A comical Kenyan production that is out to mock the international aid industry is on the waves. Reports on numerous scandals involving charitable organizations both locally and around the world have made headlines in foreign and local media. Most commonly, the reports indicate that the organizations spend more than they deliver on the projects geared towards their missions; with lavish salaries for top executives and high expenses on office, travel and other perks. That explains why in Kenya for instance, working for an NGO is often considered an affluent job as the sector is characterized by handsome pay.
Questionable funding practices and a lack of transparency by NGO’s keep raising eyebrows with more calls coming up across the globe in demand of accountability by aid organizations.
It’s such an observation that inspired 35 year old Hussein Kurji, to create a Kenyan satirical online series titled The Samaritans, whose storyline aims to make a mockery of the international aid business by highlighting some of the absurdities surrounding the sector.
Of particular inspiration according to Kurji is a story of an American charity that held an auction to raise money for endangered rhinos, and the prize was ridiculously a hunting trip in Namibia for a rhino.
The Samaritan series is produced by Kenyan-based Xeinium Productions and the storyline revolves around the chronicles of, Aid For Aid –an NGO that does nothing.
Among the cast is Kenya’s finest actresses Allison Kariuki, Sarah Hassan and Fridah Muhindi.
Ironically, while the film is taking on the NGO world, one organization in the same field was apparently impressed by the issues raised by the series that it funded the production and made it possible for The Samaritan to go live in October 2013.
According to Kurji, the show aims to initiate dialogue and get people talking and thinking about the contexts in which aid works and to also help highlight ways of fixing broken organizations.
“Most of the decisions made on projects to be funded by are constantly made by people who are not on the ground, and have no idea of what’s happening,” Kurji said.