Friday, 13 January 2012

Action Researchers Programmatic Approach and Internet

The coming months a group of five young professionals is going to do action research on the programmatic approach of the ICCO Alliance in 5 different regions. This research process intends to get an insight whether the programmatic approach is fulfilling the expectations and then especially as seen from the perspective of the actors involved in the programmatic cooperation processes. The programmes the group of researchers will work are:
  • The youth and security programme in Central America
  • The local market development programme in Peru (organic production)
  • The food and nutrition security programme in Nepal
  • The local market development programme in Burkina Faso (shea butter)
  • The food and nutrition security programme in Madagascar
During these first weeks of their assignment the young professionals are involved in an intensive preparation phase at the ICCO global office in Utrecht. Beginning of February 2012 they all will start their work in the regions.I had the pleasure to work with this groups of young researchers last week.

We had a very nice day in which we discussed and experimented with a whole range of web based tools which could be of use for their communication, exchanges and documentation of their researches.
We started with the question “What role will the Internet probably have in your work?”. It became clear that they all expect to use the internet for communication with the partners they are going to work with bacause of geographical distances, but also to communicate among themselves, with the ICCO Global office and of course with their friends and families.
It appeared that many of the tools which are being used by ICCO Alliance staff were not yet known by this group. However because of their experience with other internet application they all needed very little explanation. Once the first step of other tools were shown they already found out by themselves by rapidly experimenting with the different features wherefore and how it could be used even before the whole story was told.

Of course it was not the idea that all these tools will be used during their filed work of about 6 months and while working the decision was made to use three or four main tools: A PBworks workspace/wiki for the documentation of the researches; a Dgroup and/or Yammer for questions and discussions among the group members and the process facilitators at the Global office; a blog to inform the wider public about the upcoming research results; and a Facebook group for the more informal communications among themselves. And of course Facebook probably will also be used by them for the communication with family and friends. Tools such as Flickr, and Slideshare will be also used for sharing photos, videos and presentations or PDF files and Skype and AT&T-connect will be used for individual talks and meetings.

All together it was a very pleasant day and I am sure that this very enthusiastic and motivated group will come with interesting publications about their work during the coming months. So if you are interested keep an eye on this blog where will keep you informed how and where to find more information about their work.

Maarten Boers

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