1 Millionshirts T-shirts, Handouts is not the way

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When I heard of 1 Millionshirts T-shirts to be send to the People of Africa, a million and one thoughts went through my mind.? The guy behind the idea by intent and purposes means well but it is terrible idea and ??it shows the continuous bad conception on how to help Africa. Yes Africa has many problems but I wonder why every single day, every single idea coming out there is about handouts. We all know that handouts will never help Africa. Anybody who wants to help Africa should come up with grand plan similar to what America did for Europe after World War II, with the Marshall Plan.? A critical examination of the Marshall Plan indicates that the aims ware to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reduce artificial trade barriers, and instill a sense of hope and self-reliance. How does sending a million shirts to Africa instill self reliance? How does sending certain number of mosquito nets modernizes industrial and business practices in Africa?

1millionshirts

1millionshirts

The answer to all these might lie of the perception or ignorance.? Look at the campaign title, 1millionshirts.org asking people to help send 1million shirts to the People of Africa. The People of Africa, what does that mean in the first place? ?People living in Africa are walking shirtless or naked for that matter and therefore the world should help in clothing them. Really? ??I was born and I live in Kenya and as far as I am concern there is nobody walking without shirt or top in Kenya . May be i have? a clue on how this guy came up with this idea.? The Kenyan countryside where I used to stay when I was young boy, kids love to play and in particular football. ?It was not based on any team structure or organization.? We would just meet after school or during weekend, form a line, and divide ourselves into two teams. Now this was kids stuff so there is no uniform of sort. To differentiate one team from the other, members of one team are forced to remove their shirts through a toss of a coin. Kenya is visited by many tourists who love to take pictures of all sorts of things they see.? Kids playing without shirts would make a great discovery and story to tell back home.

After going through an article written by Jason Sadler, I realized as I have said that the guy means well but? the ?idea is bad and misguided. ?Let go through some of the main points:

After sending out an email to quite a few people about 1MillionShirts today, we received an overwhelmingly positive response as well as some really great questions. One of the questions that was posed is one I?d like to personally touch on with the help of one of our Partners:

The emails were send to quite a few people, who are these few people? Are they people living in Africa? Are they people who have been to Africa or they are the same old people who have not realized the mistakes they have been making when come to Africa.? Of course the response had to be overwhelmingly positive because to them Africa is like field for charity institutions. Somehow it has become prestigious to be profiled on the Western media that you are doing this or that Charity work in Africa. The end result is, Businesses do their direct investment in Europe and Asia while ?Africa is flooded with Foundations and NGOs. No and no thanks, this is not the best way to help Africa.

The answer is ?yes? and ?no?. There are areas where people have nothing to wear and no money to buy something if they could find it. For these people yes, they will be given shirts to provide protection from the elements. Just because these people live in Africa, it doesn?t mean they don?t need a shirt (or the option to have more than 1 shirt) on their backs.

Apparently there are areas where people have nothing to wear. Where are these areas?? Has he been to these areas and can he name them? The time when people used to walk without shirts in Africa was like a century ago, but even then they used to have something to cover themselves with.

The cycle continues and is different across many areas of Africa. Again, we don?t have 1 location the shirts are going, they will be spread around and like the old saying goes, ?Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for a life time.?

This is my favorite part, Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for a life time. Whoever came up with that quote was very smart and would be terribly embarrassed to find out that a guy who actually know about the quote and is using it on his writing cannot come up with a better idea worthy of making that quote relevant.

Kenya textile industry officials say the massive importation of second-hand clothes and the dumping of sub-standard textile on the local market is impacting negatively on the country’s textile industry. I can remember a friend of mine who used work for textile company in Export Processing Zones in Nairobi got retrenched last ?year. According to the official of the company, they could not maintain big work force due to low business turnover, thanks to cheap second hand clothes popularly known as mitumba. My friend case was a classic example of how people end up being without anything to wear,

Dear Mr. Jason Sadler

I salute you for having a big heart and ready to help people of Africa as you call them, I know you mean well but at this point the route you are taking has been used before and it does not help at all. I would urge you to follow the last line of your writing and find a way to teach the people of Africa how to fish instead of sending them left over fish. There a number of ways as already covered here and here and here but I would like to add the following.

1million T-shirts

1million T-shirts

  1. 1. Start by urging your government to stop artificial trade barriers? to African countries and instead follow the path they took with the? Marshall plan for Europe after World War II. You see Africans are very hard working people and the only problem here is that the continent is still not that advance in technology as where you come from. Therefore most of the things we produce are agriculture based,
  2. 2. Invest in Africa and tell your friends to do so, you see, business create jobs, train work force , develop the surrounding and the same time they also do charity work. This will be killing many birds at once.

Regards

Finally, there is this? Facebook group called Africa is a continent, not a country! And no I cannot speak Africa, where members tell some of the surprising questions they are being asked by ignorant people from the western world about Africa. The group as per the time of this writing has 65, 510 members and the following are the examples of what people are saying

Merrie Go-round i’ve been asked if we we ran around naked…..did we live in a house (poor), did we live wi th the lions how did u get here (australia) lol ….some ppl so ignotent =/

Yohana Kicha Fitfit Ghidei i was asked if we have banks?..if we wear shoes? n if i tell them that am from African..they give me a look that says…”why the hell are light skinned then” i was also asked how i got here(united states) how the hell do u think??…i rode a camel then i swam the entire Atlantic ocean..wtf?? so ignorant!

Yosra Tag lololololololololol.. i’ve been asked if i’m riding a camel lol i was like WTH.. how come i’m riding a camel and chatting with you on fb at the same time .. we dont have electric camels yet hahahahahahaha

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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