Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Search4Dev: knowledge sharing among Dutch development professionals

On December 16th, in the historic library hall of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam, www.search4dev.nl was launched. The platform is the result of a government funded innitiative to provide an innovative searchengine to a repository for Dutch development organizations.

Search4Dev is an online library for the full text digital publications of Dutch development organizations. Search4Dev offers quick and easy access to these publications for those working in the Dutch development sector as well as for the rest of the world!

Search4Dev is an initiative of the Development Policy Review Network (DPRN), a network of development experts and policy makers who aim to reduce the gap between science, policy and development practice. The initiative is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The online library has been realised by KIT Information & Library Services in collaboration with the the Digital Production Centre (DPC) of the University of Amsterdam.

ICCO: Interchurch Organization for Development Cooparation was one of the first development organizations to submit their digital publications for inclusion in Search4Dev. By participating in Search4Dev ICCO granted KIT Information & Library Services permission to include their digital publications in Search4Dev.

One of the entries is the option to search on the participating organizations. Searching on ICCO at the moment of the launch you would find 39 publications.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The role of diaspora in development

"It is important to empower the diaspora, because we are in contact with the grassroots¨ explains Mekka Abdelgabar at a public debate called 'women speak!'. A panel of six diaspora women from (former) war zones shared experiences on the female´s role in peacebuilding processes. Abigail Gonowolo from Liberia passionately described the exemplary role of women in Liberia in advancing towards peace: obstructing those who acted out of bad intent and placing sexual violence on the international agenda resulting in the adoption of resolution 1325. Mekka Abdelgabar described the peacebuilding trainings she gave in Darfur, referring to the Liberian example. Diaspora women spoke from their hearts during this meeting and the audience could feel it. It examplifies a possible role of diaspora in development, a topic that two recent meetings held in Brussels covered at length

The 8th Brussels Briefing took place on Thursday 11 December 2008 and focussed on the issue of migration and development. Two panels addressed the issues of migration and development, focussing specifically on the role of remittances and the involvement of diaspora communities in development policy and practice. In this regards, Cécile Riallant, migration and development advisor at the UNDP, explained the aim to promote the creation of a European diaspora platform. She also explained that a budget of €10-11 million was made available to support initiatives on migrantion and development. Alache Ode (AFFORD, VSO)focused her presentation on the Diaspora contribution to rural and business development, while Leila Rispens-Noel (Oxfam Novib) presented the work of her organisation in working with migrant diasporas. Last but not least, Ken Ndiaye, migrant and entrepreneur from Senegal, rounded up the session with a personal perspective on migrants’ life in Belgium.

Before this Brussels Briefing a Knowledge Fair on Migration and Development took also place in Brussels from 1 to 4 December 2008. The Fair aimed at contributing to the international dialogue on the benefits of migration for development and to create a 'Community of Practice'. This Knowledge Fair, which was initiated by the European Commission and the United Nations (UNDP), featured a 'Knowledge Marketplace' exhibiting various good practices of civil society organisations and governments on migration and development. During the Fair, civil society groups could network, find partners and share their experiences. Participants could also join several workshops and attend presentations on four main themes: remittances, migrant communities, migrant capacities and migrant rights. Atikha, a Philippine partner organisation of ICCO & Kerk in Actie was invited by the UNDP to exhibit its project: a trainers' training on financial literacy and peer counselling for Overseas Filipino Workers, seafarers and their families and the accompanying manual.

Different initiatives are thus taking place at all levels of society to involve diaspora in development practice and policy.

By Marja Rijerse and Stephanie Zwier

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Getting ComPart to Angola

Lately we started the important step to expand the ComPart training sessions to our partners in the South. As you might have read in this blog, a couple of weeks ago two colleagues from Euforic were in Ouagadougo training participants of a Seminar on education; last week I was in São Paulo to introduce ComPart to the participants of a seminar on Land and water rights; and this week I was in Luanda to “train” staff of several partner organisations in Angola. It is really great we have now come to this stage because in the end ComPart is meant for communication and learning with and among partners, is it is very important that they know how to use the tools.

Certainly here in Angola it is clear that the (good) use of Internet communication tools can be very helpful. Transport is very expensive and difficult to organise and normal telephone quite costly. So the felt need for good and cheap means of communication is evident. Although very much in the Angolan way only after some reminders and at the last moment, 22 staff of about 14 partner organisations subscribed to the training. Nearly all of them attended all three days. Luckily enough, my colleague Arie Jongejan managed to hire a “ICT-lab” with 30 PC’s connected to Internet just one day before the training started., which is quite an achievement under these circumstances. So everything was prepared as well as possible.


The training itself went well, although it was not always easy. Far more than twice, in the middle of a presentation or explanation an energy cut forced an unwelcome pause. I really admired the patience of the participants and their ability to come back with their attention (although at some moments it was clear we all felt real frustration). As one of the most expressed needs was to have an alternative for the expensive telephone (mobiles) Skype was one of the tools I explained right after the general presentation. Perhaps that was a mistake, because all the time afterwards one could hear the well known sounds of skype calls, and thus the internet connection slowed down nearly all the time (I must admit also because one or two participants were downloading videos). In general the Internet connection was OK, but sometimes and especially the last day really very very slow. It took about 3 minutes to load a page and often resulting in the so well know notice that the page could not be loaded at all because of a time out. To say the least, that makes it difficult to explain and practice!

Most time was spent on the explanation and practice with wiki’s and blogs, but we also worked on Dgroups, Skype, Feeds, RSS, iGoogle and other tools. Participants were really enthused and regularly it was difficult to get them to have a break and even lunch. Several times they were also teasing each other by messing up each other’s pages or posts. So we also had fun ;-).

However by the way they were working and the questions they asked it also became clear that part of the participants had great difficulty to really understand what Internet is, e.g. understanding that saving a text on your own computer is something different than saving a wiki page or a post. So I had to spend quite some time on explaining the very basics. And I must admit sometimes I had quite a hard time because I felt I didn’t always manage to explain them in an understandable way. Fortunately also some participants helped each other (levels of understanding varied much), so for most, in the end, much became more or less clear. At least they said they learnt much and made some concrete plans to work with the tools within their work for the Education for All and the Hiv/Aids programmes and other activities.

As for future training activities for expanding ComPart to the South some main lessons learnt are:



  • Training should really start at a very basic level;

  • Whenever possible try to do separate trainings for “beginners” with ICT and the “advanced” users (e.g. it was impossible to explain the embedding of videos and presentations, even though it was an explicit question of a few participants);

  • It is necessary to have enough time for personal attention (explanation) so their must be at least one trainer for at the most 12 (?) participants;

  • Certainly at the start of the introduction of ComPart it would be better to have a couple of training sessions every one or two months than one longer one. Anyhow follow-up sessions should be planed from the beginning;

  • It is important to involve local trainers because they know the wording used in the different countries (Brazilians and Angolans both speak Portuguese but some ICT terms are very different and cause confusion);

  • Connectivity of course is also an issue. Although it is always needed to take low connectivity for users into account, whenever possible the training sessions should take place in a venue with as good as possible connection (interruptions make it really difficult to maintain attention and keep the training somewhat inspiring).

    Luanda airport, 6 December 2008
    Maarten Boers

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I collaborate, e-collaborate, we collaborate

I collaborate, e-collaborate, we collaborate" is a blog that belongs to the members of the learning community "E-collaboration” members work in development organisations based in the Netherlands.

The purpose of this blog is to share stories about experiences with working over the internet. If you are interested to join the Dgroup, you can apply here.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Innovations in financing for development: STRO conference calls for 'without a box' thinking

You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it” - Albert Einstein.

Last week's conference at STRO in the Netherlands dealt with the need for a different consciousness to overcome the current financial crisis and determine future trends in development cooperation. This consciousness involves, amongst others, open mindedness, flexibility, trust and respect.

In a general introduction, Henk Molenaar of Wotro described three trends in development. They include a broadened development agenda, a movement from a linear model towards a trial and error process of innovation, and the need for a demand driven approach to obtain sustainable results. Molenaar proposed a demand driven endogenous innovation process that is embedded in local cultures.

In two panel debates three business representatives debated first with development practitioners and then with Henk van Arkel. All participants in the debate work on innovation in their respective sectors. The business representatives were modest in their best practices and explained that development organisations could learn more from their failures than from their successes. Failures mentioned were an inability to set up a successful framework that generates innovation and to provides space for failures. Rob Veldhuizen took these suggestions a bit further" “integrity and respect should return into the system”. Finally, the blind trust in the free market that dominates our current system was attacked by all speakers.

Henk van Erkel, Director of STRO, introduced STRO’s vision on the financial crisis. He argued that trading balances should become more balanced. Gert van Maanen suggested that “most people living in poor countries are living in a structural depression, they are not on any agenda that rightfully safeguards their interests”.

STRO also illustrated a complementary financial system that safeguards the interests of such poor people. It is called ‘UDIS (Unidad De Intercambio Solidario)’, which is a new means of payment that complements national economic systems.

STRO has implemented UDIS in various Latin American countries. The advantage of UDIS is that it provides for cheap working capital, explained Cristina Santos. A cooperative that uses UDIS as means of payment is Coopevictoria. It started in 1943 and is now thriving, thanks to it’s good reputation, innovative approach and demand driven activities. These activities include coffee and sugarcane production and processing.

The debate provided new insights in the paths set in current development thinking. Positioning the debate in relation to the current financial crisis increased participants’ involvement in the debate. Innovation requires a different consciousness, that might best be described by Wichert van Engelen: “We should move towards radical innovation, from out-of-the-box to without-a-box thinking”.





By Stephanie Zwier

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Rimisp: catching up with the web 2.0 proliferation (2)

Hi, this is Virginia Soto-Aguilar Cortínez journalist of Rimisp. I would like to thank Maarten and ICCO for teaching us this new tools. This is an opportunity for Rimisp to improve its communication and learn “how to survive in web 2.0’s world”.

As a Latin American Center for Rural Development we really need to be in daily connection with our partners, and these interactive tools are really good to create virtual communities. We wil use the calendar tool to share information about our internal activities, we will show our videos, photos and slideshows with the tools BLIP.TV, FLICKR and SLIDESHARE.

Rimisp: catching up with the web 2.0 proliferation (1)

By Rosamelia Andrade*

Rimisp (Latin American Centre for Rural Development) is a small regional NGO working on research projects related to rural development, poverty reduction, economic growth, social inclusion and environmental governance in various countries of Latin America. Its office is located in Santiago, Chile, but as a regional organization, Rimisp also has personnel based in other countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Costa Rica. Rimisp partners with several public and private institutions that help implement our projects and collaborate with us in different capacities.

The structure of the organization in itself bears important challenges to the internal communication process. This is probably not that uncommon nowadays when many organizations have flexible working environments and human resources located in more than one geographic setting.
Several project coordinators in the organization have expressed repeatedly the need to have communication systems in place to improve the internal communication amongst team members in a way that is easy, yet effective, and without investing an enormous amount of time figuring out how something works.
With this challenge in hand, the communications team at Rimisp received the visit of Marteen Boers from ICCO, an old friend of the organization who knows well the limitations and challenges we currently face.

Maarten worked with us setting up a 4-day hands-on workshop schedule that included collective and individual meetings with team members as well as working sessions to learn specific collaborative tools that could help our organization deal with the difficulties of communicating in the world of web 2.0

The week with Maarten opened a whole range of new tools, platforms and ideas that we could implement in our organization, not because we didn´t know about the existence of this material in the web, but mostly because he showed us how these tools have changed the way people work with one another and how we –as an organization- could benefit from it.

I think the most important thing that I learned from these sessions is the fact that we –Rimisp and its members- have to start thinking about a different approach to our work. This means, we need to change the way we do things; the way we view things. We are not alone in the world. Other people are doing similar things and they are interested in what we do. The present times prompt us to share information as opposed to restrict knowledge. And we need “to get out there,” where other people co-exist (collaborative platforms), to share with others what we do best.

I believe there is significant potential for Rimisp to begin implementing and using collaborative platforms and tools. The first step would be to bring on tools that could directly solve their most pressing difficulties, for example sharing a common calendar of appointments, meetings, events, etc, so everybody in the organization and in specific teams are informed of what is going on with one another. Or a platform that would help them share documents and allow them to work collaboratively to obtain a final version that incorporates everybody´s input.
The next step is to show all the members of the organization the type of tools and platforms that are available and what they can do for the organization and the teams. I think this could motivate people to incorporate new instruments into their daily routine and activities. Sharing experiences from other organizations going through similar processes could also be useful to encourage people to adopt this new way of doing things.

Finally, training and capacity building are extremely important in the success of integrating new collaborative avenues in an organization. People feel much more inclined to accept something when they learn how it works and when they see that is actually working.

In Rimisp we have started producing a strategy to implement new collaborative platforms and tools to our daily work. This will not be easy and it will take time. At least we know that our people have needs and challenges to resolve and they are open and excited to learn how the web 2.0 could help them. A good indication is that they have begun asking what this is all about...There is hope.

Rosamelia Andrade is the Communications Coordinator of the Rural Territorial Dynamics Program at Rimisp. She is a communications professional with experience working on international development projects. For more information about Rimisp, please visit www.rimisp.org

Monday, 10 November 2008

'A box in a box': learning to learn

With a "box in a box" Arja Aarnoudse of PSO, visualised the idea behind the meeting on learning and knowledge management that took place at Oxfam Novib, on 7 November 2008. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on our learning processes and learn from each other to improve our learning interventions.

The fourteen participants of various Dutch development organisations expressed a commitment to achieve results as a learning group. 'Learning by doing' will be the approach of the organisations; all participants agreed to apply the learning in their organisation and to provide feedback on the learning in the next meeting. The group agreed to meet approximately three times per year.

Participants brought along succesful experiences on learning within their organisation and some burning questions. Among others, these questions included "how to involve partners" and "how to connect learning islands". A shared concern was also identified in the need for "ownership" in the learning processes. A matching exercise, where burning questions were linked with possible answers was used to select a topic for a more in depth analysis. Four participants presented a case; Pieter de Baan (SNV), Irma van Leeuwen (ICCO), Rheinard Skinner (Bernard van Leer foundation) and José Utrera (Cordaid).

Irma van Leeuwen presented the ICCO experience on 'action reflection groups'. These are subgroups in which ICCO staff reflects on various topics relevant to their day-to-day work. Objective of this initiative is to improve effectiveness and program quality. Groups worked on a well defined question, towards a concrete product, within a limited time frame.

Two people volunteered to be active listeners to the case presentation. René Schoenmaker, one of these active listeners asked whether ICCO was satisfied with the results achieved by these learning groups. According to Irma, some changes were indeed visible. Next week an evaluation will take place and the decision will be made whether or not to continue with the active promotion of action reflection groups within ICCO.


Video thumbnail. Click to play
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By Stephanie Zwier

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Murphy’s Law always present

Santiago de Chile. These days I am having the wonderful opportunity to work with one of ICCO’s partners on the introduction of Web2 tools for their communication and sharing needs. The objective is to share ICCO’s experiences on introducing ComPart within the own ICCO organisation and to discuss and realize the first steps for this organisation on their challenging new path.

It is all about RIMISP a well known - and I would guess respected - organisation working on all kinds of rural development issues in Latin America. They are obviously not unknown to publishing on the web. Just have a look at their website(s) and I am sure you will agree they are very well made (content wise and also for the clear “navigability”). However the staff is very interested to get to know more on how to use the Web2.0 to improve their internal and external communication.

This 4-day workshop was really well prepared. A few days ago I received quite a long list of the expectations of the individual staff members about the workshop. In the short video below Rosamelia Andrade, who has been preparing and coordinating the workshop, summarises these expectations. I really do hope that, together with all involved, we will be able to answer them.



Anyhow the first day was tempting. As so often in these occasions Murphy’s Law was confirmed once again. Although I already knew that one never should combine an on-line and a face-to-face meeting because it is impossible to give due attention to “both listener groups” at the same time, I did it again because most of the staff wanted to participate in the introductory presentation of possibilities and quite a lot of them live and work all over Latin America and/or are travelling. Of course right before and during the actual presentation all possible technical problems showed up (failing headsets, crashing laptops, connection problems, etc). Nevertheless we succeeded to have a good start and a discussion with more questions then I could answer. The interest and even “hunger” to get to know more about all the possibilities was very evident.

Of course I will keep you informed about the results once we have finished these interesting and also for me very “learning” days.

by Maarten

Monday, 3 November 2008

Debating the future of development cooperation

On Monday 3 November three representatives of the Scientific Council for Government Policy and approximately twenty five representatives of the ICCO Alliance debated on two questions. The first related to our vision of poverty reduction and development and the second to the role of our type of organisations in this area.

Jack van Ham introduces the debate


The debate was chaired by Mrs. Gemma Crijns. It followed a fish bowl method, whereby six people sit in an inner circle and the others in an outer circle. Those in the inner circle are privileged by having the right to speak. Those in the outer circle, needed to touch the shoulder of Debate on the future of development cooperation - November 2008a speaker to be allowed in.

The fishbowl method

The majority said that the terms poverty and development are intertwined. Using these terms demands clarification. Poverty is subjective and its sphere needs to be broadened. It has too often been seen as merely improving the economic position of people e.g. with the '1 $ a day' criteria. It should however also address socio-political issues, such as empowerment, and moral issues, such as solidarity in a specific context.

In terms of development, several speakers emphasised that we should step away from linear thinking; that we have set our aims too high. We need to narrow down our ambitions and provide opportunities to marginalised people. We should also think more in terms of cooperation, rather than poverty reduction. Reinier van Hoffen states that: "The word cooperation is hardly emphasised. It should be a central element. We should learn from each other, share knowledge, be concerned and interconnected with each other".

We cannot "save the world" or "provide monetary wealth to all people". But we can make small and valuable contributions. Annemiek van de Kerk stressed that we should focus especially on marginalised people that governments and bilateral organisations fail to reach. She quoted Ghandi: "the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed".

The various participants agreed that we, as the ICCO Alliance, need to clarify our role in cooperation with different partners on our position in development and in poverty reduction. We need to clarify the expectations that others, such as the Dutch government, can have of the ICCO Alliance. The large budget given to the Alliance increases our accountability requirements, but it shouldn't change our identity and core activities. We need to listen to those needs we want to meet. Dieneke de Groot states that: 'Development is interrelated with power. The fundamental is empowerment of people'.

Harry Derksen emphasised that our role needs to be aligned with, but separate from that of the Dutch government. We should implement those programs that people in need ask us to implement. He stated: "We need to listen to peoples' wishes, instead of implementing what we wish to implement. Our mindset needs to be broadened, beyond north south thinking, towards thinking in global terms". Jack van Ham furthermore stressed that: "We should dare to finance countervailing powers, it is our strength. We should expand and politicise this".

Sticking to our role in a world of rapidly growing interconnectedness is crucial. Our watchdog position is our added value. Willemijn Lammers supplemented this by stating "We have a speciality: processes of society building. When our role is pure, we have no other interest, but poverty reduction".

Gemma Crijns facilitated the debate and reflects on the discussion



By Stephanie Zwier (Euforic) and Jonathan Huseman (ICCO)

Friday, 24 October 2008

Bolivianen eisen nieuwe grondwet

Ogen uitgekeken bij de enorme hoeveelheid demonstranten die hier op de been zijn om hun eis voor een nieuwe grondwet kracht bij te zetten.

Om negen uur hadden we een afspraak in El Alto, een snel groeiende voorstad van La Paz, en thuisbasis van veel aanhangers van president Evo Morales. We belandden middenin de menigte. Waar je ook keek: vlaggen, vuurwerk, trommels, en vrouwen, vooral veel vrouwen. Beladen met koopwaar, kinderen, of allebei, liepen ze in stevig tempo richting stadscentrum.


Een historisch moment, zo viel hier overal te beluisteren, waarop indigena’s die zich al eeuwen onderdrukt weten hun rechten verankerd gaan zien in de grondwet.

Niet iedereen is even gelukkig met deze vorm van druk uitoefenen. Want zo’n menigte is leuk zolang ze goedgehumeurd is, maar wat als ze teleurgesteld raakt?
Met tienduizenden Bolivianen op straat koos het congres eieren voor haar geld, en besloot begin volgend jaar een referendum te houden over de aangepaste grondwet. En toen was het tijd voor een feestje.


Jonathan, Jeroen en Wolt

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Implementing the ProCoDe process - a process review

The process review of ProCoDe was presented to members of the ICCO Alliance in Utrecht on October 24, 2008. The interest in this review was reflected by the high turn up of approximately fifty people and the seemingly inexhaustible questions raised by the end of the presentation.

The R&D department opened by emphasising their continuing interest in monitoring the ProCode process, under the leadership of Irene Guijt. The evaluation team is comprised of Irene Guijt, Kate Hamilton, Celine D'Cruz (Asia pilot), Natalia Ortiz (Latin America pilot) and Moussiliou Alidou (Africa pilot).

From Irene's presentation, it became clear that the earlier used term of 'evaluation' insufficiently addresses the process that will characterise the work her team will do. Her team therefore swiftly suggested to label the work a 'process review'. Characteristic to this review is openness to change and flexibility in the approach. The audience questioned the boundaries and limitations of this flexibility.

Irene shared some ideas she currently has on ProCoDe. It comprises three components: the programmatic approach, co-responsibility, and decentralisation. The pinnacle idea of these three seems to be co-responsibility. This expresses the central vision, while the programmatic approach and decentralisation, she suggested, serves this more pinnacle vision of co-responsibility.

ProCoDe is based on several assumptions and the team will do their best to make these assumptions explicit. It furthermore has high-level ambitions, the team will listen to what extent these ambitions become reality. The emerging context specific realities will also be reflected upon.


Irene Guijt briefly presents some aspects of ProCoDe and its value



See more about the ProCoDe in the Programmatic Approach wiki

by Stephanie Zwier

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

ComPart goes 2 Burkina

This week part of the Compart support team is in Burkina Faso working with the Education programme of ICCO at the Conference on Informal Education and Literacy. Christophe Hien of Burkina Faso and Oudou Bengaly of Mali are providing the local support for the participants. Danny Aerts and Chris Addison have been working with them explaining the integration of the ComPart approach behind the scenes.

The Conference on informal learning and literacy being held here in Burkina Faso by ICCO with partners from Mali, Senegal and Burkina is being supported by the use of online tools to collect, disseminate and exchange information. In introducing how the ComPart approach has been used to support the ICCO programme (of which this conference is a part), we presented to delegates how the systems have helped to arrange, coordinate, record and disseminate findings from the conference. Christophe and Oudou presented briefly how the wiki, Dgroups, blog and delicious have been used to facilitate the conference.
We had the opportunity in the introduction to link up with ICCO and hear from Maarten Boers in Utrecht by video with Skype, you can see what he had to say on the conference blog. This was not without connectivity problems, but gave the message that ICCO colleagues in Utrecht are able to follow aspects of the meeting here.

The exercise with the wiki used the questions raised in the first part of the conference. Questions raised for each country, Senegal, Mali and Burkina were placed on three pages. These linked to separate page for each answer. Within one hour many of the pages were completed giving answers to the questions in a fraction of the time it would be possible to collate in any other system. Several threats were needed to get people to go for lunch. For the blog exercise we have encouraged people to take notes for a story from the field visit tomorrow and they will be able to include photos.

Blips and videos: The format of taking short videos to record opinions and feedback from participants has worked well. You can see a selection on http://compartuser.blip.tv/. On the same channel we have also captured some of the sessions with minimal editing. The videos have been optimised for displaying within the wiki and supporting lower speed connections.

Presentations: We have taken the opportunity to try out a new site for the presentations which has a French interface and just French language content, see http://www.slideo.com/espace/?compartuser.

Local copies: Videos will also be available on the USB-stick used to store the outputs of the wiki and blog. Creating local copies of the blog and wiki is complicated by the passwording and local copies created when logged into the respective systems. We hope both systems will be public at the end of the conference. Key documents have also been loaded onto the USB.

Support materials in French: A range of French language materials were prepared for the conference and to continue ComPart support in Francophone countries. The web2partager site now provides introductions to web2 material in French and here you can find a nice introduction to RSS. A French compart toolbar has been created (click the plus on the far left hand on your toolbar). We also prepared a tutorial printout that explains the basics of using a ComPart wiki.

Compatibility We have used participants' own machines in the conference for demonstrating the ComPart tools, and as a result have found some of the compatibility issues in using for example the wiki. We have identified some minor problems with the display of the menu in Internet Explorer 6 (This can be remedied by reloading the page.) The scroll bar disappears occassionally in full screen with Explorer 6, by reducing the window it reappears.

Connectivity has generally been superb from the conference venue, with speeds up to 150Kb/s allowing viewing of videos from blip.tv and easy upload to blip.tv and flickr.

From the conference we already have new wiki pages, several blips, some new documents and plenty of photos online. You can find the blog, wiki and videos from the ComPart toolbar, click on the 'plus' sign at the far left and choose 'ComPart FR'.




by Chris Addison and Danny Aerts

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Op weg naar FAM workshops in Peru en Bolivia

Zondag 12 Oktober. Het vliegveld van Schiphol is al vroeg in de ochtend druk bezaaid met reizigers. Sylvia en Jeroen reizen vandaag naar Peru. Partnerbezoeken en een workshop voor ICCO en Kerkinactie partners staan op het programma. Collega Wolt is al in Lima om e.e.a. voor te bereiden.

Na een vlucht van ca 12 uur komen we moe maar toch redelijk opgewekt uit het vliegtuig gestapt. Wolt verwelkomt ons in Lima op het vliegveld. De taxirit naar Hotel Aleman is de eerste kennismaking met deze miljoenenstad.
Veel tijd om dingen te bespreken en of te bezoeken is er niet. De volgende ochtend vliegen Jeroen en Wolt alweer door naar Cusco. Sylvia gaat partners bezoeken in Lima.

In Cusco wordt Cenfopar bezocht. Eigenlijk ligt Cenfopar in Urubamba een uur van Cusco. Het is een organisatie die kinderen en jong adolocenten opleidt in o.a. landbouwprojecten, handel , horeca en microkredieten verstrekt.
de heenreis bij daglicht was al een hele bevalling... slingerend over nauwe bergweggetjes met een chauffeur die net iets te hard rijdt, te laat remt voor de bocht en inhaalt waar het eigenlijk niet kan. Gelukkig op de terugweg konden we een lift krijgen van een echte "padre" Een 70 jaar oude fransman die een kleine auto bezit. Je zou denken dat dit een verademing moest zijn, helaas was niets minder waar. De beste man reed zoniet NOG harder, NOG gevaarlijker en haalde in in bochten zonder te weten of er tegenliggers aankwamen. Met de bekende 7 kleuren in de broek kwamen we heelhuids in Cusco aan. "Thank God!"
De volgende dag was het tijd voor Wolt om nog wat partnerbezoeken af te leggen. Ondertussen in Lima ging Sylvia als een trein naar verschillende partners. Jeroen ging met de trein naar Machu Picchu.

Op woensdag verzamelden iedereen zich weer in Hotel Aleman. Vandaag zouden we de partners ontvangen die aan de workshops meedoen. Het bleken er achteraf zo'n 80 in totaal. Een fantastische opkomst!
De workshop dagen op donderdag en vrijdag in Chaclancayo zaten goed in elkaar en werden door iedereen goed ontvangen. Er werden uiteraard zeer veel contacten gelegd en de organisaties onderling begonnen al met kennisdelen. Echt een groot succes.
De dagen werden afgesloten met verschillende pisco sours en muziek.
Een memorabele bijeenkomst.

Terug in Lima werden de eerste voorbereidingen voor de reis naar Bolivia getroffen. Collega Jonathan was inmiddels aangekomen in Lima om met ons drieën door te reizen naar La Paz ( volgende blog )
Op een memorabele zaterdagavond waarop Wolt zijn verjaardag vierde, zaten wij met zijn vieren moe maar zeer voldaan te staren over de grote oceaan................... Op naar Bolivia.

Jonathan, Jeroen en Sylvia

Monday, 20 October 2008

Programme Operations, Information, Learning... and Mobiles


After the MobileActive08 conference in Jo'burg last week it's interesting to reflect on how things are changing in our work because of and around the spread of mobiles. Four or five clusters of applications have emerged during the last five or six years that are making their way into the development mainstream.

Mobile-based survey and data collection tools: There are several mature toolsets that can be used for all kinds of one-off or regular surveys. Episurveyor, for example / or the Nokia supported mobileresearcher. There is a lot of activity in health programmes. IDRC continues to experiment with using PDAs with nurses and midwives. Cell Life in South Africa has a range of applications, including surveying and supporting people living with HIV/Aids. In all these cases the data is sent back from the field using standard mobile signals. An interesting example from the agriculture sector in Mexico has coffee farmers belonging to one collective being trained to use their phones in their self-managed organic quality certification processes.

Bulk SMS for advocacy and information campaigns: there are a number of both Open Source and proprietary SMS bulk products available, for all budgets and contexts, including the new Dutch start-up, texttochange. Two of the most impressive come from commercial marketing companies who are making available products and services that have been tested and tried in advertising campaigns. Ad.iq, for example, is widely used by larger Northern NGOS -such as GreenPeace, Oxfam GB and Action Aid. The Praekelt foundation from South Africa is experimenting with using the advertising space on call-me messages. (Call-me messages are an interesting case in themselves. Research by TelCos active in Africa into the unusually high level of miscalls showed that people were using them to communicate, often via pre-arranged codes - as anyone with a teenager probably knows. The operators introduced a special number that generates a 'Please Call Me' message, onto which advertising messages could be added. Such calls are free to users in South Africa. The same facility is also being used for HIV/Aids messaging, generating a high level of response)

SMS used for more specific purposes such as:
  • SMS marts - where SMS messages can be used to communicate jobs wanted/available (Souktel - and the phenomenally successfull Kenyan service, kazi560, based in Kibera)
  • Regular messaging to support treatment adherence programmes for people living with HIV/Aids, as with the Cell-Life example above
  • Education - Worlded is experimenting with using mobile phones to assist literacy (and has done a lot of interesting work using phones to link students and schools: parents can sms in to hear about homework, exam timetables etc.)

Managing and maintaining communications with stakeholders and colleagues using SMS: this is probably the most ordinary and widespread use of mobiles for communications. Survey data confirms that most subscribers in Africa use pay-as-you go schemes, as opposed to the contract schemes that are most popular in the OECD countries. SMS pings were the constant background to conversations in the conference, in the offices I have visited and the project visit I made to a youth project in a Township. Mobile coverage is now so widespread that SMS is a reliable, as well as cheap, way to maintain the daily round of conversations - professional and personal.

For Democracy and Peace issues this connectivity can be crucial. Reporting from polling stations in Zimbabwe, for example, enabled NGOs to publish stories and some results ahead of Government services. An SMS help line was set up by a consortium of NGOs in Kenya earlier this year following the post-election troubles. The new collaboration platform ushahidi was active in both those situations and, like increasing numbers of sites that aim to connect with users in Africa, is SMS enabled: people can SMS in, or receive SMS feeds.

Finally, the introduction of mobile money to Kenya - mpesa - in 2007 has been transformative, and it was only introduced in 2007. Mobile money is fast spreading to other parts of Africa

For the professionals in NGOs, like ICCO partners, the mobile then becomes one of the standard tools for a multi-channel life - used as a phone or for SMS where there is no connectivity, used on WiFi where that is available, used to transport data or capture images and sounds - to be transferred to a PC. All of this brings us back full circle - how mobile phones can be integrated into information management and the everyday activities that support Learning and Knowledge Sharing. Here is Jan Moolman of sangonet, who will be leading their work on the ComPart programme:




For information on any of these applications please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Pete Cranston, pcATeuforic.org

Friday, 17 October 2008

Rising food prices: An opportunity for change?

The Brussels Development Briefings is a bimonthly series of meetings on key issues and challenges for rural development held in Brussels at the European Commission.

Yesterday’s briefing held at the World Food day on 16 October 2008 addressed the challenge of dealing with rising food prices. In two panel discussions, twelve knowledgeable speakers addressed the rising food prices and best policy options to ensure long term food security, especially for vulnerable households.

Key findings, background documents, blips and blogs are available online. This posting reflects on the contributions made by Stineke Oenema (ICCO) on behalf of the European Food Security Group (EFSG) of CONCORD.

Dr. Lluis Riera Figueras from the European Commission's DG Development introduced the question of rising food prices and the slow response of farmers to increase the supply of food. Solutions for high food prices and the higher food demand vary. Among them, are a need for: funds to be made available that are well monitored to ensure they reach the farmer, technological developments, resilience to be built by countries through increased stocks of grains,and the active involvement of farmer organizations. The different speakers emphasized the need to act now, especially in the Sub-Sahara African region.

A time of crisis allows people to stop and rethink what they are doing. It can therefore also be an opportunity for change. Stineke Oenema, the only female speaker, diplomatically emphasized the need for a new food system in which the right to food is central.

Unlike most of the other speakers, her message explicitly propagated a need to protect smallholder farmers. Their production processes need to be strengthened before they can equally compete in the free market. She described the case of a school feeding programme in Bolivia where small scale farmers provide food to the schools. Their preferred position gives them a secure demand with stable prices. With relatively small financial inputs, the complete chain from producer to consumer is strengthened.

However through regional free trade negotiations, this preferential position of small farmers risks being liberalized. When this happens, farmers will loose their preferred situation and will have to compete in the world market. Then they would no longer benefit from this programme.

Luca Alinovi, senior economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization, concludes that it is urgent to set our objectives straight and that we should start by bridging the dichotomy between protectionism and free market thinking. The reality is that most successful measures to tackle the food crises can be achieved by workable and correct policy mixes. These policy mixes should include support for smallfarmer production and market regulation and it should remain focused on the most vulnerable rural households.

On Saturday 18 October (22:45), Stineke Oenema joined a thematic evening on the Food Crisis on national Dutch television. View the video.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Project Knowledge Sharing & Mobiles

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is an NGO using ICTs to support information and knowledge sharing among women living in rural East Uganda (Apac). WOUGNET focuses on appropriate technology. They began, for example, with simple tape recorders which they used to those gather questions from the women. After translating the questions WOUGNET gathered responses, re-translated and redistributed the material. They have gone on to integrate the use of Community Radio and some Internet services into their work. They are now experimenting with Mobile Phones, especially SMS, using mass distribution tools - Frontline SMS and BulkSMS.

As well as enabling women to mobilise and campaign, they have experimented using SMS as a part of their Knowledge Sharing and Learning processes. As part of a consultation they sent out five questions by SMS, one at a time. 45 to 50 women became engaged in active discussion. WOUGNET then followed up with a workshop and the women came already engaged in the conversation. This was more successfull than many pre-workshop discussions I have expperienced. Here is Nora Odoi, a WOUGNET Project Officer on their plans:





Video thumbnail. Click to play


We know that Knowledge Sharing has a lot to do with increasing interaction between people, enabling 1:1 and 1:many exchanges about issues and ideas. This small exercise opened up a new, unobtrusive channel of communication. Clearly, merely being able to talk or communicate with people using phones makes a massive difference to the richness of exchange, and the accessibility of those who know something to those who want to know more. The figures are staggering. In South Africa, for example, while only around 7% of the population has Internet access, over 80% now have access to phones, slightly more even than Radio. Perhaps simply this opening up of voice and text channels, enabling people to communicate and network on a scale that has never been possible before, will have the greatest impact on Knowledge Sharing.

Pete Cranston

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

MobileActive 08 in Johannesburg

This - www.mobileactive08.org - is shaping up to be a very special and possibly quite influential event. Jointly organised by SangoNet - the South African organisation that will be one of the early collaborators in CompartSouth) and MobileActive, it is focusing on the uses of mobiles in development and brings together an extraordindary mix of creative applications of mobiles to support activism, health and agricultural programmes, data gathering and corruption monitoring, communications and news. One of 381 delegates, I am here to explore how mobiles can contribute to Knowledge Sharing and support the ComPart South programme.

I have been helping with the preparations, supporting members of SangoNet's Citizen Journalism programme to download and learn mobile applications. There are two teams of documenters - one from a Rhodes University New Media programme and the other from SangoNet. Each has been issued with top-end Nokia (donated of course) with which they will use to gather photos, video interviews and audio recordings of the workshops, meetings and demonstrations.

This, I think, is an immediate and obvious application of mobiles to Knowledge and Learning. Euforic and ICCO know about the value of rich reporting during and from events. Using mobile phones is one way to involve more people in in this process, especially to contribute multi-media content to the post-event documentation. The emphasis of course is on communicating what is going on, enabling others to get connected to such events. It is also a way to capture learning, insights, excitement or ideas. This communication, and the ability to then organise and store the material, is a central part of Learning and Knowledge Sharing.

And since this is 2008, of course the phones will use very smart a software and web services which exploit the convergence of applications onto modern phones. Shozu enables posting of photos and videos instantly (via a WiFi internet connection) to your favourite social media. Look for the tag mobileactive08 on Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter. They are also experimenting with live video streaming using Flixwagon.

Approx 9% of South Africans can access the Internet. Around 80% can access a mobile, now more even than Radio. David Barnard, the Executive Director of SangoNet was at the June Compart South learning workshop in Lisbon. He has clear ideas about where how SangoNet wants to integrate mobile phones into their work.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

A future for new media in education programs in developing countries?

Stephanie Zwier recently joined the Euforic team to work on ComPart knowledge sharing and learning activities. We asked her to reflect on her previous work with Plan Netherlands and to introduce herself:

----

As part of the Euforic team, I will support learning in the ICCO Alliance. My name is Stephanie Zwier, I am a young consultant working on policy and research in development organisations. I write this posting because a number of people at ICCO asked me to reflect on my learning experience at Plan Netherlands. Last year I worked at Plan where I helped to stimulate learning. I will reflect on learning within Plan's livelihood learning group and on some research I conducted on learning from their pilot School improvement program.

Plan is an international Development organisation that aims for a world in which children can develop their full potential. One theme Plan works on is livelihoods. The livelihoods learning group was facing some start up difficulties, it had no leader for a while and was lagging behind. As soon as a leader was appointed we, as a group, cooperated to develop a learning action plan. With outside support the group developed first a vision, then a mission and, after a while, an entire learning plan that was put into action. Central in this plan was the thought of generating best practices and stimulating learning. The plan involved a decentralisation process, whereby our group set up four learning sites in 'the south'. At these learning sites a different culture was stimulated to share knowledge and generating best practices. This required some behavioural change, but was soon appreciated and ownership grew.

To stimulate learning on the education program I furthermore conducted a research and wrote the report 'learning for innovation in quality education: A meta-evaluation of Plan's school improvement program'. This program was a holistic pilot program on quality education, implemented in from 2003 until 2006 in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. The pilot SIP was thoroughly evaluated in 2006 and 2007. The evaluation reports were not yet compared or analysed. The learning potential offered by these reports was the reason why I decided to analyse them in a meta-evaluation. This research emphasises the importance of involving children in the learning process. 
My first day at ICCO, I discovered how new media, such as wiki's, blogs and video's is used to stimulate learning. Its use follows a 'bottom- up' approach. It seems to challenge more common hierarchical structures, by involving ICCO staff in all layers of its organisation. New media enables knowledge sharing through social networks. Especially in the area of education I could imagine the vast possibilities for such new media to distribute knowledge in the south and increase children's participation. I therefore would like to trigger some debate by stating that ´the use of new media in education programs is a way forward to increase possibilities for children in developing countries´. What do you think of this statement?

By Stephanie Zwier

ComPart: Upcoming plans

On 1 October, the Euforic team and Maarten Boers met in The Hague to review ComPart plans for the coming period.

Two recent meetings guided our efforts - Lisbon in June and Utrecht in May. The
Lisbon discussions were more focussed on possibilities with partners in developing countries; the Utrecht meeting on actions needed to reinforce efforts here in the Netherlands.

The plans include:
  • ComPart goes to Burkina Faso: In mid-October, 2008, we will run a series of ComPart sessions as part of the regional education programme conference in West Africa. For the workshop, we are involving expertise from two additional Euforic members: ATOL and IICD.
  • Extending the ComPart 'alliance': We will agree cooperation frameworks with some of the organizations joining us in Lisbon, building up a capacity in the South to support information, communication and knowledge-sharing activities with ICCO partners in the South.
  • E-surveys of Aliance partners: One of the first collaborations is to survey ICCO alliance partners in different regions to better understand how they engage in information, communication and knowledge-sharing, and their connectivity situations.

  • ComPart in Brazil, Bolivia and Angola: We are exploring with ICCO colleagues and partners how best to embed ComPart activities in emerging programmes.

  • ComPart 'surgeries': Following the May discussions in Utrecht, we will start a regular weekly 'surgery' where anyone working with ComPart can drop in, meet the experts and champions, and get advice answers and share tips (starting 4 November every Tuesday afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00 in the ComPart training room - 041 - at the ICCO offices).

  • Documenting and sharing the learning: While the amount of ComPart activity is growing, we will reinforce efforts to capture knowledge and learning across the Alliance, making sure that that various tools being used are properly presented, tagged and described to allow easier access. Stephanie Zwier recently joined the Euforic team working on the project; she joins ICCO's Gerrit Visser who is already active on this ComPart Blog and elsewhere.

Watch this space for news and updates ...!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Surprising Africa

Last week during Picnic 2008 in Amsterdam SICA organized with Butterfly Works the conference 'Surprising Africa'.

With the theme Storytelling presented about fifteen speakers their innovative ideas on the area of culture, design and media. Among them were the writer and journalist
Binyavanga Wainaina from Kenia, the cartoon expert Marguerite Abouet from Ivorycoast and the Algerian poet Lamis Saidi.

These were the themes: Future of Africa Through Storytelling, African Stories For and From Young People en Story Telling Through Mobile Phones.

A personal account on 'Surprising Africa' is blogged on Smartmobs titled:

- If it works in Africa it will work anywhere
- Citizen journalism in Africa
And there is more about Picnic in 'When we change the way we communicate, we change society'(Clay Shirky)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

ComPart South Workshop 16 and 17 June 2008, Lisbon (3)

In June 2008, ICCO held a workshop in Lisbon to think through next steps and plans for the ICCO ComPart 'South' initiative. The workshop was held in Lisbon to coincide with the annual KM4Dev workshop, to enable ICCO sponsored participants to contribute to and learn from this community.

The report of the workshop outlines the origins of that workshop, its activities and findings and agreed next steps.

See related stories with the label 'compartsupport'

Monday, 29 September 2008

The future of development cooperation.

On Sunday 28 September in the Dutch TV programme “Buitenhof” Mr. Peter van Lieshout a member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) was interviewed about the report this council is preparing on the future of the (Dutch) Development Cooperation. The report will be published in the second half of next year.

This interview is really interesting and gives much food for thought. For example an issue was whether a western value as Democratisation should really be a basic principle for good governance and a starting point for development?

For those who have missed the broadcast, you can see the video with this interview - in Dutch - here.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Social media: introducing the changes

An interesting article on 'e-Extension' (in agriculture in Australia) looks at ways the same web tools that ComPart is using can also be put to use in rural areas.

Particularly interesting is the author's discussion on 'models of leading change', where he briefly introduces 8 steps (from Kotter), linking them to different web 2.0 tools.

The 8 steps he identifies are:
  1. create a sense of urgency
  2. pull togethr the guiding team
  3. develop the change vision and strategy
  4. communicate for understanding and buy-in
  5. empower others to act
  6. produce short-term wins
  7. don't let up, and
  8. create a new culture
I wonder how we are doing in these respects with ComPart? A long way to go? More progress on some than on others? Food for thought as we take forward the results of our discussions in May (Utrecht) and June (Lisbon).

by Peter Ballantyne

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The How and What of the Programmatic Approach

On Wednesday September 17th about 85 attendants participated in the ICCO Open Space meeting about the Programmatic Approach.

At the end of this day a copy of the intermediate report was distributed among the participants. The final report including an appendix of the extra reports of this Open Space event is now available on

ICCO's Learning @Compart Wiki and was placed in the Programmatic Approach Wiki. In the sidebar of this wiki the documents are categorized under Meeting Reports

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Ethan Zuckerman comes to Amsterdam

An interview with Ethan Zuckerman about the role of new media and his work as founder of a an online citizen media community.
Africans’ creative uses of technology not only counter negative stereotypes of the continent, they also hint at its receptiveness to simple, efficient everyday innovations. “Individual citizens empowered with technology can be a very powerful force for transparency,” says Zuckerman.

Zuckerman is a featured speaker in the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam on Thursday September 25 at the Suprising Africa programme of the international new media event Picnic 08.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

About Network Learning & Connectivism

In September George Siemens and Stephen Downes co-facilitate an open online course on Connectivism & Connective Knowledge providing additional information in a support wiki for the course.

According to Siemens "Connectivism is a learning theory for the digital age. Learning has changed over the last several decades. The theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism provide an effect view of learning in many environments. They fall short, however, when learning moves into informal, networked, technology-enabled arena"

In a handy table (published in a GoogleDoc) George Siemens indicates how prominent learning theories differ from connectivism (or perhaps network learning).

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Lessons learnt from the Interactive Learning Spaces of SNV

Accompanied by a colleague of the Human Resources Department and the Project Implementation Team R&D visited the Netherlands Development Organisation SNV in the Hague to hear about their lessons learnt with E-learning.

The visit was hosted by Mrs. Naa-aku Acquaye Baddoo telling us about their experiences with learning and development of staff in a decentralised organisation and the role that e-learning can play in the process.



In a separate meeting with Consultant Human Performance Improvement, Mrs. Gon Mostert of Panta Rhei Consultancy explained the advantages, the criteria for e-learning and technical details of e-modules. We talked about how e-learning fits in the perceptions of learning, how to obtain the proper learning content and how to present this well organized in a learning portal. Gon shared how their basic understanding of capacity development was developed and provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)in New York.

An interesting demonstration was given of SNVs virtual platform the Connector, including the so-called Interactive Learning Spaces. The overall goal of this virtual environment is to make learning accessible in a management culture that actively endorses learning activities. What SNV especially learnt of their practices was to take into account that one of the biggest bottlenecks can be the diversity in bandwidth at decentralised locations. Even after investing in the availability of satellites this problem occurred.

An important lesson learnt was to start small and to let it grow as you may gradually learn from evaluations or glorious mistakes. A practical thing is to provide learning modules on a USB stick instead of downloading huge files in the various decentralised situations.

Very successful is SNV's virtual orientation programme about the SNV organisation, set up in different modules for all novice workers. A major advantage of the e-modules are the consistent messages in the initial phase of ones career within the organisation.

At SNV E-learning is always part of a blended learning approach with different work forms applied. Included are face to face meetings, self study (e.g. using the e-modules), dialogue and discussion platforms. We learned that a big variety of off the shelf training may be obtained from NetG, Microsoft and the Distance Learning Centre (UK). A provider in the Netherlands of video material for training purposes is the Training Facily Center (TFC).

Gon Mostert advised to keep the technology for the learner as simple as possible and to enhance the learning results by making optimal use of the visual as well as the auditive learning components.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

'Un-conferences' as open, participatory workshop-events

This morning I shared with some colleagues that I attended an inspiring so-called 'un-conference' and added to say that un-conferences are held in the popular Barcamps workform. A social event type that is rapidly emerging in the United States' (although the very first Barcamp was held in Amsterdam!!).

Interpreting their non-verbal response it was obvious that I was speaking nonsense, using the terms 'un-conference' and 'barcamps' asks for an explanation.

Thanks to network connections to our Compartuser Del.cio.us tool I ran into a wiki that shows that 'un-conferences' are also in swing in the Development field.

'BarcampKampala - Appfrica Wiki' explains that a Barcamp "is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants"

For the doubters among you here is a quote from the wikipedia description that tells it all: 'BarCamp is an international network of un-conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies and social protocols.'

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Conference in Groningen

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) of the Europe region’s 2008 Conference is being held 3 -5 October 2008. Preconference sessions are on 1 and 2 October 2008. The conference is sponsored by the School of Communications and Media, Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen The Netherlands.

The theme of the conference is: Facilitation - Profession of Bridging Cultures. For more information visit http://www.iaf-europe-conference.org

The IAF Conference will include Pre-Conference Sessions

In addition to the regular conference sessions there are special Pre-Conference Sessions on 1 – 2 October are an opportunity to follow outstanding facilitator training programmes at reduced cost prior to the conference. This year’s pre-conference opportunities are:

NLP for Facilitators by Simon Wilson and Carol Sheriff
The Effective Facilitator Accelerated Workshop by Michael Wilkinson
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: The Facilitator’s Path to Authentic Cross-Cultural Practice by Nanci Luna Jimenez and Associates
Creating a Holistic Facilitation Process that Fosters ‘Inclusivity’ by Gary Rush
Facilitation from the Inside Out by John Epps

Information is now available on the IAF Europe Conference website (http://www.iaf-europe-conference.org. The programme has been posted. Have a look at the diversity of sessions available in this year’s IAF Europe Conference!

If you have any other questions please contact Jon Jenkins at j.c.jenkins@pl.hanze.nl.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Milestones and Celebrations

In a moment we are celebrating with coffee and cake the birthday of two dear colleagues. It is always nice to celebrate milestones and special moments.

Just 5 minutes ago we also passed a moment to mark. No reason to shoud it in the hallway, but allow me to celebrate that as colleagues we just added the 1000 th bookmark to our set of shared Compartuser favourites at Delicious !!

Link number 1000 that was added is on a draft document for the Accra Agenda for Action to reach the Milennium goals !!

Our Delicious effort is to practice knowledge sharing and learning !! Up to the 2000 th shared links !! But now it's time for coffee, and cake. Happy birthday Justine and Lisette !!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

About the new Delicious

Jul 31 2008

Via the Delicious blog - "Oh happy day — the new Delicious is here
Over the past few days we’ve been transitioning Delicious over to our new platform, quietly starting with RSS feeds and APIs. Today we’re taking the final step and flipping the switch on the new web site: delicious.com.

The new Delicious is just like the old del.icio.us, only faster, easier to learn, and hopefully more delightful to use and to look at. Here are the main changes:

Speed: We’ve moved to a new infrastructure that makes every page faster. This new platform will enable us to keep up with traffic growth while ensuring Delicious is responsive and reliable. You may not have noticed, but the old back-end was getting creaky under the load of five million users.

Search: We’ve completely overhauled our search engine to make it faster and more powerful. Searches used to take ages to return results; now they’re very quick. The new search engine is also smarter, and more social: you can search within one of your tags, another user’s public bookmarks, or your social network. Now it’s easier to take advantage of the expertise and interests of your friends, not to mention the Delicious community at large.

Design: Finally, we’ve updated the user interface to improve usability and add a few often-requested features (such as selectable detail levels and alphabetical sorting of bookmarks). Our goal has been to keep the new design similar in spirit to the old one, so all of you veterans should be able to jump in without any confusion. At the same time, we’re hoping that newcomers to Delicious will find it easier to learn. Check out the What’s New page for an overview of the changes, or watch this animation that sums it up nicely!"

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Digerati Wannabe

Good chance you know what serendipity is. Looking for something specific and finding a connection you were not looking for, but which link appears to be of at least as much value than what you searched for.

This occurred to me today. While I was checking some resources on collaborative work environments I ran into a blog that caused such an unexpected surprise.

It is a weblog with the name 'A Digerati Wannabe'. Triggered by that title 'Digerati' I checked it out and found some great 'thoughts about knowledge management, development work, life'.

You may want to decide for yourself and see what's in it for you! To know more about the owner and author Michael Riggs, don't forget to look at Michaels LinkedIn profile. Happy reading !!

P.S.: added Riggs favourites to my personal Deli.cio.us network and sent an invite to connect and stay in touch via LinkedIn, and looked at my new heroes website on e-agriculture!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Compart team training

On July 10 team Mission of ICCO & Kerk in Actie was trained in Compart flower. Since we thought that the Compart flower could be very useful for our work we decided to get trained on this new phenomenon as a team so it could be especially applied to our needs and wishes. It is also very nice to all start with this new way of working the same time.

The training started with mapping our partners and their internet possibilities. This helped to get an overviewe of which of our partners could benefit from the Compart flower.

The rest of the day we were trained on the different parts of the Compart flower which could be useful for us and our partners. We all enjoyed the training very much and became aware of the possibilities for our work.

At the moment we are working out the best way to use the Compart flower and are trying to "socialise" it in the team and our working methods. One way we try to do this is by weekly giving someone of the team the Mission WIKI award. The one who has been the most active on the Mission wiki receives this award. It is just a fun way of promoting the wiki and stimulating everybody to start using it.

Team Mission




Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Microlearning2008 Conference

The 4th Microlearning 2008 Conference focussed on 'Microlearning & Capacity Building'. It was held from June 25th – 27th 2008 in Innsbruck, Austria. The conference venue was the University of Innsbruck.

MICROLEARNING2008
… was about the dramatic impact of digital microcontent on the way we are living and working.

Workers and learners become “digital beings” who will have to adapt to swimming in a sea of “micro-information”.

→ The patterns of attention of media users are undergoing fundamental changes.

→ Enterprises & educational institutions will have to reorganize information, communication, and learning for a new kind of “micro-information ecology”.


Featured speakers were Judy Breck (USA) and Teemu Arina (Finland). Judy's presentation deals with 'Cloud Education'. Teemu spoke in Innsbruck about 'Innovation and Microinformation'. Both their presentations are on video.

Being familiar with these speakers I can fully recommand their presentations. Judy and I co-blog on Smartmobs. Teemu I have met in person in November 2005 during the 'Mindtrek' conference in Tampere Finland.

Judy Beck saught to convince the audience that these two things are crucial to the future of learning:

Delivering the cloud to individual students is the key mobile role for education.

The node junction between web assets is the most important component of online learning.



The Conference Proceedings

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tweetboard of a community of practice

Despite the severe growth problems that Twitter encounters today the die hards keep their optimism about it's potential as a collaborative tool for microblogging. Notice the KM4DevWiki on Twitter and read the Twitter collaboration stories that Nancy White collected.

Some users see it as their external memory and trust google for a perfect index service. Others prefer to see Twitter as a convenient way to stay in touch with peers in their field of practice. This blog item is meant to illustrate how twitter can be used for knowledge sharing in a community of practice.

In a tweetboard I have put up some examples of tweet streams by members of the KM4Dev network. This way I follow (among others) the tweets of twitter friend Christian Kreutz. A close look gives you a pretty good idea of how Chris makes it work for him.

If you like to look at the tweets of more early adopters go to my start4all page that is set up with links to background info and good practices on Twitter.

Still hesitant about the practical use of Twitter? Try it yourself, for what it is is up to us .... Do realize that the generated content in those short messages differ as widely as the users.

You are welcome at http://twitter.com/gervis if you want to see how the blogger of this item twitters privately.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The power of mass collaboration

The notion that 'knowledge resides in the network' keeps surprising. Via the twitterfeed of knowledge management expert Christian Kreutz *) I was pointed today to the master thesis of the CEO of Zpply, Mr. Ahmad Ghazawneh, with the intriguing title Managing Mass Collaboration (June, 2008).

*) see Kreutz's favorites on deli.ci.us and especially the set tagged with web2.0 + knowledge_management (another set of links on deli.ci.us that I like to recommand here are the favorites of community guru Nancy White aka Choconancy)

Mass collaboration is a collaboration model that is based on collective actions that occurs and takes place while large numbers of contributors and participants work independently but collaboratively in a single project which is modular in its nature.

The purpose of the study is to create and form a process framework from existing theories, practices and approaches in order to manage mass collaboration's initiatives and projects in organizations, and has the ability to analyze and describe those projects.

According to Ghazawneh the power of mass collaboration is also attracting governments' agencies, noticing that mass collaboration can make their work more effective.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

KM4Dev 2008 in Portugal

Km4dev is an international community of development practitioners who are interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing.

80+ participants from all over the world gathered 18-21 June for KM4Dev 2008 at the Pousada de Juventude Hostel in Almada, Portugal (just outside Lisbon) for an open space event on knowledge management for development. The faces of the participants and other gathering pictures are geotagged here on a Flickr map.

One of the participants was ICCO's Maarten Boers. Maarten will give you later a more extensive report of the experiences. You may have a little foretaste by taking a sneak preview at the KM4Dev 2008 Annual Gathering Blog , look at the tagged links on Deli.ci.us or enjoy the group pool and Peter J. Bury's pictures on Flickr.