Why We're Going To Hack Our Own Campaigns

Prepare for a moment of candid honesty.

We don't have all the answers. Not even close.

We've (Christian Aid) been doing this for over 70 years and in that time we've tried a dizzying array of different ways to alleviate and ultimately end world poverty. We've worked with incredible organisations on the ground in the poorest countries in the world. We've advocated for systemic change at the highest levels. We've taken to the streets, knocked on doors and clicked through thousands of powerpoint slides in our quest to make a difference.

Some of it worked beautifully.

Other things haven't worked out the way we hoped at all.

But the hardest pill to swallow is that the initiatives that started off as rock star ideas slowly dwindled into redundancy. Sometimes it's hard to face the fact that something just doesn't work anymore.

Let's look at a classic example. Throughout the 80s and 90s it became standard practice to show pictures of African people in great distress. We've all seen pictures and video footage of swollen bellies and emaciated bodies. The message came through loud and clear.

'These people need our help. We can't stand idly by.'

This imagery was used by everyone from Live Aid to Comic Relief to some of our own TV fundraising. The reason being that it worked. The money came pouring in and it was duly spent saving lives and building better futures for whole communities.

But at what cost?

The ubiquity of such images on our screens and on posters and billboards had and continues to have a toxic effect on our perceptions. It homogenised a whole continent. It cast Africans principally as victims and lost causes. It ignored the vast, mind-boggling complexity of 54 sovereign nations, each with their own traditions, histories and economies.

So yeah, we get things wrong. Like I said, we don't have all the answers.

That's why we need your help.

That's why we're hosting the Holy Hack. A whole day dedicated to setting aside what we've always done and thinking about what we could do.

We're coming to you as a community of practice. As activists and artists and doers. We want to hack the way we talk about and act on global injustice. Keep the best of us but introduce new ideas, new technologies, understand new ways of being and doing in the 21st century.

What could a network of people, dedicated to ending injustice look like in ten years time?

In a hundred?

How can we be made ready?

We're asking 72 people to join us in asking these questions.