Saturday, November 12, 2011

Crocheting out of poverty......?

My reaction after watching this video that my friend had sent me was:

"Oh, what a delightful little satirical video of crazy development aid projects."

I was convinced that this was a joke for four reasons:

1) Krocheting for Kids?!......Now that just sounds made up.

2) The three guys running the project look like cast members of a Saturday Night Live-like show (I thought I had been away for so long that these were just some comedians I hadn't heard of).

3) The fact that they used Bing to search for things on the internet.....I mean seriously, who actually uses Bing without being forced to.

and finally because of this guy:

 "Wow these guys must be super committed to the joke, they even made an entire website for it."

I must have watched the video 10 times over to find clues of it being a joke. I even started going through the website, reading all their finance report, while still thinking to myself; "This is one elaborate joke"............. I think the fact that they were advertising sweaters for chickens didn't really help.

Eventually, I came to terms with it. These guys were serious. 

So naturally, I put on my cynic cap on and began to think of the many ways in which this idea fails. 

"Hopefully, they actually cause more harm than they help...." I began to lustfully dream while stroking my chin. 

I came up with nothing*.

After getting over the mild depression that came with the death of my cynical side I began to think positively. 

As ridiculous as this idea was, it had its benefits. 1) capacity building, 2) creation of livelihoods, 3) sustainability (a donor somewhere just came himself). 
These guys aren't dumping these hats in the developing world (SWEDOW) and they aren't portraying their 'beneficiaries' (they don't actually eve use the word) as miserable helpless people (poverty porn) -- although thats probably because they can't afford to not have the camera focusing on anyone else but themselves (booya, I still got that snark). 

Although one thing that did get me thinking was their choice of location......Uganda. They have their story as to how they started there, but recently I have been hearing about a lot of these micro-development projects popping up there, e.g. DIG. It seems that Uganda has become a test market for all these new innovative projects. Maybe its because the country is relatively stable but just not too developed that you can't establish a grassroots project there. Anyways, it was just interesting to note. 

So in the end, as much as I would like to be a dick, I have to let these hipster bros (I have been away for too long) go, holster my guns of snark and save them for the day Prendergrast decides to rear his head back in the public will be soon. I can feel it. 

* So some negative things to point out: We have no idea where the materials/wool for these hats are coming from.....maybe they are conflict wool. Also, their finance report reads like a 9 year old's toy box inventory. Finally, the purchase of these hats may cause damage on the Chinese economy, the traditional manufacturer of junk. 


  1. I used my favourite search engine (Google) to look them up, and actually found this interesting article about them:

    They actually make sense, and I think, they have actually thought about what they are doing.

  2. Actually, because of your great post I felt compelled to think about crocheting, too. My main concern is that there seems to be very little accountability and transparency involved:

  3. The cynicism is strong within you.........young padawan (tried to avoid the starwars reference,....failed)

    So I was talking to my friend about this last night and it is quite strange how this project can still be classified as aid. I would've probably been happier to see it as just a private company with a damn good marketing angle (helping people out of poverty). I think that way, the lack of transparency and accountability becomes a lot less of a problem, and they still get the same results.