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Poverty Porn Not For The Greater Good

Poverty Porn Not For The Greater Good

Poverty is an old enemy that has many faces. Poverty Porn is exploiting the poor destitute person in order to achieve success for the greater good, in the end, outweighs the means.

African cooking in Rwanda camp for internally displaced people

Poverty porn is considered any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause.

Poverty porn is typically associated with poverty-stricken Africans, but can be found everywhere.
Poverty porn is typically associated with
poverty-stricken Africans,
but can be found everywhere. 
"Poverty porn is typically associated with poverty-stricken Africans but can be found everywhere. The subjects are overwhelming children, with the material usually characterized by images or descriptions of suffering, malnourished or otherwise helpless persons. The stereotype of poverty porn is the African child with a swollen belly, staring blankly into the camera, waiting for salvation," states AidThoughts.

Benefits Street is a British documentary series documenting the people who live on James Turner Street, Birmingham County of the United Kingdom in which nearly 90% of its residents live off government-funded benefits. Benefits Street has caused an uproar with critics as an offensive example of poverty porn.

National Geographic’s #EndPoverty Hashtag Challenge, which encourages users to submit their most compelling photos “that best describes the term #EndPoverty” is deemed as a charity gimmick promising simple solutions for complex issues of poverty. While such images may indeed increase donations to charities fighting poverty, academics and experts agree poverty porn is ineffective in creating meaningful, sustainable change on the issue.

 Some believe poverty porn for the greater good of society, in the end outweighs the means.
Some believe poverty porn for the greater
good of society, in the end outweighs the means. 
The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the January 12, 2010 magnitude 7 Haiti earthquake. The catastrophe also unleashed an unprecedented flood of humanitarian aid $13.5 billion in donations and pledges with images of children sitting atop rubble crying for help. Nearly 1.5 million people were displaced; the Red Cross received nearly 500 million dollars. 

The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. However, the actual number of permanent homes the Red Cross has built in Haiti is six. The political chaos is one big reason though by no means the only one why the billions in relief and recovery aid have not been enough to rescue Haiti from the disasters.


Poverty is an old enemy that has many faces. Some believe poverty porn for the greater good of society, in the end, outweighs the means. However, meaningful, sustainable change will not take place with poverty porn, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is a complex issue. 

However, the key that leads to meaningful, long-term change in the reduction of poverty is stable effective leadership. Stable effective leaders provide a stabilizing influence and are leaders you can build around not using poverty porn as a means to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.


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