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Blog Action day 2010 dedicated to WATER

blog action day on Water

By definition WATER is a clue topic! Today more than in the past. Vandana Shiva many times wrote that the next wars will be fought for water and not for oil.

The topic is so relevant that I would like to publish for this article something more detailed and peculiar than my own thoughts. That’s why I prefer to report this short extract from “Water and the Rural Poor: Interventions for improving Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa“:

Insecure access to water for consumption and productive uses is a major constraint on poverty reduction in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). For millions of smallholder farmers, fishers and herders in SSA, water is one of the most important production assets, and securing access to and control and management of water is key to enhancing their livelihoods. The potential exists for well-targeted, local interventions in water that contribute to rapid improvement in the livelihoods of the rural poor in SSA and help attain the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It discusses conditions for success and proposes water-based, context-specific, and livelihood-centered approaches to poverty reduction in rural areas.

Given the predominance of rural poverty in SSA, and given that agriculture will remain the main source of livelihood, poverty reduction strategies need to focus on improving productivity in this sector. This report focuses on agricultural water because:
(i) it plays a central role in agriculture-based rural livelihoods;
(ii) adequate availability and reliable access to water is frequently a constraint on production; and
(iii) water provides a focal point around which other interventions can be organized.

Examples of successful water projects in SSA exist, and there are important opportunities for new investments in water. Their success will depend on the development of new models of interventions, centered on enhancing the diversity of livelihood conditions of rural populations. A large part of the success of future investments in water control will depend on a more comprehensive analysis of dynamic opportunities and needs, which are closely linked to the shifting biophysical and socio-economic contexts.

However, there is no “one size fits all” approach for improving livelihoods. Different contexts and needs will require different types of investments, in which market or household food security, prevailing agroclimatic conditions and associated farming systems, and the overall socio-economic and institutional environment will guide the choice from a non-prescriptive menu of appropriate interventions at different scales.

Special thanks to Guido Santini and Jean-Marc Faurès for their publication and contribution.


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KM4DEV 2010

The blog of the KM4DEV 2010 annual meeting has just been launched.

Follow the activities of the next gathering of KM4Devers in Cali, next May 2010.

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In order to register, please fill out the form that is available at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SFQX7S3 before May 14.


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State fo the Blogosphere 2009

Technorati just released the latest “State of the Blogosphere 2009“. It is a very useful and interesting collection of data about the blogosphere. Actual trends and needs are coming out from the report. I’ll be back after reading it to reflect on the data.


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Socialmedia and the Iranian Election

I found this very interesting article on how socialmedia are supporting the events and the information sharing process during the events which followed the Iran Elections.

I really think it’s worth reading it to have an idea of how information, people and Internet go together today.

UPDATE: more from the same source: a social media timeline on Iranian Elections.


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The ability of creating linkages through the Internet

I recently found this article and I think it’s worth reading it. Written by Seth Godin, it’s called “How to make money using the Internet“. As you can understand from the title, the article is meant for a business audience and not directly for people involved in development projects.

Image by kugel on flickr

Image by kugel on flickr

Nonetheless, I see interesting prods about how we can use the Internet to stimulate interaction, collaboration and knowledge sharing among people/organizations/networks/institutions interested in development activities. In all the quoted examples, the authors highlighted the ability to connect a certain kind of demand with a certain kind of offer, matching and satisfying the two counterparts: using the Web makes find the two faces of the same coin easier.

Matching” was one of the keyword for us, at FAO, during the Meeting on Rural radio last April. Participants were invited to prepare two lists, one of  demands and one of offers, and the meeting focused on putting them together. We considered, as a prerequisite for an effective action, an accurate definition of the target group and a correct identification of their needs. I’m really convinced following this approach is the key to have good results.

In the same perspectiva, talking about tools, it seems interesting to adopt an appropriate selection and a balanced mix of them to stimulate every audience through the most effective levarege. So doing, we go back again to the concept of convergence of: Intenet, rural and community radio and mobile phones.


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Blogging and the blogosphere: present and future

Internazionale is a very interesting magazine and offers tons of inputs for better understanding what’s going on around the world. It helps putting pieces together.

The number last week collected the following three articles on blogging:

Reading them, one after the other, made the scenario of blogging quite clear. What is the point and the trends these people are highlighting? Well, the blogosphere is alive but it is deeply changed.

Starting form Andrew Sullivan’s point of view on the importance and beauty of blogging:

a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one. It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.

it is clear that blogging gave voices to millions of people that haven’t had any chance to express themselves, at least not writing. But Nicholas Carr’s put in evidence the evolution blogging had in the last years and the strong differences existing today between myself, a personal and pure blogger, and blogs like Engadget, treehugger or The Huffington post, where tens of people are “producing” the postings just as a normal online newspaper:

I was a latecomer to blogging, launching Rough Type in the spring of 2005. But even then, the feel of blogging was completely different than it is today. The top blogs were still largely written by individuals. They were quirky and informal. Such blogs still exist (and long may they thrive!), but as Boutin suggests, they’ve been pushed to the periphery.

And here we come with the third article, about a young generation of innovators and “nerds” who are trying to pump life into The New York Times, transforming its website from a simple repetition of the paper version into a web 2.0 tool producing data and information, in the most different and various ways.

The point is that this is happening in the house of an old, famous and very influential American newspaper:

It was a radical reinvention of the Times voice, shattering the omniscient God-tones in which the paper had always grounded its coverage.

API, widgets, web applications and everything else to produce news in a different ways is being adopted by the NYT. Interaction is the key as well as people’s participation. Many different ways to create a platform where journalists, on one side, and surfers, on the other, give life together to the “information” and the data about which we all will think and reflect, after reading. Some examples? “The word train” and the “Casualties of War: Faces of the Dead“.

Two examples of how data, people’s emotions and information can be combined inside an ancient and autoritathive newspaper in the era of collaboration.

And how this can influence the blogosphere? The fact is that the border between journalism and blogging is getting thinner and thiner. The result is that if people posting on a blog like Talking Points Memo can be “classified” as journalists, commenters of the NY Times today can be considered “bloggers” (e.g. Paul Krugman’s blog on NYT) as their point of view is now open to comment, replies, discussions as any other blog on the Web.