Monday, 24 March 2008
In mid-March I attended a conference aimed at exploring new forms of social organisation, practices that lead to change and ideas about the use of online tools to influence and democratise society. The Web 2.0 ethos framed the two days; that is changing order of information around the centrality of the user. Caroline Basset from the University of Sussex described the Web 2.0 phenonmenon well, “the fuller realization of the web platform” implying more than use but “active participation, agency and/or active networks”. Caroline challenged participants at the outset by asking, What is agency? What do we mean by participation? Does the 2.0 model imply social responsibility? And Is it naturally ethical?
I will leave these questions open-ended and unanswered; however, presentations throughout the 2 day event acted as case studies demonstrating how the internet can be used to increase individual agency and influence and mobilize social networks. Presentation highlights included an online global awareness and citizenship community for children called Panwapa and a proposal for a “collaborative aid marketplace” which sought to transform the architecture of humanitarian aid. This concept proposed to change the power dynamic of aid so civil society and the private sector work together transparently through an online collaborative network of shareholders on a virtual stockmarket.
My humblest apologies to presenters for reducing their contributions to two sentences, but they have reaffirmed how web tools have the potential to reach a broad spectrum of individuals around a common purpose. It is heartening to know AIDSPortal is part of a broader movement where participation and change are at the core. The conference gave me hope about building community focused on social change, be it not necessarily on facebook. It left me with questions for AIDSPortal. How far do we see AIDSPortal’s reach? And how can we ensure it is a community driven by active participation of its users?
For more on this PRADsa conference go to http://www.technologyandsocialaction.org/
Thursday, 13 March 2008
Why are you asking me for feedback on AIDSPortal?
AIDSPortal is a global initiative that aims to facilitate greater knowledge sharing and networking among organisations involved in the response to HIV and AIDS. It focuses on developing or adapting simple tools that can support country led networking and knowledge sharing. AIDSPortal primarily works in partnership with networks and seeks to strengthen their ability to support the response to the AIDS epidemic.
The tools that make up the AIDSPortal knowledge management platform are focused on three key areas:
- Electronically share and organise information, including policy, best practice, programme experiences, events, and jobs
- Connect people and organisations involved in a national response to HIV and AIDS
- Consult and provide feedback on key policy or programmatic topics
How can I learn about the survey results?
Survey results will be available on this blog as well as highlighted in the AIDSPortal monthly newsletters.
What will the results be used for?
We will use the results from the survey to better understand your needs and inform our future plans. We will make an anonymous version of the findings available to anyone interested. This will not include any comments that you make or your name, should you choose to provide it.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
On February 18th AIDSPortal, in partnership with HEARD and SAfAIDS, held a day long information sharing workshop in
We have been engaging with South African organisations since February 2006 and are continually reminded of the unique HIV and AIDS as well as knowledge management environment in
What we have found is that, in this rich information management environment, the gap lies in knowing who is doing what between sectors, particularly around shared priority areas.
As we form partnerships in
- Simple ways to identify, connect and share information across sectors
- A platform to link South African expertise and experience across sectors with cross-country learning and regional collaboration
Crucial in this process is listening carefully to the expertise of ‘infomediaries’ in South Africa, and ensuring that new knowledge management initiatives in South Africa support, connect and extend existing work.
If you would like to learn more about the workshop, the report is available here: