The Radi-Aid Awards

About the Awards

The Radi-Aid Awards – originally named The Radiator Awards – is an annual event created by the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH).

Emerging from their satirical campaign and music video ‘Radi-Aid: Africa for Norway’, since 2013 the awards have celebrated the best – and the worst – of development charity fundraising videos.

The aim is to change the way fundraising campaigns communicate, and to engage people in issues of poverty and development.

This year, for the first time, PhotoVoice worked in partnership with the Radi-Aid Awards to bring new photo categories and our CEO, Tom Elkins joined the impressive list of judges which included: 

Rafia Zakaria – Author, attorney and human rights activist from Pakistan, currently residing in the US. 

Edward Echwalu – Award-winning photo journalist based in Kampala, Uganda, with an extended reach across Africa. 

Sean Jacobs – Founder and editor of Africa is a Country, a site of media criticism, analysis and news writing. 

Leah Chung – A social designer who works at the intersection of design and public policy. 

The Awards

The Rusty Radiator Award goes to the fundraising video with the worst use of stereotypes. This kind of portrayal is not only unfair to the persons portrayed in the campaign, but also hinders long-term development and the fight against poverty.

Below are the videos nominated for the Rusty Radiator Award. Interestingly, all of the videos nominated are British, with two featuring celebrities, Ed Sheeran and Tom Hardy.




The Golden Radiator Award – Video goes to the fundraising video which moves beyond depictions utilizing passive subjects, provides context, portrays people as active rather than passive, moves beyond stereotypes, describes tangible and achievable solutions to issues, and inspires rather than provokes guilt.

The videos nominated show us that fundraising material can be creative and informative.





True Freedom from Rescue:Freedom on Vimeo.

Media Coverage

The Guardian

“Ed Sheeran Comic Relief film branded ‘poverty porn’ by aid watchdog” 

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“Aid adverts featuring ‘white saviours’ may bring in cash but they remove all dignity from those who are suffering” 

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BBC World Service 

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“Ed Sheeran up for offensive fundraising award, but charities defend videos”

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Deutshce Welle TV

“The Norwegian student organisation @saih is calling out big aid organisations for objectifying and dehumanising the very people they’re aiming to help.”

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Third Force News

“Revealed: Ed Sheeran stars in 2017′s worst poverty porn charity appeal” 

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Daily Mail

“Celebrity charity appeals are branded ‘poverty porn’: Aid watchdog describes video showing Ed Sheeran meeting a street boy in Liberia as ‘terrible’. 

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BBC News 

“Ed Sheeran’s charity film nominated as ‘most offensive’.”

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“Did Ed Sheeran commit ‘poverty tourism’ in charity film?”

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