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Without Cameras



Seun Anikulapko Kuti once said to me, that giving with cameras is not giving. It is PR. He said “You don’t have to call a press conference; then bring all the cameras in the world because you have opened a bore hole to provide pipe borne water in a community”

Some people may disagree but he does make a good point. They will say that using celebrities and taking photographs helps increase the media attention which in turn creates a larger awareness for the cause. The increase in awareness means that more help can be offered which snowballs and begins the journey of solving the problem. This is a truth too. It’s a catch twenty- two situation. If you are a public figure with a big following getting involved with charity activities or causes, it will bring attention to the cause, but it will also bring attention to yourself and your public career no doubt, making it positive PR for your image. The real question I suppose is, do you really need a celebrity or paparazzi to authenticate the importance of a cause or convince the public that a certain group of people in society need help?

Lagos has become a growing home for NGO’s. Many redundant in funds and even activities, so out of all of them, just a few are actively working but more people are still registering and opening charities and NGO’s by the dozen, when what they could really be doing is partnering or volunteering with already existing ones that represent their causes or beliefs. Although, they would need to investigate to be sure that it is not a business created to scam or siphon aid funding. It starts to make one question the motive behind it all. It raises doubts as to whether it is about the cause or a self indulgent exercise in personal branding.

I have seen charity events where the overheads involved in putting the events together were so high that that more funds would be raised from just walking around to beg passers by for money. They tend to say the excess proceeds will go to a cause but that happens after the venue, DJ, MC, decorator, and three course meals have been paid for. You start to wonder what would be left after paying 25k for the tickets, because most people wouldn’t donate after shelling such an amount for an invite.

I recall a year ago when some celebrities in Lagos visited an orphanage with provisions and funds to donate. They took tonnes of photographs with the children and blasted them in magazines, newspapers and the internet. Since then I have never heard them speak about the plight of orphaned children or a need for Nigerians to get involved in foster care or more adoptions. I once wrote an article, where I said that “charity to a celebrity is like an opium laced hypodermic needle to a pulsating vein”. They just can’t get enough. Sometimes, you make better impact just doing a food, clothes or book drive or perhaps giving talks to kids in public schools on your day off. Rallying friends and family to put some cash together to buy an incubator in a small local clinic may prevent a baby from being brain dead. It’s never as hard as we think it is to make some kind of difference. As long as we always bear in mind that it isn’t about you. The camera’s and attention may help but it’s the intent that matters.


  1. Chika

    February 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Tru Talk Wana!

  2. lol

    February 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

    So true….

  3. Abby

    February 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Brilliant piece with which I wholeheartedly agree! You’re giving should not be based on how much publicity can be gained from it but due to the heaviness in your heart to do something about the cause.

  4. Mary Abiola

    February 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Nice article.Its very true whatever it is we do it is the motive behind it that really matters.But some people actually do give and nobody gets to hear of t.I think thats the best , just do and disapper

  5. my day

    February 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    when you seek rewards for whatever good you do for people less-privileged than you are it defeats the purpose of your ‘generosity’. If its genuine, nobody need know. Even the people you are feeding fat off their unfortunate situations would be emberrassed at having their pictures splashed all over the place because you decided to tell people that it’s so bad for them, they couldnt even afford a loaf of agege bread. Nobody needs such negative PR, no matter how bad it is with them. Let not your left hand know what your right hand…you know the rest


    February 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I was having this same discussion with someone a few weeks back.
    If they gave a child 20 naira on the street, you will hear about it the next day. “On her birthday, this person went to feed the motherless children and bought them 20 pencils and 10 page books”…seriously???? Its like they do it not to do but to be perceived a certain way. You know what would be news worthy??? Go to a motherless baby home, Adopt 5 children (in fact reduce it to one sef) and raise them like your own!

  7. Hali

    February 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Giving with PR or giving without PR, which I have you done? I think we all need to ask ourselves that question before criticising anyone.

    • N.A

      February 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Hali dear, no one is criticising everyone…having a “which one have u done” mentality is what kills most of us. U r better off not doing anything, than doing with the wrong motives… If christians out there,u would know that when u give with the wrong intention, that ends as a publicity staunt, coz God will NOT acknowledge that,and there will no blessings from heaven. thats even going to deep. Better to not give, than to give and use those in need to favour ur success _then forget about them.

    • shade

      February 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      You’re so right N.A!

      The “giving with PR or giving without PR, which 1 have you done” mentality is what is killing and continues to kill Nigeria. It’s so pathetic. People don’t know how to take constructive criticism without labeling one a hater. It’s very childish.

    • Hali

      February 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Please notice the I wrote ‘which I have you done?’
      At first I wrote ‘which one have you done?’, then I was going to change it to ‘which one have I done?’ hence the confusion. Truth be told I am not the type of person with that mentality of ‘which one have you done?’ I couldn’t really care less. I constantly ask myself that question.
      I am part of an organisation which goes out to feed and help the homeless in the city where I live, a large majority of whom are our African brothers and sisters. Sometimes we pay their rents. Now they one rule we laid down for other people interested is ‘ABSOLUTELY NO CAMERAS’ This to safeguard the dignity of the people we are helping.
      Obviously I understand that sometimes pictures need to be taken for other people to understand the gravity of the suffering etc…
      That said, anyone not doing anything has no right to critise people who are, with or without cameras.

  8. ibb

    February 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    yeah!Giving,with or without the cameras is giving!
    ”u know paparazzi stuff adds some colour to any invent”

  9. Dj Grassroot

    February 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’d rather give whatever anonymously than open a so called NGO most of which are not well managed,the average lifespan of an NGO in Naija is a year….The Personality Ethic of most Nigerians is the main thing behind their philanthropic gestures…..

    In my own opinion giving goes beyond that..start with a poor family in your church/mosque,pay their kids’ tuition without letting them lose their dignity……

    Nigerians should learn to do away with the “If not for me ” syndrome…Do whatever you want to do,be modest and shut your mouth

  10. partyrider

    February 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    very well said

  11. ochella

    February 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    My intrest is on the NGO thingy everyone is starting one and truly like someone commented it doesn’t last.
    When ex beauty queen Ann Sunnier was asked about her pet project, she said she would rather work with someone who had one. I agree.
    I am currently preparing for an MPH while i have my career goals it has never been in my plan to start up an NGO i just look forward to working with properly grounded ones.
    My Advice,
    If we don’t have the fame or money to use to get funds for a good cause lets give ourselves, our usable old cloths toys etc, our time, sacrifice a saturday to help volunteer at a health centre etc.& God will see our hearts and reward us all.
    Thanks Wana.

  12. shade

    February 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Take away point: “It’s never as hard as we think it is to make some kind of difference. As long as we always bear in mind that it isn’t about you.”

    Enough said.

    Lovely Wana..

  13. Cynthia

    February 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I agree Wana with all you’ve said

  14. Timma

    February 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Hmmm, deep and very true.I belong to a particular charity organization in my church and we are not to talk about the cases we have handled and settled outside the meeting but you know what? more and more people turn up each week because the work speaks for itself! Without cameras is really the best way to do this thing! God help us all!

  15. Funmie

    February 17, 2011 at 1:46 am

    i concur

  16. toto

    February 17, 2011 at 5:07 am

    please help support.. i dey beg ni. mi shey

  17. vincent bioseh

    February 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Nice article, Seun is trully the son of Great Fela! Can’t wait for him to continue the cause if he will. Secondly, ‎​ would like to state that the reason GOD gives us wealth is to help the poor around us, so it hurts my bones that celebrates (some once poor and orphans) will take cameras to orphanages and after that, do nothing to better their lifes. Even when it is not news that they can just start a campaign and individuals, corperate bodies and the government will be obliged to sponsor and better the lifes of these children.

  18. Tutu

    February 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I sometimes feel we humans can be a little too hard on ourselves.
    Just the same way people hate people for having money.
    Giving is so important and as a business person PR is very important as well.
    The opportunity to merge them together is invaluable.
    As long as you are genuine when you give I think all else is forgiven, and its not even the gifts that matter when giving its the genuine concern , the love, the smile and the hugs that gives both the giver and the receiver warmth in their bellies.
    The camera being there is a bonus and I will not look down on a genuine gift because the sender wanted to “up” their image while giving. We all love to be rewarded (after all we are humans)!
    Pastor Oyedepo once said if you cannot find someone to give to better start looking for…lol

    Please check out my cousin online fashion store at

  19. Kunmi

    April 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Very true, Wana.
    I always think about the ethical issues involved in these ‘charity events’…

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