The challenges of running an NGO are legion. How do you raise enough money to cover the staff’s hefty salaries? What acronym for the next funding application is the most meme-worthy? Which buzzwords will trigger the appropriate mix of earnestness, compassion and flattered ego? But such dilemmas fortunately have a solution: a wine-besotted lunch over a game of Scrabble to brainstorm.
A new Kenyan mockumentary called “The Samaritans" is providing satirical insights into the lint-filled belly button of NGO work. The comedy, a Kenyan version of “The Office,” is about Aid for Aid, a (somewhat) fictitious org that “does nothing.”
The parody depicts an international charity that is divorced from its mission of “saving Africa” and preoccupied with less noble pursuits. Producers of “The Samaritans” hope to show Kenya on a lighter note, without the “slums and guns.” But the series has helped reignite a humorous self-reflection on the conduct of Western NGOs’ work in African countries.