The film's thesis is that international aid has become an industry that benefits aid workers, western agriculturalists and manufacturers, and, often, corrupt politicians while often disrupting the economies of places like Ghana and Haiti. One of the most vivid examples is from Haiti, where the U.S. exported government-subsidized rice that was so cheap that it drove most of Haiti's rice producers out of business and often into poor neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, many on the fault line where the earthquake occurred. After the earthquake Haiti was flooded with donations of items such as solar cells--which inflicted great hardship on the local manufacturers of solar cells.
The larger problem that the film speaks to is that Americans, especially, think that places like Haiti and Ghana are defined by their need. We don't realize that such places are full of enterprising entrepreneurs that we should be collaborating with, not trying to drive out of business.
Yo Ghana! tries to be sensitive to these tendencies in three ways. First, rather than opening schools in Ghana we work with existing ones that are doing outstanding work. Second, we sponsor letter exchanges that demonstrate to American students that their counterparts in Ghana are resourceful and dedicated not abject. Third, our grants to Ghana schools build on work they have already started. The key for well-intentioned Americans wanting to help is collaboration, on working with people already doing amazing things.
We are hoping to bring this film to Portland, so stay tuned. Here is the trailer.