Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Wev2forDev Conference

Myra Wopereis and Dady Demby participated in behalf of FARA to the Web2forDev conference, held at FAO in Rome, 24th-27th September 2007.

Dorothy Mukhebi (ASARECA) took part in the panel discussion on 'The Core Aims of Knowledge Exchange and the Challenges of Using New Technologies to Meet Them', and reflected on some of the issues: Check the video on

Ethan Zuckerman gave the keynote speech on the final day on 27/09. Ethan is the co-founder of Global Voices, the world’s largest aggregator of media in the South. The Global Voices Forum brings together bloggers from around the globe.

Here are some quotes from that speech:

Check for an video interview with Zucherman (who is based in Accra), but also a video with The Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) about the advantages of vlogging (?!) in a country like Ghana (!).

Zuckerman on our new interest in old technology:
‘Email preceded the Internet… blogs are ten years old, and Wikis have been around since 1995… If most of this stuff is twenty years old, why are we talking about it now? Because it’s not about the tools, it’s about the people.’
‘The reason that it matters now is that we are experiencing a seismic shift – it’s about who can be brought together with these tools.’

Zuckerman on mobile phones:
‘When we think about participatory web, it’s not about laptops and high bandwidth… it’s about mobile phones. There are 3 billion handsets worldwide, and its estimated 80-90% of people in the developing world can access a mobile phone if they need to. This is a level of penetration of technology that changes the rules of the game. We need to broaden our thinking beyond the Web.’ ‘For example, Interactive Radio for Justice gives people, particularly women, the opportunity to send questions via SMS to very powerful people. No, it’s not Flickr; no, it doesn’t have tags, but it’s back-and-forth participatory, it’s appropriate to the people it’s trying to reach.’

Zuckerman on Wikipedia:
‘Get smart about Wikipedia. It’s the ninth most popular site in the entire world. This it literally the biggest bang for the buck you can do.’

Zuckerman on why you should blog:
‘Think about who you’re trying to reach and how… if someone just signs a petition and says, “this is important to me”, it’s not enough. We’re looking for participation here… This is the reason to blog: links. Blogs are full of links and Google loves links – the more links you have, the higher up the search engine results you’ll appear. It makes sense to look at this as an eco-system approach. You have to link to figure out how to participate.’

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