Resource October 10, 2019

Meet the Journalist: Peter DiCampo


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The effectiveness of foreign aid is hotly debated, but the voices of aid recipients are often...

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Children play on a broken PlayPump in Mfera, Chikhwawa District, Malawi, June 10, 2015. The PlayPump in Mfera was installed on February 11, 2009, and stopped working in April 2012. The organization that installed it replaced a perfectly working handpump, and the PlayPump never pumped as much water as the handpump. After the PlayPump broke, it was replaced with another handpump.

"What Went Wrong?" is a citizen journalism project that focuses a critical lens on failed foreign aid interventions — whether they are stalled, unfinished, broken, insufficient, unusable, or otherwise unwanted. In this video, photojournalist and project cofounder Peter DiCampo describes the project's history and rationale. DiCampo experienced firsthand the likelihood of development projects to fail while living and working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Ghana. After reporting on and photographing examples of failed aid in Ghana and Malawi, he and his colleagues felt that the recipients of foreign aid need a larger platform to voice their own opinions. They launched a mobile phone reporting system in Kenya through which people could call or text in – hear more about their findings here.


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