web 2.0 for development

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FAO HLC and the attitude to share

Ban Ki-moon talking to the assemblyFAO 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?

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These weeks I’ll be pretty busy with this new temporary job as Liaison officer with media broadcasters at FAO during the High-Level Conference on World Food Security that will take place in Rome from 3 to 5 June 2008.

I’m very interested in knowing more about the media/TV business and the way it works during such big and worldwide events. I’ll post later on if I find interesting hints for our KM activities.

Have a look at the Live video coverage (streaming) and listen to the Audio coverage of the summit (mp3).

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KM4Dev 2008 meeting

Last year KM4Dev met in Zeist, Holland for the annual meeting as you can see in the image below and in the album on flickr.
This year, we will meet in June in Portugal, just outside Lisbon. Everybody interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing is invited.
Follow us and the preparation of the meeting on our blog and our wiki.


“The role of Radio” Workshop – DAY 3

The third and final day was crucial as well. The main task was to put together bits and pieces and design the future scenario for this large partnership on rural radio.

The day before, each group had chances to meet and discuss. Not so much as we hoped at the beginning but enough thanks to all the activities in preparation for the group work. It was also clear that the participants had different expectations and attitudes, in terms of decision making and future relationships.

plan of action

We started from collecting the WHOs, WHATs, HOWs and WHENs from the facilitators of the single groups, defining in this way a potential common and general plan of action. The panel in the above picture describes better than words the complexity and the vast range of activities that we agreed to bring ahead. Interesting to note that most of the people present in Rome agreed on starting activities as soon as possible and on scheduling a new meeting, probably in September 2008, to discuss more in details the plan of action for the future collaboration.

At the end of the meeting, after discussing the vision of the group for the future and before the final statement, we had an EVALUATION session. Sophie, the morning facilitator, asked the participants to define their satisfaction in terms of Participation, Objectives achievement, Methodology and process, Outcomes, and provided them with “bullets” to stick on a dartboard.

final evaluation

As you can see from the above image:

  • participation was very high and intense;
  • objectives were achieved for about half of the participants, with someone not completely satisfied;
  • methodology and process were generally clear to almost two/thirds of the people but not to everybody;
  • outcomes were satisfactory for four/fifth of the participants.

From our point of view, the result we were aiming at were largely reached. We were aware that many different partners are working in DR Congo but we didn’t have details about these activities. Thanks to the gathering process we started online and the face-to-face meeting, we could draw a much clear map of what’s going on in DR Congo and the Great Lakes region on Rural radio, and the way we all can collaborate by existing points of contact.

map of congo with existing projects

Obviously this kind of meeting had also other good aspects, like eating together and talking freely about many different topics we share.

final lunch on the FAO terrace

More postings on the Workshop:


“The role of Radio” Workshop – DAY 2

Day 2 – Clarifications, offers/demands matching and group work

Once the preliminary activities have been done and people got a better idea of what was on the table, we moved to the second step of this meeting: the matching between OFFERS and DEMANDS.

This was a crucial point, where the evolution of the workshop was to be decided. If offers and demands were clear and comprehensible, well detailed and well understood, clearly defined and well got, then people could have the possibility to find answers for their requests and move to the next step: the creation of sub-groups to start talking about how practically match offers and demands.

The first innovation of the day was to start having this session, and the rest of the meeting, formally facilitated. The presence of a formal and recognized facilitator was, at the end, very important. Without her, the session could have been unfruitful and a loss of occasions. Clare‘s presence, who kindly accepted this role, was very, very important. Thanks to her it was possible to keep the focus of the meeting on the matching of offers and demands, without ending up talking about general topics of rural radio, and ourselves, the organizers, could dedicate some time to the exposure of our own projects, otherwise impossible.

Before proceeding to this matching, and to be sure that details have been clarified, we spend part of the morning on clarifications and explanations, to be sure that the presentations of the previous afternoon were fully explained. Then, we moved ahead to the most difficult part of the day: the matching between offers and demands. Everyone was provided with cards, green for OFFERS and blue for DEMANDS. Then, once individuated some main categories (content, training, management, equipment, funding, legal framework), we started to pair blue and green cards, starting from DEMANDS and looking for matching OFFERS. At the end, we had a full table where almost all (but nor every request) were grouped.

Once offers and demands were paired on the wall, it was necessary to create sub-groups to start working on details. The paper was pretty full of connections and it was not so easy to describe them and find out the best connections: many-to-many is the way to define such a s situation. Once again our impression of great turmoil on rural radio, specifically in DR Congo, was confirmed by facts. We found out that many different groups could be formed. Some involving the majority of the presents, some others just a minority. Time constraints and number limitations convinced us to concentrate on some of these groups only. Anyhow, it was clear that most of us were interested in gathering with most of the people around the table. About the topics:

  • Training was the main issue, with almost all the participants interested in discussing it, in a way or another. Two different groups were formed and they were the first to meet in the afternoon, divided in two different parallel sessions: one dedicated to materials and manuals, the second to courses and resources.
  • Second best came content with two more groups interested in content production and knowledge sharing.
  • Another group met to discuss managerial aspects and potential partnerships.
  • Last, but not least, came equipment, which gathered many different partners about the topics of maintenance, provision and central buying.
  • Funding was obviously one of the topics that people wanted to discuss: getting the conscience that the demand could not match enough offer, it was proposed, and agreed, that people asking for it, could meet in a sort of plenary session to discuss collectively and see if there could be any solution or idea on how to approach this topic. The session was scheduled for the following morning.
  • Legal aspects were of interest of some of the participants, but, due to the lack of time and not too loose the focus, it was agreed not to dedicate an additional group to them.

Once identified, the groups worked in smaller session, with an internal facilitator and a precise task for the afternoon: identify and design a plan of action for the near future, defining WHO, WHAT, HOW and WHEN.

More postings on the Workshop:


“The role of Radio” Workshop – DAY 1

Day 1 Dedicated to presentations

The workshop, dedicated to “The Role of Radio in Development Practice”, has been prepared well in advance by the three agencies involved. To maximize the use of the time before the event, we decided to use a list on Dgroups: people introduced themselves and shared with the rest of the group the projects for which they intended to look for collaboration. The key principle was to define, for each project, “OFFERS” and “DEMANDS“. For a better comprehension of the other participants, it was important to highlight, for each project, what the organizations were offering, in terms of collaboration, skills, resources, ideas, knowledge, etc. and what were looking for.

The idea of organizing this meeting came from the consciousness that many different organizations are currently working in DR Congo on the issue of Rural Radio, at different levels. Being them all main actors of this topic (FAO, AMARC, Fondation Hireondelle, Institut PANOS Paris, Radio Nederlands, Farm Radio International, gtz, Dimitra, AMISnet, UNESCO, CTA), it seemed to us very important to have them organized and coordinated to get the best from their work.

As referred, one of the objectives was to “explore potential areas of collaboration among the participating organizations”. To do this, we thought to use the OFFERS as points of contact among the participant and, together, find the way to combine them with DEMANDS: it was not easy but surely possible.

To make it easier, it was important to have a moment for each participant to show his/her combination of OFFERS/DEMANDS, describe them vis-a-vis, give visual details, comment in a more detailed way, give a shape to the pieces on the table. We had a big puzzle in front of us and getting a better idea of all the single pieces was the starting point to find the best way to combine them, if possible. So the first day was dedicated to presentation to enable this flow of information to be redistributed, shared, analyzed, understood, chewed and digested by all of us.

At the same time, we also started to collect online all the pieces to give the participants a full framework for the future. Why? Well, I’m convinced that face-to-face meeting are fundamental in this kind of activities. I had been in touch with all the participants via email for more than a month, but I didn’t know most of them personally. As soon as we gathered around the table for the starting of the workshop things changed and conversations, sharing, and discussions were more fluent than before.

So we had in mind to do things for the immediate, but also to keep track of what was going on for the future, to have these relationship keep going, the activities proceed, the partnerships implemented and the collaboration successful and efficient. Almost all the presentation were collected and published on Slideshare to allow us to remember them and, eventually, embedded them in our own websites, whether in dedicated pages or in a future collective website.

The slideshow form Slideshare is the following View ruralradio's profile on slideshare while the short movie presented by RNTC is visible at

More postings on the Workshop:

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“The Role of Radio in Development Practice” Workshop

I have been pretty busy organizing the “The Role of Radio in Development Practice“, a joint AMARC/FAO/AMISnet Workshop. We want to learn from each other about communication for development activities actually going on the Lakes region in Africa.

As we stated in the concept note of the meeting, together the three big organizations were planning a technical consultation workshop on the theme of Independent, Rural and Community Radios to be held at FAO headquarters in Rome from 16 to 18 April 2008.

The overall aim of the workshop is to identify key issues in the design and implementation of radio initiatives in development contexts and to explore potential areas of collaboration among the participating organizations.

Activities will be starting this afternoon, so I’ll be back with more information and blogging about activities, methodologies and results later on.