Millionares' Mission

Submitted by myraidgoups on April 29, 2008 - 12:33pm.

I just watched an episode of Channel 4's Millionnaires' Mission. From the Channel 4 site:
Eight British self-made millionaires: the essence of business know-how and entrepreneurial can-do. But what can they do when faced with the day-to-day challenges of a rural African village? Can they bring a new angle to the complex issues of development and aid?

This is a great series in that it shows all the things that we do wrong so often in 'real' aid work, but then condensed into just a couple of weeks.

It is worthwhile to watch this series with an eye to your own reactions. I noticed on several occasions when I saw the millionaires/aid workers make horrific mistakes that I was reacting in an almost visceral way -- but then realised that I probably would have made the same mistakes if I would have been in the same position of responsibility at the start of my career in aid work, and have seen other people make those same mistakes due to having been placed in (sometimes: thrust into) too responsible positions too early. I think the only thing that you can really blame these men and women for is that they do not listen too well to their World Vision mentor.

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by jcravens42 on April 29, 2008 - 3:00pm.

Wish I got this show in Germany!

<><><><>
Jayne Cravens
www.coyotecommunications.com/development/
Bonn, Germany

Submitted by Jennyk on April 29, 2008 - 3:39pm.

Unfortunately Channel 4 did not have any links to clips or anything like that to really get a feel for the show. Since I couldn't see how it breaks down, I am wondering, do you think this kind of show would be more likely to encourage people with money to pick a place in Africa and decide they can go and "save" the town or something like that? Perhaps someone might say "Oh I can do that better, I wouldn't make a mistake like that". Or does it really help to highlight the problems of working in development & why someone should really think through an attempt to try this sort of thing?

I know it's kind of a broad generalization, but I am just curious, especially given some of the recent postings on AWN.

Jenny

Submitted by myraidgoups on April 30, 2008 - 10:57am.

To be honest: I have no clue how this works out. I am not a millionaire (or even moderately wealthy), and I am of course bringing a history in aid work with me. I have only one person in my circle of friends who would fit the bill of being rich and interested in doing something similar, but she has a long history of supporting and closely monitoring aid projects and possibly knows more about aid work than many aid workers themselves.

To get to my point after this ramble: you should probably ask somewhere where there are some potential Maecenases around. Is there anybody from World Vision on this forum who would like to comment?

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by myraidgoups on May 6, 2008 - 3:06pm.

Just saw the second episode, and am actually starting to be quite impressed. These people learn fast! After two weeks in the field, they are more or less at the point where I was after four months. (This could also mean that I was a spectacularly slow learner, of course.)

They are still making beginner's mistakes, of course, but they even dealt with a security scare of sorts in a reasonably effective way. Team dynamics also resemble 'real' life on a pressure cooker, with the first time that somebody told other team members that it was impossible to work with them occurring at day 9.

The only thing that really bugs me about the series are the seriously sanitised subtitles. Sorry, guys, 'wazungu' does not mean 'business people', and yes, Africans can be racist too.

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by myraidgoups on May 13, 2008 - 12:29pm.

The third episode was a bit more of the same, with one millionaire/aid worker leaving early with his project unfinished and shifting the burden of finishing it onto his team mates (sounds familiar too, doesn't it?). This time there was a bit more attention for HR issues, especially how to find people who will manage the results of the project (in this case a guest house/education project) on behalf of the community after the aid workers leave.

Cheers,
Michael

Submitted by jcravens42 on May 15, 2008 - 1:09pm.

It sounds like a great show. I hope it shows up somewhere in Germany (even if it gets dubbed).

<><><><>
Jayne Cravens
www.coyotecommunications.com/development/
Bonn, Germany

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