The greatest loser


January 28th, 2011

Have you watched our ‘Fat of the Land’ video? I imagine pretty early on you guessed it was a spoof? Some people have been more confused and having watched the film they jump to the small print – I imagine to be sure whether it’s real or not.

Our 'Fat of the land' video spoof has got people thinking


But what’s it all about?

A fundamental principle of Practical Action’s work is that it should start from the people themselves. Development shouldn’t be imposed. Engaging people and working together to develop and/or implement solutions is the way poverty reduction becomes truly sustainable.

You still see and hear of examples where aid (often big projects) is imposed. I’ve recently seen examples of loos and water pumps installed but with no thought as to their maintenance. When they go wrong or need repair communities have no idea how to fix them and no one to call on. Not Practical Action projects of course.

The issue that ‘Fat’ tackles is broader than this too – it’s about how we think of aid and development. I recently heard an interview on Radio 4 about population, poverty and food – with the argument being that we need GM or on the other hand that we don’t need GM because their push is all about big company profits. At no stage in the conversation did anyone say we need to listen to what people want, what will work for them and what will be sustainable into the longer term. The conversation was framed as the choice of imposed solutions.

What we wanted to do was to create a debate; we also wanted to widen the audience out beyond Radio 4 listeners and those with an interest in poverty reduction. We wanted to engage others. In January much of the UK seems to be obsessed with diets and the body beautiful  – in trying to reach out to a new and bigger audience and get them to think we started with where they are – fat.

And finally I should say thank you to Quietstorm, the advertising agency who made and donated the video to us. Thank you. Together we have got people thinking.

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