Sunday 27 February 2011

What online activism can learn from community organising

Rootwork is a group (a firm?) specialised in internet technology for non-profit organisations. An April 2010 article on their web-page has been sitting on top of my bookmarks for months, waiting to be shared here. It is called What online activism can learn from community organising (click on the title to get to the full article). The author, Ivan Boothe, reminds people working on social change of five key aspects in effective community organising (and any broader form of campaigning, I believe): movement-building, strategy, community accountability, going where the people are, and cultivating leadership. Technology, he points out, is not a strategy in itself a web-site or an e-mail petition, for example, only make sense if they are part of a broader strategy, carried forward by committed people who talk and listen to the people they seek to convince.
By the way, the Tactical Technology Collective provides excellent information on how to use the internet for campaigns, in clear step-by-step guides one can download for free.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Money for Humanitarian Innovation- use it to support girls!

The Humanitarian Innovation Fund has been launched, with its own site and acronym HIF. It describes itself as "a landmark grant-making fund to support organisations working in countries struck by humanitarian crises, such as Haiti or Pakistan, to develop, test and share new technologies and processes that will make humanitarian aid more effective and cost-efficient in the future." The first call for proposals is out. Organisations with ideas, apply! I trust there is plenty of room for humanitarian innovation, especially when it comes to ensuring women and girls can fully participate in humanitarian work, their voices are listened to and their needs are catered for.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Effectiveness in art and in peace building

I have been meaning to jot down notes on this for months but things have been so busy...
Late last year the German Institute for Foreign Relations (known here as IfA) organised a day-long research dialogue with twelve women and men - half of them professionally involved in peace building, the other half in art. I had the privilege to participate as a representative of the peace building crowd. The idea, devised by researcher Vera Kahlenberg, was to explore together what "effectiveness" ("Wirksamkeit" in German) meant within our respective disciplines and practice.
Vera Kahlenberg divided us into "mixed" pairs, gave us a handful of broad questions and audio recorders, and sent us off, two by two, into quiet rooms with the assignment to dialogue for two hours. I was matched up with Silvina Der-Meguerditchian, an Argentinian-Armenian artist living in Berlin. I am at a loss trying to describe her rich and intricate work - take a look at her web site!