Elsewhere online
March 31, 2011

Opinion: Celebrity Charity Not Only Issue in Madonna’s Malawi Failure

The failure of a Madonna-sponsored organization to build a planned girls’ academy in Malawi says as much about the nature of “top-down development projects” as it does about celebrity-driven charity, according to a Guardian opinion writer.

Raising Malawi abandoned the school effort last week after project officials ran up $3.8-million in often questionable expenses.

The project’s failure shows that “good intentions are not enough,” Claire Provost writes in a contribution to the British daily’s online Comment Is Free opinion blog, but also “points to much deeper debates about how development happens: Can it come from outside and above? Or must it come from inside and below?”

Ms. Provost says the spotlight trained on the Malawi scandal due to Madonna’s involvement should shine “less on the diva and more on the deeper challenges of development: transparency, accountability, and engagement from below.”