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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

One International
Why transparency in the extractive industries matters for women

"Each year around the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8, with thousands of events occurring not just on this day, but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

As the world marks this special day ONE spoke to Winnie Ngabiirwe, Chairperson of Publish What You Pay Uganda and Executive Director of Global Rights Alert, on why transparency in the extractives industries will benefit women in Uganda and other countries.

Winnie leads the effort to make sure revenues received for Uganda’s recently discovered oil are not wasted, and are put towards social and economic development programmes."

Give Peace a Chance

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Talk of citizen agency and citizen power is all over the place these days - the media, the international community, academia and everybody else who cares about change and how it happens is looking in awe at current events. Civil protests have changed the political face of an important part of this world, and so far they have done so mostly peacefully. The persistence of protesters to not use violence is one of the most outstanding features of what we're seeing unfold in some Northern African countries. The rejection of violence may be one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of these uprisings.

USIP: Communication for Peacebuilding Grant Program

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The United States Institute for Peace has initiated a Communication for Peacebuilding (CfP)  priority grant program to support innovative practice and research designed to increase our understanding of how communication flows and technology can best be leveraged to improve the practice of peacebuilding.

The CfP program is based on two premises. First, communication is fundamental to peacebuilding. Second, in conflict-affected areas, communication technologies are restructuring  the relationship between international organizations, local peacebuilders, and communities in ways that allow more people to communicate, more rapidly than ever before. This has significant and perhaps transformational implications for how peacebuilding programs are implemented.

The call for proposals can be accessed here. The CfP program does not have a geographic focus, and projects in all countries and regions are eligible.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

NDI tech
Technology for Peace: Strengthening Democracy

"ICT in the service of “peace” often refers to a broad range of activities encompassing conflict prevention and management, peace operations, humanitarian relief and disaster assistance, and post-conflict peace building and reconstruction.

For example, the ICT4Peace Foundation is committed to effective communication in “crisis management, humanitarian aid and peace building”.  A recent USIP collaboration, Blogs & Bullets examines how new media can change the politics of unrest, revolution, violence, and civil war.  Their work emphasizes five levels of analysis: individual transformation, intergroup relations, collective action, regime policies, and external attention." 

Fascinating FreedomFone

Sabina Panth's picture

As I explore innovative approaches in civilian-led movements, I become increasingly knowledgeable about the latest technological gadgets and devices that have become powerful tools in demand for good governance and democratic reform processes.   Don’t worry, I won’t go on about the Arab Revolution and the role of social media yet again.  Instead, I will talk about a latest invention that does not even require the end users to have a web access, something that can be exploited by just anyone, even the illiterates.  FreedomFone is an ICT invention that has been specifically designed to cater to those that are in most need of information, bearing in mind the barriers they face in accessing information and the opportunities it provides to improve their conditions.

How Do You Measure History?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Over and over again, and then again, and then some more, we get asked about evidence for the role of public opinion for development. Where's the impact? How do we know that the public really plays a role? What's the evidence, and is the effect size significant? Go turn on the television. Go open your newspaper. Go to any news website. Do tell me how we're supposed to put that in numbers.

Here's a thought: maybe the role of public opinion in development is just too big to be measured in those economic units that we mostly use in development? How do you squeeze history into a regression model? Let's have a little fun with this question. Let's assume that
y = b0 + b1x1 + b2x2 + b3x3 + b4x4 + b5x5 + b6x6 + b7x7 + b8(x1x4) + b9(x3x4) + e

Technology First?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The other day we received a paper from our colleagues at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on "Deepening Participation and Improving Aid Effectiveness through Media and ICTs." I made it until point 3 of the executive summary before I felt a blog post coming on. Read for yourself: "1) Starting as a magic solution from its beginnings, ICTs are now considered as just another normal media channel useful for enhancing the effectiveness of development cooperation programs. 2) It is not the technology that counts; it is the economic and social processes behind the technology that drives the change. 3) Thus, ICTs are instrumental, not a goal in itself, and they should serve to improve the practice of development cooperation."

Show Me Your I.D., Please!

Johanna Martinsson's picture

If someone were to ask you to identify yourself, you would probably reach into your purse, or pocket, and pull out some form of identification.  Without it, one loses some of the basic benefits of living in a society. You cannot open a bank account, purchase a home, or vote, and so on.  Many countries, however, don’t have a functional identification system.  In India, for example, millions of citizens are unable to benefit from social and financial services because they don’t have proper identification.  Also, current welfare databases are plagued with fake names and duplications, entered by corrupt officials. Thus, the country has embarked on a massive identification project that will be one of the largest citizens’ databases of its kind.

What Role Does Civil Society Play in Economic Development?

Sabina Panth's picture

I recently came across a fascinating initiative where civil society organizations have played a lead role in building public-private partnerships in economic development activities.  The USAID-sponsored Education for Income Generation (EIG) program has brought together local, national and international partners in galvanizing disadvantaged youth to partake in income generating activities toward increasing economic activities and peace building process in post-conflict Nepal. 

Africa's Evolving Infosystems

Antonio Lambino's picture

Our fascination with information and communication technologies (ICTs) crosses many borders.  The public, private, and nonprofit sectors are all atwitter about it.  The same goes for young and old, rich and poor, and the many groups in between.  For the more affluent, it’s partly about aesthetic coolness and conspicuous consumption.  For geeks, it’s partly about what the newest gadgets can do that previous versions could not.  From a development perspective, it’s partly about more effective and efficient delivery of public and private goods and services.  And for all, it probably has something to do with enhanced opportunities for connections among people who might not have known of each other’s existence otherwise.  So, indeed, our fascination with ICTs crosses many borders.

It was this insight that I took away from a lunchtime seminar jointly organized by CommGAP, infoDev, and the Africa Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC)-in-Projects Team at the World Bank.  At the event, Prof. Steven Livingston presented findings from his new study published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies entitled Africa’s Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Stability and Development.  Summarizing field research from at least six countries in the region, Livingston reasons that