Networking Development in the Network Society : Integrating ICT in Development Agencies


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ICT Mainstreaming is needed in development agencies in order to properly integrate ICT into development work. Too few of them have done so, and it is not easy process. A model is proposed to help strategize and plan for an ordered approach to ICT mainstreaming, which is coherent with networked models of development cooperation.

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  • Esencial para la cohesión e inclusión social ¿Cientos de millones de voluntarios? Clave para el desarrollo humano las Metas de Desarrollo del Milenio de NNUU Imprescindible para la Sociedad Civil ¿se imaginan el impacto de una ley que prohibiera el voluntariado…? No solo altruismo: voluntarios también se benefician … y el nuevo contexto de la Sociedad de la Información no es ninguna excepción
  • Amartya Sen identifies expansion of freedom as the cornerstone of "the primary end and the principal means of development". He goes on to say that "Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency". Amartya Sen
  • Space of flows Real virtuality Timeless time Networks of capital, labor, information and markets linked up, through technology, valuable functions, people and localities around the world, while switching off from their networks those populations and territories deprived of value and interest for the dynamics of global capitalism. There followed the social exclusion and economic irrelevance of segments of societies, of areas of cities, of regiones, and of entire countries, constituting what I call the “Fourth World”. Manuel Castells, The Information Age Also from Sen: the exercise of freedom is mediated by values, but the values in turn are influenced by public discussions and social interactions, which is to say that they depend on communication. The freedom to participate is conditioned by the freedom to communicate, which at the core of knowledge networks.
  • ¿Que es la brecha digital? “ la diferencia en las oportunidades que presenta la revolución digital, derivada principalmente de falta de acceso , capacidad y contenido ” Incluir diagrama del modelo Consecuencia de otras brechas Factor de exclusión socio-econónica nuevo analfabetismo funcional Pobreza “informacional” en la Sociedad Red: el Cuarto Mundo Fortalecimiento de capacidad humana e institucional: el nicho del voluntariado para ayudar a reducir la brecha digital
  • Again returning to Stiglitz, he uses the term "deep knowledge" to denote the knowledge generated only through repeated and extended interactions (total immersion). Here the difference between "training [1] " and "capacity building" is clear; capacity building aims at the generation of deep knowledge, while training cannot have such objective. New models for Technical Cooperation The concepts and expressions of human development, the role of knowledge and the emerging context of the Network Age have profound implications for technical cooperation. In this publication, UNDP claims that changing realities are setting new challenges but also providing new tools for capacity building in development, reshaping the agenda for the future of technical cooperation . It also indicates that conventional tools of technical cooperation are "even more obsolete than before" (Fukuda-Parr, Hill). One definition of technical cooperation in the UNDP publication, provided by OECD-DAC, is as follows: "Technical cooperation encompasses the whole range of assistance activities designed to improve the level of skills, knowledge, technical know-how and productive aptitudes of the population in a developing country." As the industrial revolution substantially expanded manual power with the steam engine and electricity, today´s information revolution is augmenting brain power via the new ICTs. Fortunately for developing countries, brain capacity is evenly distributed in the world. Thus, we need to maximize the use of ICT to foster that brain "empowerment" process, for example by fostering knowledge flows in all directions (S-S, N-N, S-N) With the Network Age, new modalities for knowledge-sharing, access to information and capacity building are emerging, which are helping to set new priorities for development cooperation that overcome many of the failures of conventional technical coop. Networks among development practitioners and access to global knowledge systems can substitute for conventional technical cooperation . This is the basis for the emerging new practices of development cooperation for capacity building . The appeal of networks within a new model of technical cooperation is that they bypass one of the root causes of the failures of the last decades of tech coop, namely the donor-driven nature of tech coop, and the faulty notion of the expert-counterpart model from N to S. Networks of development practitioners across the globe are emerging , sharing relevant knowledge, information and experience from good/bad practices. They connect these people in different sectors and project areas, fostering collaboration between individuals and institutions. It´s difficult to predict the future, but it´s worthwhile to peek into it. The Massachussets Institute of Technology has declared its intention of placing all its course material online, freely available for the world at large. Satellite communications will bring Internet connectivity to every corner of the world with reasonable access speeds (and hopefully affordable prices). The concept of knowledge as a Global Public Good is becoming operational, bringing along hitherto unknown possibilities. What will be the role and modalities of technical cooperation in such a context? [1] Training is more closely related to traditional technical cooperation approaches. The shifting of focus of TC towards short-term assignments of experts, often in training missions, has contributed to the acquisition of "shallow" and low-value knowledge, as opposed to the "deep knowledge" explained by Stiglitz.
  • Also from Sen: the exercise of freedom is mediated by values, but the values in turn are influenced by public discussions and social interactions, which is to say that they depend on communication. The freedom to participate is conditioned by the freedom to communicate, which at the core of knowledge networks. Better results in all aspects of an agency´s work (A development agency should take a close look at the information models of online universities) working as a network (trabajando en red) working in (through) networks (trabajando en la Red) In all cases, the principal challenge will be capacity
  • Integrated administrative, financial and project management applications (eg. ERP) From the content side: Re-assessed information architecture Knowledge management procedures and tools Content management systems (CMS) online submission templates for reports, stories, etc. formatted for web publication and for PDF data banks for project information, evaluations, etc. creation of a catalog of case studies on specific uses of ICT in development areas New roles for the “librarian” or “reference” unit From the process side: online collaboration tools (including e-discussion boards) Self customizable and manageable intranets for agency units and departments Enhanced use of video conferences Web-based systems, for easy global access by any agency staff and project staff/counterparts Minimum connectivity standards for country offices Participation in external thematic e-discussions Generic capacity needs: Awareness raising seminars for middle and senior management about the possibilities of ICT for the agency (internal and external) Trainings for agency staff on new systems Workshops on the role of ICT in development (particularly applied to their thematic areas) Online training on applications of ICT to development areas Training (onsite, online) on specific new ICT tools that some staff may want to use (web editiors, databases, digital video and graphics, etc.)
  • UNDP claims that changing realities are setting new challenges, but also providing new tools for capacity building in development, reshaping the agenda for the future of technical cooperation ( Fukuda-Parr, Hill)
  • Set up a website per project, with the agency facilitating if needed: web site architecture web page templates web hosting services Placing responsibility on a least one project staff member (for example an ICT Volunteer) to ensure that each project makes full use of appropriate ICT tools, for example by: training other colleagues on ICT tools and ways of applying them; selecting proper ICT applications identifying and making easily accessible content that can be useful to the project and its target beneficiaries. Online monitoring and reporting tools for project managers and target communities Involvement of online volunteers and other volunteer networks in support of project activities Participation of each project in relevant electronic networks Production of electronic marketing materials, accessible through their web sites, for each project (resulting in significant savings and wider distribution). Basic technological literacy (knowing how to use a computer and elementary with theapplications, like e-mail, web browsers or word-processing)
  • Massive needs around the world Many people willing to contribute Accompanying a specific development process ... learning information needs of a community Driven by solidarity (and their own benefit) ... and the volunteers also benefit Civil Society as protagonist Youth as a development asset ... architects and empowered citizens of the Network Society ... technology for a good cause Internet culture: collaboration, (OS) ... ICT makes it easier to recruit, manage and support volunteers Diaspora involvement Because of all of this... Volunteering is essential to respond to the needs in capacity building in the Network Society Creación de una Red Universitaria de e-Voluntariado con UNITeS Creación de una iniciativa tipo “Hackers sin Fronteras” para la difusión de software de código abierto para el desarrollo humano Participación generalizada en telecentros comunitarios como promotores comunitarios Involucración activa de la diáspora a traves de redes Promoción del voluntariado online para “enganchar” a más personas en la cooperación al desarrollo Creación de programas de voluntariado de empresa orientados a la cooperación al desarrollo
  • One definition of knowledge is that "Information becomes knowledge as it is interpreted and made concrete in the light of the individual´s understandings of the particular context." Knowledge increasingly perceived as the principal driver of economic growth and develoment, whether in the North or South. This has been repeatedly expressed in key UN documents, fora like ECOSOC, and by institutions like the World Bank and UNDP. A practical developmental consideration concerning knowledge is succintly expressed by Stiglitz: "Scan globally, reinvent locally". Denning offers an interest metaphor/approach to knowledge creation on the basis of connecting people. In his view, it is impossible to extract knowledge from anything. Instead, knowledge is gardened . The gardener seeds, feeds and weeds the garden. Knowledge grows. It emerges out of a fertile field, tended by people interacting with people, groups, networks and communities. In this context, a knowledge organization is thus seen as a type of ecosystem, largely self-organizing, but which can be degraded as well. And in development, the real experts are those that live the reality on a day-to-day basis. It follows then that a knowledge-based development organization must carefully care for its "expert gardeners" to allow them to tend its garden. And that garden today lives in a network . Knowledge and information are being codified, stored and made accesible at levels unimaginable in earlier decades. Advances in ICT are driving down the costs of info storage and communications to zero. Today's initial broadband home connectivity allows for downloading of a book in a matter of seconds. And the upcoming Internet2 will finally converge the PC and TV into one information appliance, connected at fabulous speeds. In this context, it matters less what a person knows than what information and knowledge s/he has access to and can utilize. The more knowledge is fabricated on the spot (and comes with decreasing shelf-lives), the more value that connections will have over collections . Organizations that focus on collecting knowledge at the expense of enabling people connections end up with repositories of dead documents. It is critical for a knowledge-based organizations to strike the right balance between connecting and collecting.
  • UNV diseñó/gestiona el servicio de Voluntariado en Red en Lanzado 29 Febrero 2000; desde entonces unos 12.000 solicitantes, 270 “anfitriones”, 4.500 voluntarios Mayor listado de oportunidades para VOs en cooperación al desarrollo Sofisticadas herramientas para gestionar los VOs para los anfitriones ¿Que hacen los voluntarios online? Investigación en red Técnicos TIC (webs, bases de datos, diseño gráfico) Traducciones Preparación de propuestas de proyectos Creación de material educativo Moderador de listas de discusión Asistencia técnica (agricultura, salud, arquitectura, medicina...), etc., etc.
  • Networking Development in the Network Society : Integrating ICT in Development Agencies

    1. 1. Networking Development in the Network Society Integrating ICT in Development Agencies OECD/UN/WB Global Forum on Knowledge Economy Paris, 5 March 2003
    2. 2. Contents of the presentation <ul><li>Mainstreaming ICTs into human development </li></ul><ul><li>The Network Society </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity to mainstream ICT into development agencies </li></ul><ul><li> internally (operations) </li></ul><ul><li> externally (portfolios) </li></ul><ul><li>Networking development </li></ul>
    3. 3. United Nations Volunteers Programme <ul><li>UNV is the agency within the UN that promotes volunteering and mobilizes volunteers for human development </li></ul><ul><li>In 2002, 5200 UNVs of 150 nationalities served in 145 countries </li></ul><ul><li>ICT Volunteering is a strategic area for UNV, with two main initiatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UNITeS (capacity building on ICT4D) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Volunteering (Internet as a new space for volunteering) </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. ICT as tools for development <ul><li>Human development is about expanding choices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choices depend on opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities: F (capacity, empowerment) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information and knowledge are key for the generation of opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>ICT are powerful information tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… and can be applied to obtain opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ICT4D: mainstreaming of ICT into human development processes </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Network Society <ul><li>The Network Society is the new social structure of the Information Age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>made up of networks of production, power and experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new space of flows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communities bound by interest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social exclusion from the Network Society means total exclusion </li></ul><ul><li>The “C” in ICT, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inserts an information society into the Network Society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>puts information at the service of human development </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. A simplified model for e-enabled societies Infrastructure Capacity Capacity is at the basis of the structure and supports every element of it Access Content e - commerce e - health e - learning e - etc... e - government Policy, Regulation
    7. 7. Capacity building and the digital divide <ul><li>Capacity building goes beyond training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>deep knowledge (Stiglitz) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>human and institutional capacity building </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1. Capacity building on ICT for Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>awareness raising of ICT possibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>applications of ICT4D </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>networking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. ICT for human resource development (including education) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>basic e-literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e-learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>online training </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Mainstreaming ICT into Development Agencies <ul><li>Powerful catalyzer for wider absorption of ICT in developmental processes </li></ul><ul><li>“ Predicate with the example” </li></ul><ul><li>Within each agency’s reach </li></ul><ul><li>Better results in all aspects of an agency´s work </li></ul><ul><li>What does it take? Two complementary approaches: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal : integration of ICT into administrative and operational processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External : widespread application of ICT in field projects and initiatives supported by an agency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The principal challenge? To achieve the proper levels of capacity </li></ul>
    9. 9. 1. Internal ICT integration <ul><li>Key goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) simplified transactions, reduced mechanical tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(2) 24/7 access from anywhere by any staff member to all the information contained in corporate systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(3) properly managed organizational knowledge assets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complex, but underway in many agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Implies re-engineering of work processes </li></ul><ul><li>Biggest challenge: effecting necessary cultural change in the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts field activities, particularly relations between HQ and field personnel </li></ul>
    10. 10. 1. Internal ICT integration: elements <ul><li>From the content side: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-assessed information architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge management procedures and modules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>· CMS </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New roles for the “librarian” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From the process side: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online collaboration tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-managing unit intranets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web-based systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhanced use of video/web conferencing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation in external e-discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General capacity needs : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Awareness raising seminars for mid/sr. mgmt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training for staff on new systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individualized training on information acquisition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From the admin. side: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrated financial, personnel, resource and project management applications (eg. ERP) </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. 2. External (portfolio) ICT integration <ul><li>Key goals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) ICT tools are consistently applied in projects to better reach their objectives and outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(2) projects are able to involve more people through networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(3) local stakeholders improve their possibilities to apply ICT to their human development processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(4) information and (explicit) knowledge are routinely captured and shared with interested people (inside and outside the organization) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rarely undertaken in any agency (at an organizational level) </li></ul><ul><li>May require (/propel?) a re-structuring of development cooperation models </li></ul><ul><li>Need a person in most every project with the responsibility of applying/building capacity of ICT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>... and it shouldn´t be the project manager! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>special ICT-oriented civil society orgs or volunteering intiatives (like UNITeS) can provide the necessary support </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. 2. External (portfolio) ICT integration: elements <ul><li>From the content side: </li></ul><ul><li>Every project with its website, agency can facilitate : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>· web site architecture & page templates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>· web hosting services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Access to existing relevant content </li></ul><ul><li>Production of project-related content </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic marketing and outreach </li></ul><ul><li>From the process/applications side: </li></ul><ul><li>ICT-enabling the project at formulation </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of stakeholders information needs </li></ul><ul><li>Networking the project </li></ul><ul><li>Application of proper ICT tools (for health, education, agriculture, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Online monitoring/reporting for project managers and target communities </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement of online volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>General capacity needs : </li></ul><ul><li>Both for for project staff / local stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>· basic technological literacy </li></ul><ul><li>· application of ICT tools to development needs </li></ul><ul><li>Digital content production </li></ul><ul><li>Online collaboration tools and methods </li></ul>
    13. 13. Volunteers and capacity building in ICT4D <ul><li>Massive needs around the world </li></ul><ul><li>Many people willing to contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms already exist: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UNITeS, NetCorps, VITA... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Volunteer added-value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they “a ccompany“ a specific development process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ powered by s olidarity ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>youth as a under-utilized development asset </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet culture: sharing, collaborating </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Volunteering may be essential to respond to the needs in capacity building in the Network Society </li></ul>
    14. 14. Networking Development Cooperation <ul><li>Network Society requires new development cooperation structures and processes </li></ul><ul><li>Global citizen involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Connected development nodes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>individuals, projects, organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge gardening (Denning) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>connection rather than collection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New project architecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>establishing/managing networks to maximize generation and application of knowledge for development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Change of organizational cultures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted staff profiles </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Types of development networks <ul><li>Institutional networks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>among development agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>among staff of an agency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thematic networks </li></ul><ul><li>Project networks </li></ul><ul><li>Human metadata networks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>knowledge objects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eg.: experience in applying microcredit schemes for artisans </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Variable network geometries in development cooperation <ul><li>Project-centric </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed </li></ul><ul><li>Combined </li></ul>project community (virtual, physical) company NGO another project dev agency university online Volunteers other universities other NGOs other volunteers
    17. 17. United Nations Information Technology Service: UNITeS <ul><li>Special UN volunteer initiative aimed at reducing digital divides </li></ul><ul><li>One of the “Digital Bridge” programmes of Kofi Annan (Millennium Report) </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers building human and institutional capacity on uses/opportunities of ICT for human development </li></ul><ul><li>Global programme (65% of vols from South, intl. and natl. volunteers) </li></ul><ul><li>Involves volunteers from other organizations (not only UNV), also online </li></ul><ul><li>UNITeS Community Network, Knowledge Base </li></ul>
    18. 18. UNITeS map <ul><ul><li>Dark blue : countries with UNVs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Red : countries with university volunteers and others </li></ul></ul>Approximately 150 onsite volunteers managed by UNITeS in 55 countries since August 2000 (and over 50 online volunteers in 2002)
    19. 19. Online Volunteering <ul><li>Innovative modality of volunteering for development cooperation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Translations, content editing, proposal writing, web-site programming, online research, graphics design, technical assistance mentoring, e-moderating... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Net is the medium </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility, adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting possibilities of online/on-site collaboration among volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitates continued engagement by former “on-site” vols </li></ul><ul><li>Online Volunteer service through NetAid ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Largest listing of OV opportunities for development cooperation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 3 yrs., 12,000 OV applicants, 4,500 OV assignments, 270 host institutions </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Conclusions <ul><li>Proper use of ICT contributes to human development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it expands opportunities and choices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development agencies need to show the way by mainstreaming ICT, for credibility and for better results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>into its operations (internally) as well as into its portfolios (externally) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Capacity building is the single most important requirement for mainstreaming ICT into the agencies; cultural change the biggest challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Special ICT volunteer programmes can provide invaluable services to help permeate ICT into agency portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>Network logic offers a different way to structure development cooperation in the future </li></ul><ul><li>“ Working as a network, working in the Network ” </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>¡ Many Thanks! </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>