desire to be able to use those gifts to improve their lives and the lives of the people they care about.”

Ah. Mirroring. a classic way of encouraging the feeling that the chasm between the smug, satisfied prick of Self and the other is not so vast.  Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, like a church pastor I once knew said, hope is a combo action: you pray to God for the necessary fortitude, for whatever journey you want to embark upon. Then, you do the action. And be prepared for not reaching the goal you want. But you will achieve something–even if it’s not what you want.

Lets hope that the makers of this video, for  Mama Hope do achieve the goal to “connection instead of contrast and potential instead of poverty.” But without structural changes, Mama Hope may only be embarking on a difficult journey based on a prayer–without the action necessary.

* Spotted at Boing Boing where they love this.

Comments

comments

Neelika Jayawardane

Sharp-tongued literature professor. Senior editor at Africa is a Country.

6 Comments
  1. splendid work.! cmmon everybody, give this a thumbs up! share it on twitter, like it on facebook etc. anything! show the world how others are re-defining the word ‘contribution’

  2. The cynicism on this blog kills me. There are times I really enjoy the insight here and the many stories, viewpoints, headlines and voices on display but y’all really do rip apart everything. Was that last line really necessary? Is there anything Mama Hope’s done for you to have the myriad of “buts” that you included. In the face of few structural changes are we just supposed to sit on the sidelines sniping at the many organizations that are sincerely trying very hard to bring some kind of “hope” and change? I just don’t get the tone of this piece. It feels unfairly snide. Sometimes it’s okay to just like things. I’m sorry to have a negative comment because I do appreciate much of your content, this just got to me.

  3. @perg: Apologies. I got too riled up about all the feel good. You made a good point in asking “are we just supposed to sit on the sidelines sniping at the many organizations that are sincerely trying very hard to bring some kind of “hope” and change?”

  4. I am the founder of Mama Hope and the producer of the video. All the feel good you see was not manufactured. People in both Africa and America were really excited to be part of this campaign because it is promoting hope. Promoting a different way of looking at people. Too often charities use depictions of poverty and pity to raise funds for organizations painting a picture of the continent of Africa as being a bunch of sad people with their hands out. When I travel to Africa that is not what I see at all. I see joy, innovation, hard work and progress. I see people figuring out how to help their communities despite all the challenges set against them. I want to tell that story instead. In order for us to to truly start a movement of potential instead of pity we need to stop being as @perg says it “snide” and believe in the power of people to help one another. Because the only thing we leave after we are gone is what we give away.

  5. “When I travel to Africa that is not what I see at all. I see joy, innovation, hard work and progress. ”

    Where in Africa?

    1. @Katie B. “joy, innovation, hard work and progress” is writen in African people’s eyes and on their smiles,katie B. It takes a certain rare human quality for one to be able to read it; and that is why we are not all ‘Mama Hopes’. Joy, innovation, hard work and progress is certainly not present in every African or in every African community, but, lets face it- Africans are known the world over for wearing huge smiles, singing and dancing to joyous songs even at funerals. It is upon this foundation, as I understand, that Mama Hope are building on, The premis that whilst YES they are holding out a begging hand to world charities, NO they are not tearful, sitting on their laurels and walloping in self pity. They have a very strong work ethic. All they need are the tools, transparent democratic leaderships and your moral support. I hope you catch the drift, like everyone eventualy does.

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