Development Cooperation 2.0 (VII): Conclusions

Use of ICTs in development cooperation models

  • More efficacy, based on knowledge-intensive projects
  • Usefulness must drive the implementation of ICTs, not hype
  • ICTs for a better nonprofit performance and for better project results
  • Learn from ICT adoption in developing countries and apply them in developed ones
  • ICTs challenge the traditional design of the nonprofit sector
  • Capacity building a must for nonprofits to benefit from ICTs
  • Usability, accessibility, content, sustainability
  • e-Governance to enhance citizen engagement

Networked cooperation

  • A necessary response to the Network Society
  • Shift from hierarchy to horizontal interaction
  • Human networks boosted by technological networks
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Project-centered cooperation, enabling inclusion
  • Multistakeholder partnerships
  • Decentralized networks for collaboration, while keeping autonomy
  • Centralized networks still useful for certain actions
  • Networking requires (network) managing skills
  • The network must be properly designed, in transparent ways, making its goals explicit, lead it through confidence
  • Network design and building as investment in research, development and innovation

ICTs in the Spanish Development Cooperation

  • Great advances in the last times that draw an optimistic future
  • Networking to seek harmonization between organizations
  • Quality fostering
  • ICTs to achieve leadership/excellence in development cooperation
  • Effort to share both experiences and capabilities

More info

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

Development Cooperation 2.0 (VI): Round Table: ICTs in the policies and strategies of Development Cooperation

Round Table: Enric Senabre (moderator), Ana Moreno, Eduardo Sánchez, Carlos Mataix, Paco Prieto, Martín Jerch
ICTs in the policies and strategies of Development Cooperation, particularly in Spanish Cooperation

Carlos Mataix: some reflections about the design and management of organizational networks in cooperation
  • Networks are open and can help to reduce transaction costs between nodes, provided there are common standards, confidence, etc. in these transactions
  • Networks are complex, but a good environment to help ideas grow
  • From (classic) strategic planning towards a paradigm or leadership based on values, and networks should be lead by such values
  • Generative networks have distributed power, then again challenging the traditional ways of leadership and organization government: the commitment to enter a network is both a commitment outwards and inwards.
Ana Moreno: ICTs in the organization

ICTs both integrated in daily work and integrated in projects.

Change management in the organization a must.

Lessons learned

  • Shared designs
  • Bottom-up
  • Capacity building, competences

The emergence of networks offer a new role for firms to enter the world of development cooperation in brand new ways.

Martín Jerch

Strong commitment to open content, procedures, etc. within the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency, of strategic importance when having 60 offices spread all over the world.

Eduardo Sánchez
  • ICTs to drastically cut down costs of development cooperation
  • We have achieved a somehow good level, in a quantitative point of view, of resources for development cooperation, now we have to build quality projects based on these available resources. Accountability, transparency
  • Participation, engagement as part of this transparency and quality goals
  • Nonprofits are means, not goals, and ICTs can help in this, in reinforcing the role of ICTs as canalizators
Paco Prieto
  • The role of technological centers and telecenters as a node of the development cooperation network
  • New ways to do projects
  • New ways to assess projects.
Comments from the audience

What about North-North cooperation? Why not using ICTs to coordinate nonprofits in developed countries and/or help smaller nonprofits so they can achieve big successes just like big nonprofits do. [by someone at the CRUE]

Paula Uimonen & Manuel Acevedo: ICTs in development cooperation vs. ICT4D. The table agrees that, of course, there’s a difference and that probably the former should come first, then the latter, and to do so (to do the former), nonprofits have to knock at the politicians’/funders’ door so they put it in the development agenda (read budget). Well, I couldn’t agree less. I think newest ICTs, especially the ones that the Web 2.0 brought in, are challenging way more the organizations’ design, the (lack of) foresightedness of their leaders, and the commitment with real openness of their goals and functioning. And this is, by no means, dependent from highest policy making and even budgeting.

More Info

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

Development Cooperation 2.0 (V): Communications

Lady Virginia Mugarra Velarde
Education for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases prevention

The role of ICTs to educate about sexually transmitted diseases prevention, especially to educate educators.

An important aspect of such education is to ease the communication between the physicists and their patients.

Goals

  • Train educators about these diseases… and how to educate about them
  • Sensitize youngsters about prevention
  • Mobilize policy makers

The main successes are, above all, the speed and spread of information and training, with a strong focus on prevention, which is where information can actually make a difference.

Tools: a platform with three axes (1) content (2) spaces for debate (3) online assistance

María Jesús Medina
Cybervolunteering at Iníci@te Programme

[note: in this session, cybervolunteer = ICT volunteer, not online volunteer. See my Online Volunteering Taxonomy for more details]

Volunteers experts in ICTs to help users in telecenters.

Volunteers are trained about attitudes, techniques, the environment they are going to work in, the target beneficiaries of the several activities, etc.

The public-private partnership between the regional administration (coordinating the project) and the local administrations and telecenters a must for success.

Olga Fernández Berrios
Reflections, tools and experiences about cooperation 2.0

Training for nonprofits about technology for nonprofits, with a strong use of Web 2.0 applications, such as feed aggregation, metablogs, wikis, instant messaging, VoIP, microblogging, online volunteering, etc.

Blogs in the field: use of blogs to raise advocacy and transparency by writing within and from a development project.

Blogs at the headquarters: same, but from the nonprofit headquarters (no need to be really there, but the focus)

Directories of projects and institutions.

Metablogs: Global Voices Online

Planets: feed aggregators, automatically updated once have been set up. The information comes to you.

Wikis: Where nonprofits share their information, handbooks, procedures… and with the possibility that this information can be updated/build collaboratively.

Caveat: some of these initiatives are not top-down, not institutional, but raised by individuals, sometimes as a personal answer (critique?) to the bureaucratic slowness and lack of flexible response of some organizations.

Social networks: some of them using richest media, such as The Hub.

We should shift from talking about technology to talking about the uses of it. The Web 2.0 allows this shift, as technological solutions come more and more irrelevant.

Free flow of information: RSS, copyleft or open licensing, syndication

Slides:

Vicente Carlos Domingo González
humania.tv

To enable media diffusion, especially video, for nonprofits and development issues.

Their role is to act as a new information agency to cover events, projects from nonprofits. It runs on a volunteering basis coming from the media sector + a technological platform to broadcast video.

The goal is not only to broadcast, but have audience too, thus the commitment with high-quality low-band requisites of the portal.

José Manrique López de la Fuente
Opportunities of Mobile Web in developing countries

Success bridging the digital divide

  • The will, motivation to access the Net
  • Material access
  • Personal capacity, competences
  • Access to advanced uses

The importance to generate local business possibilities based on ICTs.

Part of the material access and personal capacity interaction is about the ease of use, that should be kept clear in all ICT4D projects.

Mobile Solutions

  • Specific applications for mobile phones: maximum integration with the device, but device diversity can generate incompatibilities
  • Voice and/or SMS based solutions: simple and working, interoperability could be a pro or a con
  • The Web as platform: rich, standards are mainstream

Mobile Web

  • Advantage: Integration of existing solutions
  • Advantage: Technologies based on open standards
  • Problem: user experience, diversity and cost in some places
  • Problem: low-tech devices that cannot access the web, mobile carriers not providing access

Carolina Moreno Asenjo
Global Networks and social engagement: ICT integration strategies at Entreculturas

Goals

  • Improve quality in education, at a global level
  • Foster advocacy through ICTs
  • Fight the “loneliness” of the teacher in his classroom
  • Cut down costs in training and knowledge sharing
  • Create a link to catalyze network building

Leverage communities of practice and communities of learning with ICTs.

Challenges

  • engagement of the beneficiaries
  • funding
  • logistics when setting up the hardware and technological platform
  • motoring, coordination
  • sustainability

Communication in Alegría Activity

Mobile (connected) classrooms.

Eduardo Pérez Gutiérrez
Geographic Information Systems in Educational Centers for Regional Development

Goals: Develop web-based GISs for diagnose and monitoring of educational centers for regional development.

To fight lack of education in remote, rural areas, governments supply these regions with instructors, that are not actually teachers but have a broader profile, socially speaking, but a lower profile as an educator. So, their social profile is good to interact with the community but the quality of teaching might not be as good as expected.

The GIS should help cross data about the reach of an instructor’s activity, the profile of the population reached by this instructor, etc. and then help the decision-making about the instructor, his activity, the way he spends his budget, etc.

Benefits: focused investments, allows centralized administration, transparency and monitoring, enables confidence, provides context and helps strategy design.

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

Development Cooperation 2.0 (IV): Working groups: Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation

Ismael Peña-López (moderator), Shafika Isaacs, Vikas Nath, Paula Uimonen
Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation

Ismael Peña-López: Introduction

see my position paper here

Paula Uimonen: Is development cooperation prepared?

No. The structure is too bureaucratic.
But the network logic is horizontal, cross-sectorial, transversal, non-hierarchical.
But it seems that the international arena is working for a more networked development cooperation sector.

Shafika Isaacs: Are organizations prepared to network?

It depends: they’re all in an evolutionary process.
There’re more and more organizations working in the field of ICT4D.
And a rising awareness on the issue.
Big leadership behind ICT4D fostering.
Common agenda that enabled collaboration and networking, especially withing the civil society, with an inflection point at the WSIS.

Vikas Nath: What is networking and how can this be achieved?

People join networks for two reasons: (1) more benefit than the cost of joining it and (2) multiplier effect that a network is increased by one member.
There’s no optimum design for a network: the network will shape itself according to its needsl.

Conclusions from my group (the four people above)

Objective facts
  • Network culture assumes the character of the leading person/organization, of the dominant personalities
  • Networking is about “we”, and ceases to exist when focused at the “I” — not a consensus on this part
  • The Network Society is here, and is here to stay
  • In developed countries — and their institutions and organizations — infrastructures is not the issue
  • Big funding agents foster collaboration through compulsory partnerships
  • Network participation implies engagement with the other (which might be different from you), boundary crossing
Criticism
  • Where there is power there is resistance, and resistance is also organized in networks (Foucault)
  • We lose to dream, we ain’t dreaming enough, we “think small”
  • Lack of e-awareness
  • Competition for funding
New concepts
  • The contradiction that the network compromises the individual with the collective will
  • Networks can bring disruptive creation
  • I exist because I am on the Internet
  • The Network is becoming more “real” than reality itself, we should think digital
Intutitions
  • Network creates a more human society
  • The power dynamics are designed by the network leaders
  • The network is cold and has no emotions
  • Big nonprofits will act as hubs, and distribute work to smallest nonprofits and individual online volunteers
Optimism
  • The social and cultural aspects of ICTs will promote networking
  • We have potential to make positive changes, because we are the network,and networks have potential to make significant changes
  • Web 2.0 enabling more collaboration and bottom-up initiatives
Control
  • Resistance, which leads to lack of change
  • Endorsement, that leads to progress
  • Impossibility to keep tight control
  • Flexibilize organizations
  • Focus on what value you are adding to the network
  • Be a statue sometimes and not always the pigeon

General conclusions (from all groups)

  • Networks are here and are powerful
  • There’s evidence of change and shifting towards networking: in the society, in organizations. And there’s an evolving trend towards more networking
  • Networks are catalysts, make things happen, have multiplier effects… but they have no essence on their own, they just mirror the good and bad things of the society, what works and what does not work, there’s nothing new under the (networked) sun but humans
  • Strong need to enable individuals so they can work with ICTs, in networked frameworks
  • Same with organizations: collective change, organizational change, reshaping according to networking needs
  • We have to make networks explicit, design them, rule them, have common goals, a common agenda, managing confidence and leadership. Monitoring and network assessment is a must that comes along with network creation and maintenance.
  • We should work towards inclusive networks, fostering capacities, networks that empower their nodes so they can still be a part of the network.
  • The Web 2.0 is seen as a (potential) inclusion concept/philosophy/technology, an empowering one
  • Caveat #1: all these conclusions are not axiomatic: there are shades, blurring edges, contradictions, etc.
  • Caveat #2: this is how we see networks today, but we should also keep in mind that networks (and society) will evolve, so should these conclusions

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

Development Cooperation 2.0 (III): Florencio Ceballos: IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the telecentre.org experience

Florencio Ceballos
IDRC: Learnings, limitations and challenges from the telecentre.org experience

Crisis of performance, effectiveness, results, etc. in development cooperation, despite the increasing amount of resources devoted to it.

Reasons

  • Industrial way of thinking, not post-industrial. The actual development paradigm is old and not valid. We need a new, up-to-date paradigm.
  • Focus on pilot projects that are not maintained after the pilot phase, so they die in the medium- or long-run.
  • Short-sightedness of asymmetric internationalism: there’s more and more knowledge in the South about south issues than in the north, so don’t (you northern developed country) look at your local environment, because it does not mirror the southern reality.
  • Money is an issue, but not the issue.

Solutions?

  • Try a new networked, collaborative way of designing and implementing projects
  • Forget about old ways of accountability and reporting mainly focused to satisfy the “needs” of the funding institution’s bureaucracy: instead, public accountability through the institutional web site, blogs, etc.
  • Boost (local) leaders, people that can enable (social) changes. Horizontal leadership and social capital, again enhancing networks and (symmetric) networking

Development and ICT4D are blurring concepts that are becoming indivisible aspects of Development in general.

We’ve much focused in access to infrastructures that we didn’t realize that mobile telephony was closing the digital divide at our backs. So, how does the telecenter has to adapt to this trend and make of (a) the PC+Internet a (still) valuable tool and (b) the mobile phone a more powerful tool (as the PC+Internet is)

New cooperation models: from charity to collaborative business strategies where both partners (northern, southern) benefit/profit from ICT4D projects.

More on horizontal leadership

The assumption that you (the North) can change the world, with just one project, designed in the framework of your office, is absolutely wrong. It’s better to empower, boost the leaders that are already operating this change through their daily work, so they can have a wider and deeper reach and impact, so the social change truly happens and at a higher level.

It’s not that we have to forget about all we’ve learned through the years about development, but just forget about the asymmetry that now rules development cooperation.

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

Development Cooperation 2.0 (II): Round Table: Opportunities and Challenges of ICT integration in Development Cooperation

Round table: Manuel Acevedo (moderator), Shafika Isaacs, Vikas Nath, Eiko Kawamura, Paula Uimonen
Opportunities and Challenges of ICT integration in Development Cooperation

Q: who’s to design ICT4D cooperation strategies?

Paula Uimonen: It makes lesser and lesser sense the North-to-South approach of knowledge and aid transfer. More and more the South is sovereign to define its own needs, and should be able to ask for help, resources and so to the North, but not to have to indiscriminately accept what comes from it.

Q: can I help you if you (country) don’t have a framework, an explicit policy to foster ICTs?

Shafika Isaacs states that in most Africa such policies do exist [focus in education], and the frameworks, even in an emergent state, they are already built and capable of processing/absorb any project or help that might come in the field of ICTs. Even more, the network to enable a knowledge exchange practice is already there, and this is the priority of Africa.

Q: can we set up ICT4D projects/agencies/development cooperation in the South?

Vikas Nath: Sure. There’s been lot of work already been done in the private sector arena, and now’s the turn for the civil society to lead the process, enabled/fostered by such cooperation. And this empowered society (private firms, nonprofits, etc.) are actually and already leading some interesting development projects, trends, paths, etc.

Q: what kind of action should design an international agency to work in Latin America to foster the Information Society?

Eiko Kawamura: first of all, have a clear map of what the local reality is like, specially describing the real needs of the beneficiaries, what do people need in communication related issues.

A huge problem in top-down initiatives is that they have embedded by default their own (success) indicators, most of them quantitative, while raising living standards, welfare, is most times a matter of qualitative perceptions… and indeed a long term issue, sometimes quite separated in time from the project itself. You might be measuring the irrelevant and forgetting the relevant.

Another problem is short-run, pilot projects that do not have time enough to (positively) effectively impact the community, while they generate financial dependences that do not take into account sustainability issues in the long run.

Random comments from the audience
  • ICTs crucial for development (by a man from Angola’s government)
  • The importance of capacity building and digital literacy when/besides “installing computers”
  • Importance of top level commitment and policies to framework ICT4D projects
  • Shift the focus from computers to education

Shafika Isaacs: right, there’s high penetration of mobile phones in Africa, way greater that computers/Internet, but removing out of the spotlight computers/Internet just because they have lesser penetration would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. We have to work in how such different technologies can be integrated, and this means mobile phones + computers + Internet, but also radio, that has a huge penetration in Africa and is really popular.

Eiko Kawamura: Indeed, the problem with mobile phones is that they’re (still) expensive and (still) just used for text messaging, so she agrees with Shafika Isaacs about integrating different technologies so they fit different purposes.

Vikas Nath: we’re suffering a lock in syndrome in ICT4D. The lack of infrastructures and literacy does not let us think about effective uses/applications of ICTs for Development. A vicious circle. We have to break it and surely policies and government strategies is a good means to.

Manuel Acevedo: it’s important to use ICTs to do old things in a better way. But, what about trying to do new things?

Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)