Friday, 7 August 2009

Online Community Building: Gardening vs Landscaping

We talk about the 'Compart Flowers' and use the metaphor of gardening when we discuss how to use the tools to work with different communities. Here's a link to a blog that uses the same metaphor and discusses the issue of how to support community building emergence. A quote: "So what's the secret to successfull community building? You guessed it: be a great gardener and avoid the temptation to landscape"

Thanks for the link to Peter Ballantyne, who is going to garden in ILRI from September. He'll be sorely missed from the Compart programme.

Pete Cranston

First blog training session receives participants´applauses

Just when you think that you have everything under control… technology never fails! Despite the technical difficulties we experienced this afternoon, we are proud to say that the first training session on blogs went really well… at least we hope!

Most of the registered participants attended the session and we also had a few more unexpected people, but we were happy to have them. The introduction about blogs that Diego prepared was interesting and with lots of details and information. But the best part came later with hands-on demonstrations on how to create blogs and how to post an entry on We were very pleased to have so many questions and see how engaged people were. Didn´t anticipate that at all! Even though Diego had some problems with his head-sets and couldn´t listen to other people’s comments, he was able to conduct the training session really well and he answered most of people’s queries. The fact is that time went by super fast and there wasn´t enough time to address all the important comments and concerns people had.

Well, that just means that there is great demand from people to learn more about web 2.0 tools and great opportunities for the ComPart approach. We are glad to contribute to this and help people get involved.

Overall, I think this was a real team effort! Getting organized to overcome the technology shortcomings, exchanging headphones in the middle of the sessions so Diego could hear what others were saying, asking participants what their questions were and passing them on to Diego and getting a list of participants and their organizations and countries were some of the tasks that Virginia and I did for this first session.

But the results were great and most importantly people felt they gained something from the session. We gave them homework, though, and we really hope they go to the training blog and start posting. If they do, we’ll post them here pretty soon!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Using wiki for linking and learning in Indonesia

During the meeting ‘Working with wiki’s in development organisations’ I was inspired to also use a wiki in an upcoming conference I was co-organising in Indonesia. From 23 until 28 of June this conference was held and I think it was a success, also the wiki part of it, although the wiki still needs to prove itself…

I proposed the wiki to the organising committee three months before the conference as an instrument for the participants to keep in touch and exchange information after the conference. Everybody was immediately very enthusiastic, but were also a bit hesitant about the computer capabilities and internet facilities of all participants. In the end we decided to introduce the wiki to participants interested and capable of working with computers and internet; so voluntary and not an official part of the program.

We found an IT specialist from a partner organisation that was willing to guide and prepare the wiki process. This proved to be essential. He translated the wiki tutorial into Indonesian and trained a group of young people that would write the reports during the conference how to use the wiki so they could upload their reports on the wiki. He is now also the one people can ask questions to if they have a problem with the wiki.

By sending all participants the tutorial we tried to get people to use the wiki already before the start of the conference, but this was not a big success. Without training or introduction the step to start working on the wiki is too big. During the conference this was fully compensated though. Many participants liked the idea of a wiki, especially for its possibility to keep in touch with other partner organisations and to share information with each other. Almost all participants joined the (voluntary) wiki workshop, signed in and read the information. Some also placed comments or made their own page.

People are still a bit hesitant though with placing information on the wiki. One of the reasons for this is that people are not sure who else are reading all the information they put up there. We discussed closing the front page, so only people registered can see and join in on the wiki, but this only partly solves the problem and it also makes the information less accessible for people interested.

So introducing the wiki was a success, but whether it is useful for the future will depend on whether people will keep on adding information to it. By the way, if you want to check out our wiki, go to:

By Miriam Nagtegaal