Brexit, comic relief, governance lessons, and 10 humanitarian crises you haven’t heard of

Posted on 05 March 2019

+ 10 humanitarian events we have heard of

The NZ Herald ran a piece this week about the ten most shocking humanitarian crises most New Zealanders haven't heard of. 

It raises the real challenge we have of maintaining interest and funding to deal with long protracted crises when they are no longer in the media.
+ Comic Relief's 'White Saviour' outdated?

The registered charity Comic Relief was launched live from a Sudanese refugee camp on Christmas Day in 1985 (different times, it was different times people). In its 30+ years of history, it has raised in excess of  £1,200,000bn. However, in 2019 some are asking if the Comic Relief formula is now only serving to bolster an outdated image of the colonial white saviour. These criticisms have been growing since Ed Sheeran was accused of committing 'poverty tourism' for the charity in 2019.

Most recently, British MP David Lammy has stated that the charities formula of "British celebrities being flown out by Comic Relief ...sends a distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era." Lammy goes on to state that "the charity is doing very little to educate the public" and that the images of celebrities "holding a black child" strips these communities of any sense of agency, and does nothing to support the role of the emerging middle class in African countries.

This criticism is relevant, given that good practice today tells us to treat people as equal partners, and in a dignified and respectful manner. The recipients of aid and the subjects of Comic Relief's films do not need celebrities to tell their stories. However, some are suggesting that for the sake of fundraising through celebrity-leverage, it is also important that not all charitable celebrity 'white-on-black' (sic) endeavours are automatically dismissed as condescending and offensive.
+ Brexit creates staffing headaches for aid agencies 

"European staff working at NGOs in the United Kingdom say they are worried about their future as the country gears up to leave the European Union, while aid organisations struggle to prepare for potential disruption amid ongoing political uncertainty," writes Abby Young-Powell at Devex.

As the 29 March deadline looms, EU staff in British-based agencies are holding their breath. 
+ Australia's aid weakened if used for infrastructure bank, says ACFID 

"Aid groups fear the federal government is on the verge of taking more money from the strained aid budget to fund a $2bn infrastructure bank for Pacific island nations," writes the Guardian this week.

Prime minister Scott Morrison announced the Australian infrastructure financing facility last year as part of Australia’s “Pacific step up”, but didn't announce any increase in the aid budget.

Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID says Australia was being foolhardy by “cannibalising the aid budget” and putting at risk relations with key Asian countries.

“We’ve left a trail of damaged relationships. We said we’re helping to alleviate poverty but then we’ve pulled out. What that means is doors are closing to us in Asia,” he said.

+ Governance lessons for the NGO sector  - manage risk

NGO Boards should be running a fine-tooth comb over the decision last week to fine the Mainzeal Directors for allowing the company to continue to trade when it was insolvent.

The decision highlights the importance of directors focusing on the complex risks they may be facing and making sure they are spending adequate time in the boardroom mitigating that risk, says the article.

Here are some more lessons.
+ Four trends in development that could widen inequality

Is it helping or hindering development outcomes to talk about security, partner with business and fund local groups directly? 

Here are some trends from the Reality of Aid Network’s recent report on the Changing Faces of Aid, which draws together views on aid from over 30 civil society organisations. 
+ Islamic Social finance for humanitarian responses?

"From the glitz of Davos to the bureaucratic corridors of Brussels, the harsh reality is that overseas development aid is declining, inequality is growing, and there’s ever more uncertainty around climate change. This all means the funding gap in humanitarian need requires increased creativity, new tech solutions, and collaborating in new partnerships. Islamic social finance looks set to become a key collaboration," writes Bond. 
+ Authorities failing SDG transformational change

New Zealand Scientist, Sir Peter Gluckman, has suggested that greater systemic thinking is needed to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"The reality is that if they are just seen as aspirational goals what happens is — what is actually happening now —  is that governments are just labelling what they are doing anyhow as being in the obligation of the SDGs,” stated Gluckman. Gluckman was speaking at a panel discussion on the SDGs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting last month. 

The panel discussed how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are often failing to produce the profound changes needed to achieve their ambitious objectives due to a lack of coordination across the 17 separate goals. 

One solution is for governments to conduct a broad analysis of how issues like land use, biodiversity, and climate (for example) affect one another as they formulate policy. However, in many countries, this is not being done. Similarly, science funding also needs to be better coordinated to ensure that the conflicting and interdependent nature of the SDGs is taken into account in research projects, one-panel meeting heard.
Morning Tea & Advocacy

Is advocacy part of your daily routine or do you simply enjoy thinking about it?

If so, get your week off to a stimulating start with a picnic morning tea at Oxfam.

Join Oxfam at 09:30 am, Monday 1 April, Level 13, Boulcott St, Wellington. With coffee and freshly-baked muffins, we'll talk tactics and topics. RSVP to by Friday 29 March.

+ Storytelling for social good

The Story Room  offers bespoke workshops on storytelling and marketing for purpose-led organisations.
Tailored and delivered to your organisation, the Story Room will teach your team how to tell your story, develop compelling content that truly connects with your audience, strengthen your online presence, land great media coverage and builds a movement around your cause.
Having worked with some of the biggest non-profits, social enterprises and purpose-led organisations locally and internationally, including Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam International, the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, the Women’s Fund and more, Founders Adeline Guerra and Madina Knight are passionate about using smart, cost-effective strategy to help organisations build their profile and grow their impact.
Workshops typically cover the following subjects but can be scaled up or down depending on your organisation’s needs. All workshop content is tailored specifically for your organisation.

  • Crafting compelling key messages
  • Mining stories within your organisation
  • Storytelling techniques that land you great media coverage
  • Devising an engagement strategy
  • Tips for creating killer content
  • Amplifying your message via social media  
  • How to reach your target audience in the most effective way
  • Digital trends for 2019
You can find out more about The Story Room here.
+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by


Humanitarian Government SDGs