Images of sad and starving black children – they trigger pity and guilt in their viewers. Development aids associate these images with slogans such as: “Sustainable development aid” and “Help for self-help”. Intelligently chosen slogans that should enable the viewer to quickly intervene in suffering. The viewer becomes a donor and has the feeling of doing something thoughtful and good.
As a designer, you learn early on to work with a target group in mind. From this perspective, the target group of development aid could be described as donor-oriented. The question remains open, however, what about the supposedly actual target group – those in need? It is clear that development aid depends on donations. But is it even possible for such an organization to work in a recipient-oriented way? And if so, how would this affect the visual and rhetorical design of development aid?
Christian Lojdl, a physiotherapist and co-founder of a development aid association, has been grappling with this issue for some time. In July 2006, he founded the association UgandaKids e.V. together with six like-minded people.
On the basis of reports about Lojdl’s experiences with development aid and his recipient-oriented approach at UgandaKids e.V., we will enter into a discussion about the dichotomy of target group orientation.