At the end of September, I was invited by Farm Radio International (FRI) to Arusha, Tanzania, to join the first “barza” workshop. Barza, a swahili word which means “the place where people in a village meet under a tree to talk and sort out questions concerning the community”, is an online comunity dedicated to community radio broadcasters in Africa.
The meeting was organized by FRI to gather both the users, the community radio broadcasters, and the advisory group of the community one year after the birth of this experiment.
The calendar of the three days was pretty intense:
- Day 1 was dedicated to introduce people (most of us knew each other but never met before) and describe FRI’s activity in the past, their intention to set up the community and how people got involved in the experiment. I had a chance to introduce my idea, developed in 2003, when I dedicated the thesis of my Master in International Cooperation to the creation of an online Community for community Radio broadcasters. In the afternoon, people identified problems and difficulties in the current community both in terms of technical issues and offline collaboration and promotion.
- Day 2 was mainly devoted to identify future options for the community to expand in terms of members and of content. The exercise was very interesting: dozens of ideas came on the table and, as usual, Internet seemed to be the Holy Graal, the “thing” that can give you an answer to all your needs, the keyword to solve all the problems, the gateway for accessing everything, everytime, everywhere… It can be true but you have to create the conditions for this to happen, otherwise a failure is just behind the corner.
- Day 3 was dedicated to the advisory group to put order in the inputs received during the general meeting and start planning for the future. We had a franck and long conversation about our perceptions, what each one of us wants and can offer, what the problems for the future can be.
The main problem to solve now is to decide whether Barza is mainly oriented towards people OR content: barza was born as an online community which means to be devoted to create relationships among people. In addition, we live the social media era of the internet where online relationships are the KEY. BUT content is a crucial element in the life of a radio broadcaster and access to good and new content is considered the key by most of the members of barza. So the dilemma between content and people is still open.
Personally I don’t see a contrast between the two things. In my opinion, barza should be characterized as an online community of community radio broadcasters (a very clear group of people with a clear strong interest in common) and use the interaction among people to share and spread among members innovative content about different topics (mainly scripts about agriculture and nutrition but also health, education, human rights, gender issues, etc.).
Thanks FRI, Kevin, Nelly, Blythe and Bart, for the great occasion they offered me to learn more about these guys and their needs and perception of what an online community can do for them.
The Forum on Mobile Telephony just ended. I think this has been a very interesting discussion, not only for the postings themselves, but mainly for the large number and value of people involved, experiences described and points of view reflected during two weeks.
To give an idea the complexity and the value of our last discussion in this thread, I used wordle to create a cloud with the words used in the last conversation. In the image below you can see the graphical result of this exercise.
In the framework of the World Food Day, FAO and the European Professional Football Leagues have launched a new campaign called “Professional football against Hunger”. Roberto Baggio and Raul, two of the FAO Goodwill Ambassadors are among the promoters of the campaign.
What I think to be interesting in this attempt is the power of emotions and examples. The campaign, as the Austrian Ambassador explained, is based on the power of the emotions that football can produce in many of us. They are the levers to open the hearts and the minds of the people who are, watching the games, fascinated by the “good examples” offered by the football ambassadors and, as a consequence, pushed to replicate positive behaviors many and many times.
As a citizen and a football amateur, I really hope the campaign to be successful. As a professional, I’m reflecting on the times I’m able to work on the emotions of the people involved in KM/KS activities and the number of good examples I can find and offer to this public so as they can be stimulated to reproduce the same “positive” attitude. The 923 millions people who are actually suffering for hunger and poverty need an answer as soon as possible from all of us.
This posting sustains the Blog Action Day 2008 dedicated to Poverty.
These days FAO is hosting a very interesting writeshop about how to use Video for development. Introducing the event, the organizers declare the objective to:
document experiences and provide guidance to readers on the application of video for rural and agricultural development
So FAO, CTA, gtz and the University of Wageningen, gathering experts in Rome, want to offer a general overview of the potential use of video in development. Here is a tentative graph to define the two factors (audiences and objectives) directors keep in mind while deciding what kind of video to shoot:
With the publication of the book, the participants wish specifically to accelerate the debate on video in agricultural development.
The meeting is finished and we are back in our offices. Obviously everything changes after 90 people gathered for few days to discuss and share what they do everyday.
Now the network is definitely enlarged, the experience is deeper, the material shared is a ton, the fun was great and, more than everything, the feeling and the trust in the group is deeper and purer than before.
A great bunch of material has been produced and shared during and after the meeting. As it’s clear from the list of impressions collected in the final session, people brought a lot of their own at this meeting.
…and also on the blog: http://km4dev2008.wordpress.com/
…and on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/km4dev
…and on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/km4dev2008/
I know I’m writing something that is so simple and logic, BUT I felt once again that “saying is something” while “experiencing is something else“, so different. So reminding these ideas can be useful.
The annual KM4DEV meeting just started in Lisboa today with a preliminary day dedicated to introductory activities about the group and the theme of KM. Read more in the km4dev 2008 meeting blog and more than that have a look at the pictures in the km4dev group on flickr. Pretty soon, some videos will be available as well.
Network mapping was a very interesting activity we dedicated the whole afternoon. Time is passed to blog now but still you will find many interesting info about the vent in the pages I indicated. Otherwise, come back in a couple of days and more news will be available.
FAO is doing a huge effort to produce and distribute a long list of content about the actual High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy.
The website is a good channel to be virtually and ideally in touch with the event: the video, the pictures, the speeches and other material are available live on the dedicated website. Information is overall seriously taken in consideration. Not the same I can say for communication. My consideration is that, still, this material is not “web 2.0 oriented”. FAO talks but what is the attention for those who are listening to? Where is the intention to share?
What do I mean? there is a lot of good stuff but all this content, as is, cannot be incorporated and shared by other sites, bloggers, social networking people. So, the maximum I can do to talk to you about what’s happening in Rome is to link to their site, their images, their video…
Well, I actually have the habit to do something more than that to blog about something. What about your habits? Do you feel this up-to-date or a bit old-styled?