“A Day Without Dignity”, 2012 campaign held on Monday April 16th highlighted how humanitarian aid and other development interventions often do more harm than good. The campaign features the use of social media channels such as blog posts, tweets and other media to share stories of local champions making a difference.
The campaign was originally launched for the first time last year, as a counter-protest to TOMS One Day Without Shoes campaign which challenged the general public to walk barefoot for one day to raise awareness for those who do not have shoes. TOMS shoes is a social enterprise which has a buy one give one policy: for every pair of shoes that are purchased one is given to poor children in developing countries.
“A Day Without Dignity” wanted to highlight the dilemmas that are incurred when communities are inundated with humanitarian aid, such as shoes, or food, clothing- it is detrimental to the local economy as it often competes with local vendors of the same products and might drive them out of business. Further according to campaign organizers this type of aid creates dependency and can deprives populations of their dignity by giving them charity instead of empowering them to help themselves.
The A Day Without Dignity campaign 2012 drew its inspiration from thef Kony2012 campaign, which calls the international community to make Joseph Kony famous so that he can face justice. According to the bloggers that initiated the A Day Without Dignity Campaign,NGO’s like Invisible Children and TOMS shoes are examples of “White Savior Industrial Complex” behavior that they feel perpetuates the image of “Whites In Shining Armor”, that of the Global North forever being the savior of the Global South (and especially of Africa).
The"Day Without Dignity Campaign” has chosen to focus on “Local Champions” in the developing world which are using local capacity to empower themselves.“The blog “Good Intentions Are Not Enough” is hosting the 46 and counting blogs which cover topics ranging from Burkas to Tracksuits, clearing landmines and cluster munitions, Madagascar and Liberia. It is definitly an interesting and compelling set of blogs which tell a story of the possibility of helping without hurting. The campaign was even featured on AJStream: Al Jazeera on April 16th, as it covered the topic of Aid Effectiveness in Africa.
The campaign is the vision of a group of bloggers: Tom Murphy @viewfromthecave, Saundra Schimmelpfennig @saundra_s, Jennifer Lentfer @intldogooder, and Teddy Ruge @tmsruge Good Intentions Are Not Enough