NPR

Logos On Aid Supplies: Helpful, Demeaning ... Or Dangerous?

Everyone has an opinion about the big logos slapped on humanitarian handouts, from bags of food to temporary toilets. Are they helpful? Or do they make recipients feel like "supplicants."
A Palestinian woman and her children receive supplies from the International Committee of the Red Cross at a refugee camp in Gaza; a latrine project in Haiti financed by Oxfam; a UNICEF tent at a refugee camp in Iraq. Source: Abid Katib/Getty Images; Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images; Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

It seems like a pretty simple thing. When a humanitarian group hands out bags of food or sets up toilets for people who are poor or recovering from a crisis, the group puts its logo on the product.

It's a way of taking credit, which makes donors happy. It's a way of letting the recipients know where to complain if there's a problem. And if you're sitting at home and catch the logo on a TV report, you might be inspired to contribute to that particular charity.

But now, some people are questioning the branding of aid goods.

The first concern: How do the logos make aid recipients feel?

, an international reporter and, tweeted an image of a corrugated latrine door from a trip to the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda in May. Oversize signs for the U.K.'s Department for International Development and UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, take up nearly half of the door.

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