Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Charity Wednesdays - Madonna

I just bought my tickets to see Madonna in October.  I'm crazy excited to see this icon of my generation in concert.

So today's post is all about her.

It's no secret that Madonna is rich.  Crazy rich.  Like most rich people, she gives big chunks of her money away. 

These days, most of Madonna's charitable contributions are done through an organization she established, Raising Malawi.  Two of Madonna's children were adopted from Malawi and Raising Malawi strives to improve the lives of vulnerable children in that small African country.

Since it's founding in 2006, Raising Malawi has faced criticism over its development work.  The organization originally took a 'top-down' approach to aid that assumed a solution before meeting with other stakeholders involved in the problem.  This approach, I think, is typical of organizations and people new to development work.  They see a problem and what seems like an obvious solution. But once on the ground in a foreign culture with different social, political, and economic norms, they find that not everyone sees the problem the same way.  They find that their 'obvious' solution isn't so obvious and that the real answers may take shapes they could never have envisioned on their own.

This seems to be the case, in particular, with a planned girls' school that Raising Malawi tried to build and which proved to be a constructive failure for the organization.

But good organizations learn from their mistakes.  Earlier this year, Raising Malawi announced that it is taking a more 'bottom up' approach by partnering with another nonprofit  that has experience in working with local communities to build schools in Malawi.

Madonna's career has seen quite an evolution.  It's nice that her charity work has, too.

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