How and why did No White Saviors start?
It started as a conversation amongst friends who saw the need to address the White Savior Industrial Complex as a symptom of white supremacy, an area of discussion which had been strongly ignored in development & aid work on the continent. The continued portrayal of white people as heroes of every story from time immemorial catalyzed this conversation around creating strategies to decolonize community development in Africa. Please see our “Who We Are” page to read more about our story.
Who is involved with NWS?
We are a female-led group of activists who are strongly passionate about challenging the White Savior Complex but also working towards justice and action. Check out our Team page to read more about us.
Are you a nonprofit or NGO?
We are registered as a Ugandan community-based organization that is transitioning to an NGO.
Why is a white person on your team?
The white person on our team identifies as a white savior in recovery, and she offers her perspective as someone who has been a part of the problem and still is. Her work focuses on holding her fellow white people accountable, taking on some of the labor that is not appropriate for African people who have to deal with white supremacy every day.
Does Africa need foreign aid?
Yes, with no strings attached. For every $1 in, $24 go out. Africa needs foreign backpay and reparations and a halt to looting and predatory relationships.
Shouldn’t Africa be grateful that white people and any other persons in positions of privilege are helping?
The question is, how are you helping? If your need to help is not helping to solve the root causes of the most pressing problems on the African continent but rather creating a dependency pattern and upholding white supremacy then please, do not help us. The very systems that give you the power and resources to help us are the ones that are unjustly exploiting us, and we believe that we deserve much more than charity.
Is there a time when western expertise is needed/necessary?
There is a tendency to think that white people are experts in everything, even when they are not, and thus to prefer them over Africans. While some of these ‘experts’ may have valuable skills to share, they cannot accomplish much without collaboration with African leaders, experts, and community members.
How can I help without portraying white saviorism?
The best approach to helping without portraying yourself as a white savior is an ethical one that explicitly and implicitly identifies ethical principles and questions as guidelines to making decisions about helping.
What are your thoughts on volunteerism/voluntourism?
If you don’t have the qualifications, simply don’t do it. Empathy and love shouldn’t be your only reasons – you need more than that in order to make a lasting and beneficial change. Give your tourist dollars to African business and donate to African-led organizations, which will support the people who are investing in these communities long before and after your short trip.
What do you think of short-term missions trips?
Generally, a short-term mission or service trip is more about the ‘experience’ for the individual taking the trip than it is about the community they are travelling to. If you really got honest with yourself, the money you’re spending to travel could be better invested directly to the project you are going to volunteer with. With that said, there are some instances where your unique or specialized skillset can be useful.
How can I travel respectfully?
Don’t take photos of people without asking. Take into account the difference in culture and values of different communities
Do you hate white people?
No, we don’t hate white people; we want them to put their privilege to good use, and to ultimately change the systems that give them more power. We want to hold them accountable for their actions when they are harmful because white people have been allowed to act with impunity on the African continent for centuries. We also believe that even if you are helping, you should not be the hero of the story.
How can I support or get involved?
You can get involved by following our Instagram, contributing to our work financially, or hiring us to do consulting work. Ultimately, we hope that you will also make conscious and intentional efforts to decolonize your mind and shift power dynamics to the Africans that you hope to support.
What are your future plans?
We have expansive visions and ideas for our future, including opening up No White Saviors chapters in different parts of the continent to continuously engage people in the decolonization process against white supremacy. We want to secure greater funding from our supporters in order to grow our grassroots movement and change the entire landscape of development in Africa. We plan on continuing to educate people, for instance incorporating the WSC as a topic of discussion in school curriculums, and supporting greater numbers of African-led initiatives on the ground.
Can a black person be racist?
We don’t have to water this down: a black person cannot be racist against a white person. They can display racism towards their own when they prefer anything close to whiteness (internalized oppression).
Is it okay for white people to foster/adopt black children?
While it should be treated as the last option, we understand that it may sometimes be necessary. We need to see a shift where supporting vulnerable families to keep their children is prioritized before offering to take their children away. We also need to see foster care and adoption made more accessible to Black families. White families who adopt/foster Black children must be committed to engaging in anti-racism education as well as prepared to make necessary sacrifices.
Where does the money you raise go?
The money donated to us goes to our three programs of advocacy, education, and action. We partner with different grassroots organizations as a way of strengthening the fight for justice in different areas of the country. Please check out our What We Do page for more information.
Can you talk to my friend about how not to be a white savior?
You can recommend people to follow us on our social media accounts for educative and informative posts that challenge white supremacy.