e-Stas: Expert group on the decalogue for ICTs for nonprofits

At Sevilla, some people attending the e-Stas conference meet just before the conference to exchange ideas and reflections on how ICTs can not just help nonprofits but build “pure” ICT driven projects for development or social action.

The scope of the working session is to reflect on social projects based on new technologies, not just use them. Thus, the goals are as follows:

  • what can new technologies bring to social projects
  • how can we design social projects to standardize ICT use, methodology
  • what is the role of each sector (universities, private sector, public sector, nonprofits, etc.)

The hand that gives is always on the hand that receives. So, we should think about grassroots activities and proposals and stop thinking top-down.

People split into groups to treat, each one, the former three questions under five different perspectives. After a first brainstorming in groups, a good bunch of ideas are put in common:

Infrastructures

What:

  • Technical issues, to design standards and the technologies themselves
  • Social issues, such as accessibility
  • Infrastructures to serve or support services

How:

  • Boost wireless connectivity
  • Local authorities to foster infrastructures and global access
  • The market should be competitive, and there’s still a long road towards it
  • Technical standardization to access the network
  • Include into the design people with disabilities, we need a broader concept of design

The who’s question is a tricky one, as everyone should contribute, gather around projects and try and reach consensus.

Participation

What:

  • Helps participation to anyone
  • Allows disemination of information and awareness
  • Spreads resources, mobilization
  • New forms of participation, mobilization

How:

  • Immediacy, things happen in real time
  • Personalization, I participate as I like to
  • Bidirectionality
  • Design for all: everyone can participate

Who:

  • University as a testing groud: research, experimenting
  • Government: funding and projects information dissemination
  • Third sector: foster and promote the Internet as a new engagement channel, and promote his own technification per management issues
  • Private sector: implant the “design for all” issue, foster corporate volunteering and fund social participation

Summarizing: technologies can promote participative democracy besides representative democracy. It gives power to nonprofits and the social actors in general.

Internet is not a channel, but an environment, a place.

The problem is: when we talk about we, this we is just 10% of the population. What about the remaining 90%? Will this 90% benefit from a better access for the connected 10%?

Development and MDG

what can new technologies bring to social projects

  • ICTs bring voice
  • teach to fish, not give a fish
  • ICTs is about skills, not about computers
  • ICTs to enhance humanitarian aid by achieving more efficiency and efficacy
  • ICTs to boost progress
  • give access to the best that we (developed countiries) have
  • ICTs as a bridge to negociate the “now” with the “future”
  • market forces are going to shape the world, thus ICTs would change/reshape the way this market forces can act: equity, social justice, education, health, power
  • introducing a network enhances development, by participating in the network
  • technology changes the cost of a network by dramatically changing its cost. there’s a practical benefit of introducing a network, introducing communities that never took place before. do people benefit from taking part of a network? the answer is yes
  • south-south collaboration, being part of a “cloud”
  • pressure from the stakeholders and pressure from the clients
  • share different points of view and catch all sensibilities to guarantee access

how can we design social projects to standardize ICT use, methodology

  • assess the ways to introduce new processes
  • introducing technology must be user driven, grassroots designed, not funders pushed
  • bottom up, let the users drive the innovation
  • technology can foster existing tensions, magnify changes, multiply problems: thus, changes based on technology should be somehow “controlled” not to get out of control
  • make shure that not empowered groups can catalyze changes appropriately
  • simplicity

what is the role of each sector (universities, private sector, public sector, nonprofits, etc.)

  • the best stakeholder model is the “stone soup” model
  • let’s gather every passionate group, stakeholder inside the group
  • need to explain things in a way that every other sector understands, in his own “language”, what the whole thing is about. in this sense, there’s a need for the role of a bridge to make ends and parts meet. the academics could play this part
  • what’s the role of the government? there’s a problem on keeping the monopoly on telcos

Digital Literacy

Technology can do nothing to bridge the digital divide: it’s just technology, it’s just means, it’s just tools to set up projects.

How:

  • by doing projects, lots of them
  • taking into account the environment
  • population
  • evolving
  • engaging

Who:

  • administration: foster and boost the participation of agents, including bringing resources to projects
  • university: advocacy, research
  • businesses: working together with NGOs by bringing resources such as know how, funding, capital
  • nonprofits: engagement with the end users, dynamize the projects
  • citizenship: diffuse knowledge

one PC does not constitute a digital literacy project

Social groups, social innovation, social intervention

What’s the definition of innovation? Too much a complex society…

What:

  • promote relationship sharing
  • promote integration by other means, specially through anonymous channels

How:

  • Share
  • Debate
  • Special training for workers in social fields
  • Social entrepreneurship

Who:

  • add as much actors as possible
  • relationship fostering
  • somebody has to take risks: the Administration? businesses? There’s a need to fund social innovation projects

See also:

e-Stas 2007, Symposium on Technologies for Social Action (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “e-Stas: Expert group on the decalogue for ICTs for nonprofits” In ICTlogy, #42, March 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=524

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