These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Google Blimps for Disaster Response
"A blimp is a floating airship that does not have any internal supporting framework or keel. The airship is typically filled with helium and is navigated using steerable fans. Google is apparently planning to launch a fleet of Blimps to extend Internet/wifi access across Africa and Asia. Some believe that "these high-flying networks would spend their days floating over areas outside of major cities where Internet access is either scarce or simply nonexistent." Small-scale prototypes are reportedly being piloted in South Africa "where a base station is broadcasting signals to wireless access boxes in high schools over several kilometres." The US military has been using similar technology for years." READ MORE
Make development practitioners partners in research
"Overcoming barriers to how research is used in practice is important — but it's just half the battle, says NGO research expert Rachel Hayman.
In the past few years, a very healthy debate has emerged over the interaction between practitioners and researchers in international development — fuelled to a great extent by the pressure to demonstrate impact." READ MORE
Thomas Reuters Foundation
Campaigners welcome new extractive transparency standard
"SYDNEY (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Campaigners say a new standard passed by the board of a global initiative to increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector will bring more transparency to the extractive industry and to resource-rich countries.
Since 2002, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has helped activists, investors and the media to hold companies and governments to account by promoting the publishing of resource revenues." READ MORE
Web-connected libraries for Africa: the dream of digital knowledge for all
"A decade ago, Brewster Kahle, philanthropist and founder of the Internet Archive, created the first digital bookmobile: a complete printing press in the back of a car. With a power source, satellite internet connection, printer and binder, the vehicle and its descendants subsequently printed thousands of public-domain books where they were needed most, such as in rural areas without internet connection, including schools and refugee camps across Africa." READ MORE
Retiring ombudsman wants more transparent EU
"Retiring EU ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros says he has witnessed the slow erosion of a dominating culture of secrecy among the EU civil services.
"[But] this in no way suggests that I am content and satisfied," the 70-year old Greek national told reporters in Brussels on Monday (27 May).
The EU Ombudsman, staffed with 66 people, is tasked to seek a fair outcome in complaints against EU institutions, to encourage transparency and to promote an administrative culture of service." READ MORE
Standford Social Innovation Review
Advocacy from the Inside: The Role of Civil Society
"The Open Government Partnership’s (OGP’s) commitment to a partnership between government and civil society at international and national levels—and its accent on domestic as opposed to international accountability—distinguishes it from many international initiatives promoting open government.
As a September 2012 survey of civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in OGP shows, there is widespread recognition that OGP represents a great opportunity for leveraging transparency and accountability in countries around the world. All the organizations are energized by the early victories that have been achieved, such as the new Access to Information Law in Brazil and greater transparency of military and police budgets in the Philippines. Most also acknowledge that OGP has helped to bring together civil society advocates working across multiple sectors, helping to break through the silos that often undermine civil society effectiveness. But many CSOs are still cautious about OGP, particularly about how partnerships with governments will play out at the country level." READ MORE