You may have been directed to this blog because I want to give you background to an ongoing story. Well the truth is that I may not have written it yet. I'm trying to exchange a vicious circle for a virtuous one. In the vicious circle - here and now - I need to refer people (like you perhaps) to previous events or ideas that I haven't actually blogged about. In the virtuous circle every unfolding story is readily to hand (including the one specially for you). Hmm - How to make the flip over?
The ideal solution
My friend Omo suggests a"person multiplier" - He wrote "This is a gizmo which allows you to determine how many copies of yourself are required for the tasks on your schedule and creates them - are you running one?"
Back in the real world
Lacking a "person multiplier". I will need to find some other way to give the background and unfolding stories. I have to start somewhere, so here's my work around. I'll write a list of things that I wish were already blogged but aren't. Once they are on this list I shall just write future blogs as if everything had been explained already. Over time (just like in a soap opera) the start of the story won't matter. And if anyone does need more details there are always comment boxes or even personal emails to fall back on.
My list of unwritten blogs and open letters currently buzzing in mind:
Bmycharity commission free service continues in partnership with Help for Heroes - We use Bmycharity, very friendly and helpful, so glad it is continuing.
Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), Peoples.Uni, our academic friends - Growing demand for John's lrecently started local work. Issue of health staff training - tackling that in collaboration wiht People's Uni (need some colunteers to help with collection, and online organisation and presentation of course materials). Need to support sufferers - how can we get volunteers to help with fundraising? Intersted in how many of our academic friends have some interest in SCD. How can we best bring all this together?
ICDT2010 - we're hoping to be there and are trying to decide the best kind of workshop or whatever to suggest for it. We'd like to do a live link-up with Nigeria - a kind of cross between a normal weekly meeting and the more open format of Dadamac Day. We'd also like to make the most of mixing with academics (we guess it will be mostly academics) and want to think how we best present ourselves to make future collaborations likely.
Volunteering - This is a general issue and a specific one. We need people to help us do all kinds of stuff - and we need to find them and help them to achieve their full potential with us. If we were a one-location organisation (instead of widely scattered and largely online) it would be straight forward. We'd invite a new volunteer to spend time in the office, getting the hang of what goes on, letting us know what seemed interesting, and doing some basic stuff to demonstrate reliability.
The more time that the volunteer saved us the more time we could spend helping the voluteer to develop new skills and building a role that was really personal and satisfying. This is not so easy from a distance. I am currently working on it with Dary - who I met at March FIrst Thursday and am now getting to know better through Skype - and Elaine (who I met a couple of years back F2F so we have an easier jumping off point). I am wondering if Dary and I should simply take our discussion onto a blog. Then at least I will have something to start with - our learning curve will be available for the next time a volunteer is interested in joining us.
Fundraising for social programmes that we support. Should we be looking for people willing to do fundraising events. Should we be looking for someone who will write funding bids for our sister organisation Fantsuam Foundation on a no-win no fee basis - do people do that?
Steve Thompson's school broadcasts
Steve Thompson's school broadcasts - spreading the word and strengthening the connections between his communities and ours (started with people and place a few years back).
NC3 - No-Computer Computer Course
NC3 - No-computer computer course - part of Teachers Talking(TT). Updates. TT teachers in Ago-Are still with no local cyber cafes, now able to email me via smart phones. Fola has been in touch for several years, Popoola has just newly connected with me. Chris from Uganda just asked me for NC3 update on Facebook (we met in 2006 in Zambia - iicd Community of ICT4D Trainers)
Pattern Language - so much of what we do can be seen as examples relevant to other situations. I want to explore and share this more
Lessons we've learned
Lessons we've learned - six years of working together - UK-Nigeria using the Internet - we can see how much more effectively we work now thatn we did at first. Although improvements in technology are important the real progress is in how we have learned to work together at a distance (making the most of what limited connectivity is available to us.) We'd love to share what we know with others - but how?
Making the most of First Thursdays - Vijay and I have started to discuss this.
Twitter and us
Twitter and us - another ongoing story - we're using Skype to teach how to do Twitter (its kind a "friend looking over your shoulder" support at a distance - one of our preferred distance learning approaches)
Our Moodle experiments
Our Moodle experiments - so much to share about that!
EU Inside - programme funded by the European Union (EU) under a partnership agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria - focusing on capacitating Non State Actors. Some encouraging blurb that seems to suggest more interest in grass-roots connections. Will top-down and bottom-up initiaties start to meet in the middle more?
DFID MDG Conference: Agenda 2010
DFID MDG Conference: Agenda 2010 - The Turning Point on Poverty, London, 11th March 2010. Some encouraging quotes from that too.
This conference firmly holds that "business as usual" will not do to meet the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals...(snip)...principles, accountability, innovation, resilience,..(snip).. fairness...(snip).. The global environment for achieving the MDGs is much more challenging than when the MDGs were devised. Strong effective institutions are needed to deliver the MDGs. Resilietn growth is about all people's ability to engage in productive work; women's empowerment and job opprtunities for youth are critical. To promote resilient development we must: ....(snip)... Transform our approach from short term capacity building to lonf term commitments to build institutions."
It would seem that this points to a turn around from short-term top-down projects and a moving towards support for long-term projects such as the community development of our sister organisation Fantsuam Foundation, which certainly ticks the boxes mentioned above - and others not quoted.
Handheld Learning Festival & Conference October 2010
Handheld Learning Festival & Conference October 2010 - pricey conference with a free day. Will it have any relevance to what we do? Will anyone there have any genuing interest is what is happening (and could happen) wiht mobile phones in rural Nigeria?
It's a start
Well that's not all the things buzzing in my mind right now - but it's a start. Maybe I can build from here into the "little and often" updates approach.