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web 2.0 for development


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Training on GIS

geomapping

I just joined a webinar on GIS and GPS. I want to know much more about the relation between data and mapping. Geography is one of my passion and I’ve always been fascinated by the way data can assume different meaning when in relation with the Earth.

Will give a feedback when the training is over!


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How to describe a crisis on the web?

In the last months we were able to create a pretty new template for the FAO in emergencies website to talk about the ongoing humanitarian crisis around the world.

The layout is very modern and dynamic. To do so, we used some of the latest tweaks and effects to make communication about such complex events much easier! Now stories, documents, photos, videos and data are all accessible from one place, in a visual and quick way.

In the example below you can see the page dedicated to the Crisis in South Sudan. CAR, Madagascar and Philippines have also theirs.

south-sudan-crisis

 


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FAO in emergencies mobile App

After long, but good work, we released the NEW FAO in emergencies mobile App for iPhone and iPad.

It is publicly available on iTunes and it is free.

Immagine

With the App is possible to access most of the content of the FAO in emergencies website, with a specific focus on the emergency projects that FAO is implementing.


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Evolving the “FAO in emergency” website

Since the publication of the new FAO in emergency website, we tried to understand what people want to know about Emergency and how to show it in the best way.

As a result of this enquiry, we just launched the first big evolution of the site, most of which is visible in the home page:

new stuff of the website

The main changes are:

  1. The all new Project Highlights & Contributions section.
  2. The possibility to find all the content about a Country/Region/Crisis immediately in the Country/Region/Crisis page: check the Lesotho page or the Madagascar locust crisis page, for examples.
  3. The addition of new tools in the homepage:
    • A “Multimedia” box which shows the latest 3 videos/photo-galleries uploaded, and
    • The “Latest Documents” box which shows the latest 5 documents uploaded.


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It is out!

It took long but now it is out! The new FAO in emergencies website has been published and is available at www.fao.org/emergencies/

FAO in emergencies

I think this is a very good step ahead: complete reorganization, much more content, much more usability, social features and a new approach in the content creation with the site ready to host every new content produced in the “field”.

Have a look at all the main changes we made.

More is in preparation and you will see before summer.


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Barza meeting in Arusha

barza group photo

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.