“What if?” Questions with answers for a paradigm shift in the Aid System

Marie-Rose Romain Murphy

Created 02/22/2021



What if… the shroud of invisibility that has been forced upon the reality of socio-economic and geopolitical dynamics of the foreign Aid sector was peeled back to reveal the blinding truth?

In “Invisible Man”, Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece novel about the condition of Black people in America, he states: “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” 

Close your eyes and think about Aid. What do you see?

Most likely you saw a White man or a White woman helping Black children somewhere in Africa. That image is no accident. It’s part of the dominant narrative of the White savior complex that permeates everything except for “affected communities” and poor helpless “aid recipients” that are accessory props. It’s a part of the public relations face of Aid that renders Global South leaders, organizations and stakeholders “invisible”.

Additionally, dominant Global North media networks and conglomerates make Global South interventions and actions invisible by only reporting and highlighting the work of “white” Western organizations. International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) more often than not fail to acknowledge the essential work of their local subcontractors and credit them for it (an issue that localization advocates have brought forth). If silence is oppression, the consistent erasure and deliberate omission of actual events is annihilation.

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