Who ever said Norwegians don’t have a sense of humor? Just in time for the holidays, a Norwegian group calling itself Radi-Aid has launched an appeal to ship radiators from Africa to Norway. Their cause is the plight of freezing children during Norway’s harsh winter months. It’s complete with a new music video, and incorporates all the right tropes (see here, here and here) — some people might miss the satire.

These people aren’t playing around though. Their effort is a serious critique of misguided development, and of the Western media coverage which often accompanies it. What they want:

1. Fundraising should not be based on exploiting stereotypes.
2. We want better information about what is going on in the world, in schools, in TV and media.
3. Media: Show respect.
4. Aid must be based on real needs, not “good” intentions.

It looks like we’re not the only ones to be fed up with poor spokesmen and seriously misguided aid efforts (H/T Rishita Nandagiri). Hallelujah; we here at AIAC couldn’t be more thrilled. We hope to interview the good folks at Radi-Aid (and the The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund, the people behind it), so that we can come back to you with a feature on how they developed and funded their campaign. (Also, in preparation for spending this Christmas in Stavanger, I’m curious as to whether I might qualify for a radiator, or at least a new fleece & a bottle of Aquavit?)

Just in case you think this is an isolated incidence of Scandinavian brilliance, we were also referred today by Norwegian Magnus Bjørnsen to artist Morten Traaviks’ “pimp my aidworker” project, “a mock fundraiser for Western aidworkers.”

So stay tuned next week for more. In the meantime, we hope readers take the time to educate themselves on pressing issues in Norway. Because it is really cold there folks, but it’s also entirely lovely. And put the song on repeat.

Further Reading