UPDATE: The look and language of UNICEF’s Africa’s campaign

By Malena Amusa Aug 16, 2007

Below is the official response from UNICEF about the ads run in Germany:

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We agree — these advertisements are not appropriate and run against UNICEF’s mission. They have been dropped from the UNICEF German National Committee’s website and there are no plans to use them in the future. We apologize for any offence caused. As a UNICEF supporter, you may be interested to know a little more about the German National Committee’s campaign to promote child-friendly schools in six African countries. Launched in late 2004, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that nearly half of all children in Africa lack even primary education. With funds from private donors, 350 schools have been repaired or newly constructed. In addition, several thousand teachers have been trained and school management improved. In total, around 100,000 children and young people have benefited from this campaign since 2004. The right to education for all children is a prerequisite to develop their full potential and a basis for social and economic development. Again, we apologize for any offense caused."

Thanks, Celena. Tip to Color of Change for forwarding this one. Cross-posted from Black Women in Europe. Black Women in Europe wrote:

This is an actual ad-campaign by UNICEF Germany! This campaign is "blackfacing" white children with mud to pose as "uneducated africans“. The headline translates "This Ad-campaign developped pro bono by the agency Jung von Matt/Alster shows four german kids who appeal for solidarity with their contemporaries in Afrika" The first kid says: "I’m waiting for my last day in school, the children in africa still for their first one." second kid: "in africa, many kids would be glad to worry about school" third kid: "in africa, kids don’t come to school late, but not at all" (!) fourth kid: "some teachers suck. no teachers sucks even more." Besides claiming that every single person in "Africa" isn’t educated, and doing so in an extremely patronising way, it is also disturbing that this organisation thinks blackfacing kids with mud (!) equals "relating to african children". Also, the kids’ statements ignore the existence of millions of african academics and regular people and one again reduces a whole continent to a village of muddy uneducated uncivilized people who need to be educated (probably by any random westerner). This a really sad regression. Bottom lines of this campaign are: Black = mud = African = uneducated. White = educated. We feel this campaign might do just as much harm as it does any good. You don’t collect money for helping people by humiliating and trivializing them first. Unfortunately, if it was clear to the average German that this is wrong, UNICEF and the advertising agency wouldn’t come out with such a campaign. Please write your opinion and help make clear and explain why it is wrong to use "blackface with mud", and write to UNICEF at publicrelations@unicef.de as well as the advertising agency at info@jvm.de with a copy to Black German media-watch-orgaiztion info@derbraunemob.de what you feel about this campaign and why. Please include a line that you’re going to publish your mail and the response. by the way, the slogan of the advertising agency who came up with this, reads "we communicate on eye-level". sincerely, Noah Sow NOTE: The pictures uploaded here are not in the same order in which they appear on the UNICEF site