Great moments in development communication, part 94

by | Jun 20, 2012

It’s always fun when development practitioners decide to attempt to communicate with actual members of the public, and this large billboard, which I drive past most days in Addis Ababa, is an especially pleasing case in point.

Apart from the enigma of just what it is that we’re supposed to be replacing (the climate? the sapling that this woman appears to have uprooted a few minutes earlier? this advert?), one is left to contemplate the still more profound mystery of whether the people most in need of coping strategies to help them adapt to climate change are likely to be in a position to visit to download them, as the ad helpfully suggests.

Still, this is as nothing compared to what happens if you actually try to follow the link. For a few precious moments, you are indeed presented with a list of coping strategies – but then you’re automatically redirected to a totally different site with, er, no coping strategies on it.

If, like me, you have nothing better to do than reload the original page over and over again so that you can peruse the coping strategies on offer, you soon find that there’s advice on climate adaptation in the US, the Philippines, the Mekong river, Bangladesh, northern Nigeria, and southern Africa … but, ahem, not Ethiopia.

Still, it’s good to know that should we face a coastal storm surge here, we’ll know what to do.

OK, we’re landlocked. But still.


  • Alex Evans

    Alex Evans is founder of the Collective Psychology Project, which explores how we can use psychology to reduce political tribalism and polarisation, a senior fellow at New York University, and author of The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? (Penguin, 2017). He is a former Campaign Director of the 50 million member global citizen’s movement Avaaz, special adviser to two UK Cabinet Ministers, climate expert in the UN Secretary-General’s office, and was Research Director for the Business Commission on Sustainable Development. He was part of Ethiopia’s delegation to the Paris climate summit and has consulted for Oxfam, WWF UK, the UK Cabinet Office and US State Department. Alex lives with his wife and two children in Yorkshire.

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