By Nick Craven for The Mail on Sunday
Published: 22:00 GMT, 30 November 2019 | Updated: 14:10 GMT, 1 December 2019
Ms Davison, who is the interim boss of Comic Relief until a new chief executive arrives in March, told the NGO Insight conference that all Western charities needed to address how they portray Africa
It was set up to 34 years ago to use star power to help change lives in Africa as well as the UK.
But Comic Relief has become ‘irrelevant, dated and possibly quite harmful’ in the way it represents the continent, according to its own boss.
Chief executive Ruth Davison has acknowledged criticism that the charity depicted a ‘colonial-era’ image of Africa, with accusations that celebrities such as Stacey Dooley and Ed Sheeran have been portrayed as so-called ‘white saviours’.
And she suggested that showing Africans living in abject poverty during the biennial BBC telethon had become counter-productive.
‘We’re so brilliant at what we do and have been for so long that we hadn’t noticed it had tipped from really timely and relevant, into slightly irrelevant and dated, into actually possibly quite harmful,’ she told a conference for NGOs, or non-government organisations.
In a Q&A session, Ms Davison said, referring to a different charity: ‘To be honest, we have fallen into the trap of ramping up [the level of] need, showing stuff that shouldn’t be shown and