Development cooperation requires awareness of the past and the structures from which it emerged. In this context, it is crucial to deal with the topics of colonial heritage and racism. In the area of development cooperation, this has been critically reflected upon for some time and has received new urgency in 2020 with the Black Lives Matter movement. As an organisation, we therefore want to address this highly important topic and draw fields of action for ourselves from it.
We therefore hosted a presentation and discussion on Friday 26 February 2021 on the topic of “Colonial heritage and racism in development cooperation: spotlight on public relations, its images and language”.
Public relations often use images and terms adopted from colonial times. But repeating the narrative of the need for aid and inferiority of countries of the Global South over and over again reduces people to a “single story” (see TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie below) that feeds racist perceptions and persistent global injustice. What are some of the new approaches to public relations? What guidelines and self-check tools are there that can help us shape public relations to focus on the question of responsibility and provide solution-oriented ways of thinking? These were the questions we addressed at this online event and discussed with other organisations that participated.
We are grateful to have had Helena Matschiner from „Bildung trifft Entwicklung (BtE, English: Education meets Development)“ (www.bte-bayern.de) facilitate this event, which was generously subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development via the BtE programme.
We would like to thank the facilitator and the participating organisations for the very stimulating input and discussion! As a next step, we are looking forward to working out concrete actions in our work and to further opportunities for exchange.