With the launch of the first issue of its quarterly journal, Knowledge Politics – the think-tank dedicated to exploring the implications and possibilities of the development of an ‘information society’ – has entered the arena of online academic journals, offering an innovative and open space for reflection and dialogue on how technology (and in particular Information Communication Technologies – ICTs) is affecting the social, political and economic universes. In addition to the journal, KP’s site also offers a number of thematic portals, ranging from Internet Governance and Information Society Theory, to Knowledge Economy and Digital Rights.
Apart from the fact that the journal and the other publications by KP are exploring some truly interesting issues, this post is actually about shameless self-promotion, since one of the published papers (PDF) was written by me. It’s about Web 2.0 and international NGOs, and the political implications of the changes in online knowledge management practices for the operational and advocacy activities of non-governmental agencies. The vignette above neatly summarises the prevailing attitude of NGOs towards Web 2.0 (and ICTs more generally) and their role in development. My position is, of course, rather different…
In true Web 2.0 spirit, comments and feedback – especially from NGO staff – are most welcome!
Posted in Civil Society, Global Issues, ICT for a better world, Information Technology, International Development, NGOs, Politics, Think Tanks, Web2forDev
Tagged ICT4D, International Development, NGOs, Politics, Web2forDev, Web2forDev
Like almost 10,000 other bloggers, I am taking part in Blog Action Day on 15 October. For once, the blogosphere will resonate with one, common topic: the environment.
It’ll be interesting to see if and how this will work, and whether it will have a lasting impact. Personally, I have always been fascinated by how the blogosphere can become a social mobilisation tool, so I’ll be posting and checking the results closely.
Posted in Blog Babble, Environment, Global Ideas, Global Issues, Innovation & Creativity, People, Sustainability, Web2forDev
Tagged activism, Blog Action Day, blogs, Environment
Below, I am reproducing an extract from a really interesting post on Studio 501c – a blog devoted to exploring ways in which new ICTs can benefit social organisations – on organizations that have sponsored a youth or teen blogging project. Some examples are well known, other new to me and worth investigating. The full post can be accessed here.
“[…] Britt Bravo wrote of one organization that has a blog on which teens post but which, because of safety reasons, prefers not to be publicized widely. Britt also mentioned:
Beth Kanter kindly posted my email query to her blog and suggested these resources:
In response to her post:
Michaela Hackner of World Learning wrote, “We’re in the process of developing strategies for this, starting with our study abroad blogging pilot this fall. We also host a Serbian youth program that we are planning to introduce to Vox.”
Lisa Canter said to “take a look at this dynamic NY youth organization” — www.girlsclub.org (Click on “A Day in the Life.”)
Nick Booth shared www.frankleytalk.com, which is “just getting started and is based in a neighbourhood in Birmingham (England).”
Marshall Kirkpatrick shared the resources below and suggested I look at “variations on this query” at http://snipurl.com/1qexf (danah boyd’s blog).
nonprofits, nota bene: Michaela’s idea of using Vox for a youth project is a great one. This free platform allows bloggers to create members-only groups called “neighborhoods.” Users can log onto the neighborhood page to see recent posts from all other members. As the Vox site says, “You can choose the privacy level for every post, every picture, every sound clip, every video. Put up posts for the world. Put up posts for just your family. Or just your friends.“
A brief, yet comprehensive, overview of practical examples of Web 2.0 usage in the international development sector, by Joitske Hulsebosch:
Two excellent Web 2.0 initiatives for development and social change that that embody all that is exciting about this new collaborative technology:
ShareIdeas.org is an online community and a wiki for sharing ideas on how to use mobile communications for social and environmental benefits. ShareIdeas.org belongs to the growing global network of individuals and organizations that use this virtual gathering place to communicate – and collaborate.
Focuss.eu provides a high quality search engine for practitioners, researchers and students in the area of global development studies. Other than generic search engines, like Google and Yahoo, focuss.eu indexes a specific choice of electronic resources, selected by librarians, researchers and practitioners working in participating institutions. The resources are selected based on their relevance for the development studies and the quality of the information. Since its inception in October 2006, a number of development-oriented academic centres and organisations have started adopting and promoting this tool more widely.
Via the excellent Social Source Commons, a “place to share lists of software tools that you already use, gain knowledge and support, and discover new tools“, I came across this cool list of GIS tools, which have been used by NGOs and non-profits to map their activities online.
For those of you interested in showing on a map what you are doing and how you are doing it. Incidentally, NetSquared is also looking into this technology to understand how non-profits could benefit from adopting them, while OpenAid warns about relying on online mapping tools which are out of date and can hamper rather than aid a relief effort.
Ethan Zuckerman, in his infinite creativity, has just purchased the site http://icanhasprotest.com/. The idea came from an exchange with commenters on an excellent blog-post about the connection between cute cats and web censorship – i.e. how Web 2.0 online tools have been used by social activists, something Ethan has spoken at length about in the past.
The call’s out about what to do with this site. Here’s an idea: how about using it to collect – in a wiki format – all those examples of successful protests, campaigns, rallies, mass-mobilisations, and so on, which have been possible thanks to Web 2.0 tools? This way, social activists will have a one-stop shop where to get ideas on how to adopt these technologies and give feedback when they have not worked…
If you have better ideas, get in touch with Ethan…
Via the PSD Blog, here’s a story about how Google Earth has come to the aid of a Brazilian Amazon tribe fighting for its rights against loggers and miners:
[…] “The Amazon rain forest and its indigenous peoples are disappearing rapidly, which has serious consequences both locally and globally,” said Google Earth spokeswoman Megan Quinn. “This project can raise global awareness of the Surui people’s struggle to preserve their land and culture by reaching more than 200 million Google Earth users around the world.” This is not the first time Google Earth has helped environmental or humanitarian causes. Last year, the Mountain View company joined with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to map out destroyed villages in Darfur, with the Jane Goodall Institute to follow chimpanzees in Tanzania, and with the U.N. Environment Program to illustrate 100 areas around the world that have been severely deforested.
In the case of the Amazon, Almir says improved satellite images would not only keep tabs on loggers and miners but would also help strengthen Surui culture by cataloging medicinal plants, hunting grounds, ancestral cemeteries and sacred sites. […]
Read the full article here.