Poverty – could you be part of the problem?

Poverty – could you be part of the problem?

On Monday 4 December, the Lord Mayor of Oxford, in partnership with the Mayday Trust, will be hosting a charity screening of Poverty Inc., a documentary inquiry into the effects of the multibillion dollar poverty industry.

Directed by Michael Matheson Miller and drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty Inc. explores the neo-colonial power dynamics embedded in paternalism underpinning the predominant modes of assistance, which often situate “the poor” as the objects of charity rather than as active protagonists in their own stories.

“I see multiple colonial governors,” says Ghanaian software entrepreneur Herman Chinery-Hesse of the international development establishment in Africa. “We are held captive by the donor community.”

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry – the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing worlds are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.

From TOMs shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to US agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: “Could I be part of the problem?”

The film will be screened in Oxford Town Hall on Monday 4 December at 7pm and will be followed by a panel discussion with experts from the fields of social sciences and international development including:

· Baillie Aaron – Founder and CEO of Spark Inside

· Sabine Alkire – Director of Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

· Sally Copley – Head of Policy, Programmes and Campaigns at Oxfam GB

· Pat MacArdle – CEO of Mayday Trust

· Fatima Najm – Founder of Creatives Against Poverty

· Maff Potts – Director at Camerados

Lord Mayor of Oxford, Cllr Jean Fooks said: “This screening asks us to reconsider how best to help people out of poverty. I am very pleased that we will be joined by representatives from many charities including Mayday Trust and Practical Action to share their approaches to poverty and development.”

Tickets are priced at £10 plus booking fee and all proceeds will go towards the Lord Mayor’s three chosen charities: Mayday Trust, Response Giving and Wolvercote Young Peoples Club.

Tickets can be purchased from povertyincoxford.eventbrite.co.uk. Booking fees apply.