15 comments on “Afrika Can Haz T-Shirtz?

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: And that’s what you missed on 1 Million Shirts. « Amanda Makulec

  2. This post has been amazingly helpful.
    I volunteer for a small NGO in South Africa called Foundation Backbone.
    Thanks for a very insightful treatment which gives crucial perspective to all aid workers.
    I’ll keep following your blog 🙂

  3. I was working with the Anglican Church in Lubumbashi, DRC (or Zaire as it was then) in the mid-1990s, when World Vision distributed boxes of clothing to churches in the town – no asking if we wanted them or consideration of the impact on the local economy. I think they were probably end-of-line over-runs from US clothing companies. Knowing that a number of our church members made a living by selling second-hand clothes in the market, I wondered how many of them would struggle to make sales to their fellow church-goers who had just received a free tee-shirt or skirt or pair of jeans. (Funnily, a lot of the tee-shirts were from B.U.M. so we had loads of ‘bums on pews’ from then on.)

    Another church in the town which ran a tailoring school as an income-generating opportunity decided to sell the boxes of clothes they received and used the money to buy more sewing machines and extra cloth for their school. A rather more enlightened approach – no doubt many of these tee-shirts will end up on the market anyway. One wonders how much we (WV and others) have learned in 15+ years.

  4. My experience working for a NYC NGO during 9/11 has given me the mantra “never send stuff, send cash.” When the earthquakes hit, many of us experienced NGO people were helping get that message out, and while it may have made would-be donors of material goods unhappy, we may have staved off making a catastrophe worse by well-intentioned people sending unwanted, unusable items and clogging the limited airport space from being able to accept necessary supplies. I think Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are very helpful in redirecting misguided efforts quickly and hope the impact becomes greater in the future.

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