Monthly Archives: May 2006



I’m taking a week of the day job and going on holiday to see friends and to go to this conference. Meeting up with various pledgers, and people who have blogged the pledge and the project some of whom have offered to help and take on specific roles. I’ll be introducing them here when I get back! Actually Marshall Kirkpatrick has already given me an online tutorial on OPML files (don’t ask!), John Girard has been co-authoring our first stab at a requirements document for the new service, Anne Marie Bellavance is going to set up the wiki.


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logos revisited

Sam Ajluni and his designers have done a great job in working up two of the logos following suggestions. We are not done yet but the two are Digital and Quote Bubble. I know quite a few people liked Black & White, but there were some design concerns about the width and some interpretation concerns about which was the dominant party – the mentors above the line or the mentees reflected below the line. Whichever logo we choose in the end we will still work on the lettering and it will also be available in black and white. I have posted the reworked logos on our flickr page and just to say it is interesting to view them as a slideshow, – I found that helped me spot the ones I like the best. If you click on this one it should take you there too. D-2-3

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comparing models

One of the many things I said I would do is look at different existing mentoring and mentoring-type organisations. Thanks to M.T.Rainey of Horses’ Mouth and Gideon Lyons of Unltd for sending me these two remarkably different types of examples. is a Netherlands-based charity whose novel idea is to create online villages around specific projects (development-focussed) and ask online volunteers or “neighbours” to help with the needs of the village or project. So what you get is a collaboration between online volunteers to provide the village with its needs. They also have a facilitator role per village.

africa villages and neighbours

Here is the story of Zapotillo in Ecuador. The project is complete so you can see the whole story, see who the volunteers are, and what they did. This is certainly the most original project I have seen so far – and they have about 4,500 volunteers currently helping 73 villages in 24 countries currently needing 169 actions. So perhaps we can help out here to get some practise!

The other project comes from Accenture the global management consultancy. They have started a charity called Accenture Development Partnerships aiming not to make a profit, but to cover its costs. It looks like a group of people from within the company had this idea and decided to make it work after good experiences of working with VSO. It’s part of Accenture’s corporate citizenship agenda and aims to deliver their services to NGOs and projects for a price they can afford.

accenture development charity

Both projects testify to a need and a demand which different organisations and groups of individuals are seeking to address. I’d love to hear what you think about both of these and their projects. There are case studies on both sites.

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we media conference

I’m at the WE MEDIA conference in London all about participatory media. It’s sponsored by the BBC and by Reuters and we are in the second day of talks. We have just been listening to Jeffrey Sachs live by satellite link from the Earth Institute at Columbia University as he was asked by the conference organisers to come up with a big idea for the conference which wants to launch a call to action. He reminded us in a hard hitting , timely and salutary way that “our fate depends on solving these problems”. And cutting through quite a bit of political correctness pointed again to the absolute need to end poverty and concentrating on Africa. He highlighted the benefits of people-to-people solutions but insisted on the need for hardware too and resources, anti-maleria bednets, seeds for farmers and essential goods. Above that he praised a BBC organised school twinning programme which helps twin schools to connect children and teachers. He inivited us all to send him ideas and solutions as he is working with some philanthropists to find solutions. Reminded of my own goals, supported by so many of you I think we really need to get started.

WE MEDIA have also expressed an interest in our project, and we’ll see what comes from their call to action. I’ll be following up with both, and meeting with the World Service Trust next week. I have been looking at the WE MEDIA logo for a couple of days now too…take a look, does it remind you of any of ours?

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