Dadamac is at another transformative stage. It's time for a review of who we are, where we are, and where we seem to be going. This description is a "beginners guide" and also an overview for people who already know some parts of Dadamac well and want to see where they belong in the bigger picture. It covers how things flow together and where they go separate ways (so it's not short). The sections are:
What a difference a place makes.
When John was in the UK some time ago, he told me that he had managed to write about seven proposals in a few weeks. In contrast the work would take weeks or months if he was working in Fantsuam in Nigeria.
It is easy to take for granted, in places where there is more or less uninterrupted electricity supply and internet access, how great is the challenge to get even the simplest things done. In Kafanchan there is rarely electricity and it is of low or fluctuating voltage which damages equipment.
Sometimes I need to explain where I fit on the spectrum of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development). The most accurate description is that I'm an "accidental ICT4D practitioner". With hindsight I can describe my work in a tidy "CV" kind of a way, although in reality it's been chaotic and emergent (and is unpaid so not full-time or neatly labelled). It's grown from doing things to help my friends, and has increasingly taken over my life.
Here's one possible tidy version:
A non-academic perspective
I'm not part of academia, or any other "expenses paying" organisation. This means that if I do go to any ICT4D conferences I have to foot the bills myself and I have to go in my own time, so I don't usually go.
Mercy Dogary provided this information about the development of Fantsuam's health services.
Isn't it wonderful when someone puts into words something that you know but can't explain. That's exactly my feeling from watching Eliza Anyangwe of the Guardian interviewing Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina. They discuss aid, power and the politics of development in Africa (video link)
The most important breakthrough last week was the "Aha!" moment that happened when I was reading "A travelogue of 100 laptops". It gave me an insight into why I can't easily answer the question "What to you do?" (See A PhD Thesis About OLPC Asks: What are we doing? What are we bringing? and the comment at 10.54am on March 9th.)
Mercy has sent this blog from Fantsuam in Nigeria