Cooperation for Development 2.0

Next January 30th and 31st takes place the Cooperación al Desarrollo 2.0: I Encuentro Internacional de las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación para la Cooperación al Desarrollo [Cooperation for Development 2.0: I International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Cooperation for Development], in Gijón, Spain.

I have been invited to chair one of the four workgroups of the event, actually the one that is more focused on Cooperation for Development 2.0, the one called Networking Cooperation – towards the networked Cooperation.

I have also been asked to write an article, a position paper to start up the debate. It will be coming in the next days, but in the meanwhile, I’m working on the following concepts/keywords:

  • Network: Everything will be networked or won’t be. Institutions will be nodes of a grid or isolated, disconnected, starving islands in their way towards disappearance.
  • Gift economy: You’re in a network and what you give is what you get
  • Open access (open source, open content): If you’re a nonprofit, it absolutely does not make (even less) sense to rediscover the wheel, not to disclose your capital
  • Presence: Be on the Web or be not. Networks and networking, accountability, transparency, advocacy will be web based or, at least, begin on the Web.
  • Citizen engagement: The rising importance of media (remember the “C” in ICT) shifts the focus from charity, direct cooperation to advocacy, and the power to mobilize the citizens to lobby internationally.
  • Online Volunteering: For the most engaged ones, online volunteering makes possible distributed, high quality and highly granular engagement
  • Long Tail: Nonprofits, volunteers, minority groups have the potential to find and be found more than ever.
  • Networking + Long Tail + Online Volunteering: The evolution of aid big funders (international and national governmental agencies, big foundations) in the last days has shifted from ‘coffee for all’ to ‘big impact on concentrated clusters’. As in firms, I wonder if there is a trend towards big knowledge hubs where multinational nonprofits receive big funding, having the most operational tasks outsourced to smallest onsite nonprofits and online volunteers that gather around a project and dismantle once it is done.
  • North-South vs. South-North: No more people traveling around: knowledge workers collaborate online, funders wire funds and target communities from cooperation work on an endogenous development basis.

Comments really welcome.


Final version of my position paper, in Spanish, already available:

Peña-López, I. (2008). Reticulando la Cooperación — hacia la Cooperación Red: Materiales para un debate. Position paper for the workgroup “Reticulando la Cooperación – hacia la Cooperación Red”, 30th January 2008, Cooperación al Desarrollo 2.0 conference, Fundación CTIC. Barcelona: ICTlogy.


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

Peña-López, I. (2007) “Cooperation for Development 2.0” In ICTlogy, #51, December 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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3 Comments to “Cooperation for Development 2.0” »

  1. Hello Ismael,

    nice points you put together. I would recommend another point for collaboration and learning. Can cooperation lead to collaboration and does and can learning take place?
    Another point I find interesting is the openness of networks. Open access is one aspect but I often wonder to which extent organizations are willing to open their networks for outsiders?
    I do not get the gift economy part. What do you mean by that? Thanks!

    Best regards Christian

  2. Hi Christian, nice to see you around :)

    I agree about your point on willingness to open one’s networks to outsiders, and it is my belief that just this point has been turned upside down: before, keeping your knowledge for yourself was an asset; now, it is a barrier. Especially in cooperation, for once and forever nonprofits should learn to cooperate… or maybe disappear.

    About the gift economy. Well Yochai Benkler puts it way better than I, but the idea is the one I put with “what you give is what you get”. In a networked world/economy, you’re just a node of a network. If you don’t contribute to it, the network finds you’re useless and just cuts its links to you, so you’re actually kicked out of the network.

    And if you depended on that network – and I think we all do, especially if you work on cooperation for development – you just cannot afford to be disconnected.

    Actually, your comment on collaboration and learning (and knowledge exchange in all its shapes and degrees) is just an issue that perfectly fits in my gift economy point.

  3. Pingback: Another social platform for development cooperation? « Orgbook

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