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International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) have different strategies of raising awareness and funds for their causes. Sometimes however, these strategies can rely on the use of stereotypical or dehumanizing depictions of people from the developing world. We have all seen the images of hungry children with bloated stomachs, presumably from some African or Asian country. To what extent do these narratives present a grossly simplified version of the struggles people in poverty face? The term “poverty porn” has been coined to describe these kinds of shock-based images which reduce people to their vulnerability and helplessness. Narratives within INGO media campaigns can either contribute to, or combat stereotypical images of developing regions. The first section of this research will discuss representations of people from developing regions. Second, the research will examine strategies employed in several digital-based INGO media campaigns through their use of visual and verbal tools. Third, the research will analyze the ethical nature of media campaigns which contribute to or combat stereotypes. It is important for international non-governmental organizations and those within the field of international development to consider how communication strategies impact the understanding we have of developing regions. This research aims to look critically at INGO communications and provide best practices for organizations constructing their own media campaigns.
global citizenship certificate, INGOs, communication for development, international development, media campaigns, poverty