The Unwelcome Return of Development Porn

For 35 years now, there has been a raging debate within international NGO circles around the use of images of starving black children in fundraising materials. Guidelines and codes of conduct adopted in several countries nearly a decade ago affirmed that all future communications by international development NGOs must be based on core values of human dignity, respect and truthfulness. Despite this, recent years have witnessed NGOs that should know better reverting to type, calling up disaster images from the 1970s in a desperate attempt to increase their organizational income, whatever the cost. A battle which we thought had been won many years ago clearly needs to be fought afresh in each new generation.