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Why You Should Become a Development Blogger. And Some Thoughts on How to Enjoy It.

Duncan Green's picture

I think it’s time for some new development bloggers. Lots of new voices to oxygenate a sphere that is starting to feel a little stale. Let’s see if I can persuade you to sign up (NGO types tend not to jump at the chance). First the benefits:

A blog is like a cumulative, realtime download of your brain – everything that you’ve read, said, or talked about for years. All in one place. There’s even a search engine – a blessing if your memory’s as bad as mine. When someone asks you for something, you can dig up the link in no time. If you’re writing longer papers you can start with a cut and paste of the relevant posts and take it from there.

It gives you a bit of soft power (let’s not exaggerate this, but check out slide 15 of this research presentation for some evidence). Blogs are now an established part of the chattersphere/public conversation, so you get a chance to put your favourite ideas out there, and spin those of others. People in your organization may well read your blogs and tweets even if they don’t read your emails.

Quote of the Week: Ian Bremmer

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“Around the world, the race is on between a communications revolution that empowers the individual and a data revolution designed to protect the state. This contest will play out in different countries in different ways…We can’t yet know how this race will end, but it is a mistake to assume the state can’t hold its own for years to come.”

- Ian Bremmer. Author and President of Eurasia Group, a global political risk research and consulting firm.

The Buzz of Cities

Dan Hoornweg's picture

BeeFor bees, bigger hives are better. 

Last week researchers at the University of Arizona published their findings: bees of bigger hives have more information and forage better. With improved communications, bees from the bigger hives sent new foragers to known resources up to four hours earlier than bees from smaller hives.1

This better communications also seems to work in bigger cities. Geoffrey West and the Santé Fe Institute provide impressive modeling on the scaling of cities. Double the size of a city and you get 1.15 times the growth of economy, patents and innovation. And as long as you can keep congestion and pollution in check, you can get this economic growth at only 0.85 times the cost of additional infrastructure. In other words, larger cities have a disproportionate impact on a country’s communications, and therefore a bigger impact on economy and culture.

Trade: The World Is Not Flat Yet

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Thomas Friedman’s bestseller The World Is Flat highlights the strong forces pushing the world towards a single economic platform. The technology-fueled globalization in the provision of services, and the widespread organization of production processes as global value chains are part of his narrative.

Beyond communication: How functional is your mobile phone?

Justine Espina-Letargo's picture
Noel Aspras in the Philippines says that "even the lowliest of farmers owns a cellphone now" because it has become a necessity. Watch the video below.

When I lost my mobile phone two years ago, I felt dismembered. After all, my cellphone was constantly by my side, serving as alarm clock, calendar, and default camera for those ‘Kodak’ moments you couldn’t let pass. It was also a nifty calculator that I turned to when splitting restaurant bills with friends.

After grieving the loss of my “finger” for two days, I pulled myself together and got a new, smarter phone that allowed for faster surfing on the web, audio recording and a host of other functions that, well, made me quickly forget the lost unit. A blessing in disguise, I told myself.

So when no less than a farmer from Pagsanjan in the Philippines’ Laguna province told me that mobile phones were “no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” and added that “even the lowliest of farmers riding on a carabao (water buffalo) owns one,” I couldn’t agree more.

Quote of the Week: Raymond Williams

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

"The basic principle of democracy is that since all are full members of society, all have the right to speak as they wish or find. This is not only an individual right, but a social need, since democracy depends on the active participation and the free contribution of all its members. The right to receive is complementary to this: it is the means of participation and of common discussion. The institutions necessary to guarantee these freedoms must clearly be of a public-service kind."

 

Raymond Williams, Communications (1962)

Five years after the tsunami: recollections from my work on ground zero in Aceh, Indonesia

Geumala Yatim's picture
Explaining the housing program admistered by the Multi-Donor Fund to a group of residents.

(Geumala Yatim, who started working with communities in Aceh soon after the 2004 tsunami hit, is writing a book about her experiences there. This is adapted from one of its chapters).

At the time, I was at my friend Oscar’s house, getting ready to attend a Christmas party at another friend’s house. Oscar asked me to turn the TV on to CNN or BBC. “I heard there’s a big natural disaster somewhere on the tip of Sumatra. Aceh probably. Not sure,” he said. Up until we left the house, both channels were relaying non-stop reports on natural disasters in Thailand and Sri Lanka. No reports on what was happening on the tip of Sumatra thus far.

Driving adaptation with effective communication tools in Africa

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Part 2 of 2 -

As efforts to develop and diffuse adaptation mechanisms in Africa and elsewhere grow in momentum, one major constraint has been the failure to develop an effective communication strategy to drive the process. Effective communication as a sub-set of development needs to be developed in order to get the message down to the bottom of the pyramid where those most affected agglutinate. The concept of information in general, and of climate change adaptation information in particular, as a resource for effective adaptation and development, needs to be domesticated well beyond the current cozy confines of conference rooms and research hubs. (Photo by Curt Carnemark, World Bank)

In Guinea, rising sea levels linked to global warming is feared to likely result in stronger coastal currents, higher tides and sea encroachment of land. Guinea’s coastal region, home to West Africa’s largest and richest mangroves, would therefore bear the brunt of global climate change. The region’s entire economy is now under threat. It is feared that the main victims of all these climate variations would be people living near the coast. An estimate of 2 million people are likely to suffer income losses.

Driving adaptation with effective communication tools in Africa

Joachim Ezeji's picture

Part 1 of 2

Does it bother you that most discussions of how to address climate change in Africa have focused much more on adaptation(e.g. coping with the storms, floods, drought, sea- floor rise and other impacts that climate change will bring) than mitigation (e.g. reducing green house emission etc)?

Not to worry, both adaptation and mitigation are very crucial in addressing the challenges of climate change. However, the onus of addressing mitigation is common with countries like China, USA, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK, South Korea, Iran, Italy, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, France, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Ukraine and Poland etc whose expanding economy has a huge feed demand for fuel. For these countries, mitigation is a central concern they constitute the top 20 CO2 emitters per capita (measured at metric tonnes per person). Apart from South Africa, no other African country made this list.


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