web 2.0 for development


Today, the ComDev Expert Consultation starts

Today, over 30 experts from all over the World will convene at FAO Headquarters in Rome to discuss about the state of the art of Communication for Development.

The situation is uncertain. Users and professionals of development lost confidence with the concept of ComDev and are not any more able to fully distinguish it form traditional communication.

For the few who does not have a clear idea about the topic, have a look at Mario Acunzo’s interview. I also remind the definition of ComDev has formulated during the World Congress on Communication for Development in 2006 at FAO:

Communication for Development (ComDev) is a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. ComDev is about seeking change at different levels including listening, establishing trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating and learning for sustained and meaningful change. It is not public relations or corporate communication. (WCCD, The Rome Consensus). The ComDev process goes beyond information dissemination to facilitate active participation and stakeholder dialogue. It highlights the importance of raising awareness, the cultural dimensions of development, local knowledge, experiential learning, information sharing and the active participation of rural people and other stakeholders in decision making

Experts will gather to understand what happened in the most recent years and formulate guidelines on how to proceed further, find a better positioning and design a new offer.

You can follow the event through the outputs of the Social Reporting Team on twitter, picasa, youtube, blog and on this blog.

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The Cynefin framework

Thanks to IFAD and @rsamii we had a very interesting morning yesterday meeting Dave Snowden for a lecture on his Cynefin framework.

Dave talked for more than one hour and I was overwhelmed by an incredible flow of inputs, suggestions, questions and doubts. These kind of moments are fundamental for professionals like me who have to afford the complexity Dave is describing in his approach.

To be able to “probe, sense and respond” we must be always open and willing to look for and receive new inputs from outside.

Complex systems

@snowded said: “We must create new architecture where applications work”. To do that our brain must be always stimulated and fight the risk of being stuck on our desks, behind our monitors, locked in our rooms.

Dave Snowden at IFAD

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FAO celebrates Staff Day

Few weeks ago we have celebrated Staff Day at FAO. It follows the Vision Day, we had last November 2009.

This event provoked a great mix of reactions, inside and outside the building. Personally, I’m totally in favour of such an event, in particular if aimed at highlighting the greatest resource that an organization as FAO has: its staff. Sometimes this seems to be underestimated or forgotten just as if the organization could work as an automated company or a bureaucratic place.

People, and not activities or projects, are key and they always have to keep it in mind. This is particularly true, when the organization is a “knowledge organization” as FAO is.

FAO Staff Day photogallery

Some notes:

  • First clarification: when I talk about staff, I include everyone serving the agency and not just one or more categories of workers.
  • Second: I consider human beings, their abilities, their behaviour, their minds, the greatest resource for the agency and, as consequence, any prodding and stimulation that can revive our objectives are always welcome.

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Earthquake in Haiti and ICTs

Haiti earthquake and the following tragedy is the topic everybody has been talking about during the last week. ICTs and new medias have been deeply used in the first aid activities for: mapping the situation, looking for displaced person and planning emergency activities were the main objectives.

Have a look at the long and interesting list of comments and contributions about #haiti on twitter to have an idea of how people are contributing from everywhere to manage information and knowledge that can be helpful in this moment. Just recently the UN Foundation published its report suggesting international organizations, and those involved in emergency activities in particular, to make a wider use of new technologies…

While reflecting on this point, have a look at the tool below:

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Cars and feelings in Liberia

Here is what I saw while spending few days in Monrovia, Liberia:

Obviously, I did not shot them all: UNESCO, WFP, UN, etc are also there, around the country.

At the end of my trip, many questions kept on running in my mind: are we, UN, too many? Are our efforts bringing as much results as hoped? Are there other powers opposing to us? Could Liberian people enjoy a better life after what they suffered?

I’d really like our efforts could produce better results for the people we work for.

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Can we live with less plastic bottles?

Can we invent a new future without all of this?

plastic bottles

What you see in this image is the average day production of a medium size business building, in one of our cities. Estimates say around 2.500/3.000 bottles sold every day to satisfy people drinking needs. And this is only a drop in the ocean of plastic produced and wasted every single day of our actual life.

Just to give a glance of the impact, the average lifespan of a plastic bottle is from 300 to 500 years. Download this fantastic poster to learn more about The most dangerous species of our coasts and lagoons.

Today is the World Environment Day 2009, so what better day to think a bit about this issue and look for some solutions?