For decades, nonprofits have used disturbing images of poverty, disease, and death to inspire pity among potential donors. While these sorts of images have had some success in generating funding, they have also produced a perception of people dealing with poverty as victims, incapable of solving their own problems, and somehow fundamentally different than those in first world countries.
Stop the Pity originated as a video campaign launched in 2011 by Mama Hope, an organization that empowers African communities to tackle challenging projects and build their own future. Mama Hope was tired of seeing non-profit videos that portrayed the communities and the people they worked with as victims. Mama Hope didn’t want to create videos that just told the story of their founder or their organization with silent images of the people they help but rather videos that showed the light of the people they serve—the dancing, the singing, the laughter, the entrepreneurial spirit.