29 July 2011

On Sending Bloggers Around the World

This is an excerpt from my debut piece on Think Africa Press.

In a recent piece for Guardian Development, Rowan Davies discusses the latest NGO trend: sending bloggers to the field. She discusses the example of Heather B. Armstrong who traveled, on her own dollar, to Bangladesh at the invitation of the Every Mother Counts. Davies is not sold that sharing such an experience will lead the audience to act or engage in their own right.
Where blogger engagement projects often fall down is in closing the deal: having aroused the empathy of an engaged audience, they fail to provide something potent for people to do next. If you've just read a post about children working 14 hours a day scavenging material from towering heaps of putrefied waste, you probably want to do something more effective than signing a petition or sending an email to your elected representative; but frequently, this is all that's on offer. Engagement, information and a powerful completion strategy allow westerners to stand behind those in absolute poverty: not to attempt to save them, but to recognise our outrageous luck and try to change global systems for the better. Deciding what this completion strategy should be is the hard part. But without an answer, blogging trips risk being little more than groovy PowerPoint slides in the campaign department's next quarterly report.
As an aid and development blogger, I would selfishly love to be flown around the world to see various projects...

Read the rest by going here.