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Images of starving Africans is putting off people giving money to continent: 'Band Aid image' counter-productive, warns Oxfam British public is desensitised to images of hunger, drought and diseaseOnly one in five believe they can play an active role in ending hunger
Advertising portrayals branded 'depressing, manipulative and hopeless'
13:21 GMT, 27 December 2012
Band Aid stereotypes of Africa are no longer moving the British public and leaving people on the continent starving, Oxfam has warned.
The aid agency said the public must shake-off the portrayals of Africa promoted by the celebrity-driven campaigns of the 1980s and 2004.
Oxfam stressed the majority of people have become desensitised to images depicting issues such as hunger, drought and disease.
Hunger: The public has become desensitised to images such as this of famine and drought in Ethiopia
Over-exposure to negative media and
advertising portrayals of Africa and developing countries in other parts
of the world was described as 'depressing, manipulative and hopeless'
by respondents to a YouGov survey of more than 2,000 people.
Nearly 50 per cent of those polled said it made them feel that conditions for people living in the developing world would never improve.
When asked to select what they thought
were the three most pressing problems facing Africa over the next year,
almost half identified hunger.
And although 74 per cent thought it
was ultimately possible to bring an end to hunger in Africa, only one
in five believe they could play an active role in this.
'Give us your money': Band Aid stars (left to right) George Michael, Bob Geldof, Sting and Simon LeBon
In response, Oxfam is launching a new campaign to try to refocus public support for the cause.
the Food for All campaign, the charity aims to show the continent's
potential instead of just its problems by striking a more optimistic
It comes 18 years after Bob Geldof and Midge Ure formed super group Band Aid and released Do They Know It's Christmas to help tackle famine in Ethiopia. The campaign was revived in 1989 and again in 2004.
Oxfam chief executive, Barbara Stocking, said: 'Oxfam has led the way in drawing attention to the plight of Africa's most vulnerable people and we aren't trying to gloss over the problems that still beset so many of them, particularly levels of malnutrition that remain stubbornly high.
Malnourished: Refugees wait for their daily ration of corn porridge at a refugee camp in Angola
'But we've come a long way since the 1980s and Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas We need to shrug off the old stereotypes and celebrate the continent's diversity and complexity, which is what we are attempting with this campaign.
'The relentless focus on ongoing problems at the expense of a more nuanced portrait of the continent, is obscuring the progress that is being made towards a more secure and prosperous future.
'If we want people to help fight hunger we have to give them grounds for hope by showing the potential of countries across Africa; it's a natural instinct to turn away from suffering when you feel you can do nothing to alleviate it.'
In another recent Oxfam poll, when asked to name the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Africa, more than half of 1,295 respondents spontaneously mentioned issues relating to hunger, famine or poverty.
Visit www.oxfam.org.uk/food to learn more about Oxfam's work on food security or text FOOD to 70066 to donate 5.
Aid: Refugees wait for water at a camp on the Somalia-Kenya border set up for victims of drought and famine