Category Archives: pledger

Collaboration and the Voluntary sector

There has been a lot going on in the UK in the field of collaboration and the Voluntary Sector while I have been hibernating.

Noticeably for Mentoring Worldwide a mention in the new published I-See-T project report to download as an Adobe PDF. It’s also available to read and comment on online in the style of the dotOrganize report: Online Technology for Social Change which says we are an organisation that has been monitored during the study.

How embarrassing – too much of our thinking of late has been done offline and my main new year’s resolution is to relaunch this project and blog.

I’d be the first to echo one of their findings…

There was however an acknowledgement that although the tools themselves might be free or low cost, a significant investment in time may be required to exploit them fully

A year ago I was full of excitement about all the new tools ( I still am) but now realise I don’t have the time or skills to test them all so am delighted to see the Orgnizer’s Tool Crib121 tools reviewed and rated…

Nancy White has reviewed the whole document, who better?

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Filed under collaboration, ICT, non profits, pledger, research, Story

Full Circle

One of the themes of my research conversations and meetings is about the “place” the work happens, or where does work happen? When I went to Netsquared to meet likeminded people in the US with the impression that the non-profit and tech sectors combined with philanthropy and funders was so better organised there I was told, in no uncertain terms , that I was mad and things were far better in London..more of this to come in following posts.

Evidently for us much work is done virtually, between real people, and or their avatars, in a place we have called and conceptualised as many things, – cyberspace, online, metaverse, chat rooms etc. But the “place” surely is the meeting place of motivation, need, demand and supply. And who better to talk to me about all of this than Nancy White whom I failed to “meet”in London when she was here talking to the BBC, hosted by colleague Robin Hamman, and to E-mint (her write up is in five posts from here to here.

Really I wanted some tips about designing our trial/pilot for maximum impact and learning and I am sure it was only the beginning of the conversation. But what really struck me is that designing for the second and third waves of adoption is going to be really interesting and pretty complex as we figure out and test the growing capacity of mobile phones to be a link in a chain of communications leading to an email or blog post for areas where fixed line connectivity may never really take off.

Links to check out from Nancy: Bioteaming and the wisdom of virtual team collaborations
Knoweldge Management for Development
The Institute for Development Studies
And a reference point for existing project groups in this area D-Groups

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Filed under communities, design, mentors, pledger, research, Resources, trial

handbags at dawn

I am finding I am constantly retelling the story of Audrey Cordera , an amazing woman I met at the Reuters Digital Vision Programme in Stanford when I visited last May. Audrey is from the Phillipines and is the regional rep on the Youth to End Poverty campaign, as well as running a Youth Employment Network.

She talked to the Digital Vision Fellows about helping Youth from the Phillipines out of deep poverty through entrepreneurship and getting them started on projects, however small. When she was asked how she did it all, and what her business plan was she told the story I love to repeat.

One day she was given a handbag by a friend of hers. Not any old handbag , but one made by her friend. When travelling in the US she was asked by another woman if she could tell her where she could buy one of these bags.

Disappointed that she could not buy this one-off in a shop she asked Audrey if she could buy hers! This got Audrey thinking and on her return she had a few more made and shipped them over for people to buy. But the imaginative leap she then made was to get the original friend who made the bag to work with her putting together the parts and pieces needed for the production process. She farmed out the work to pieceworkers, to women who needed work, and offered them a fair price for their labour – the labour costs of assembling the bags. She bought the bags and sold them on. Now what she does is pay for the work that is done to make the bag from the kit of parts – but also is prepared to pay more for original features added by the women, and more again if the women find the parts themselves.

This is, it seems, the work that funds her work with the youth employment network too. Some business plan – left the RDVP fellows with much food for thought.

Chatting later with Stuart Gannes, the Director of the Programme , we brainstormed how we might be able to work together. They are very well connected on the ground in some countries we might like to work in – and so a good resource for us and perhaps a partner for the trial.

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Filed under pledger, social enterprise, trial

Nata Village Blog

Pledger Curt Hopkins alerted me recently to the Nata Village Blog, and put Jon Rawlinson in touch with us at MW.

Jon and I finally met this week and he told me how his travels in Africa, videoblogging along the way have changed his life.

Stopping off in a remote village in Botswana he chanced across a US peace corps worker who had set up home in Nata Village. With his travelling companian he chucked in his plans for a comfortable night at the lodge to visit the village and stay closer to the ground. The visit and people he met changed a lot and Jon has since set up a blog for the Nata Village project and Melody Jenkins’ many projects educating locals about HIV and setting up a clinic there.

Currently in London, Jon is looking for ways of using his considerable video shooting and editing skills to contribute more. Have immediately snapped him up as a mentor. But what did hearten me was to find that he has scoured this blog and has now been in touch with Kiva.org (see previous post) and it’s CEO Matt Flannery , and will be visiting them in San Francisco mid August to offer his help.

You can read about the two Microsoft Fellow’s findings (see previous blog post) here, or on Matt’s blog.

Without describing our whole conversation – all my old documentary making tendencies came pouring out as we discussed the power of narrative and the kind of storytelling video is good at. He is off too to meet Current TV who if they have any sense, will snap him up. Hmmm, got me thinking. Given they pay $500 per video used maybe I should take it up again to fund Mentoring Worldwide!

Glad our blog is working. Come September, following a real holiday, I hope others will want to start co-blogging here, and we work together to get our trial/ proof of conept up and running for real.

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Filed under Africa, communities, mentees, mentors, microfinance, non profits, pledger

serendipity – Kiva and Life in Africa

Friday June 2nd (apologies, blog is so out of synch). I am preparing to meet Fiona Ramsay of Kiva in San Francisco. Researching the organisation I find , on their front page no less, a description of Life In Africa…the project run by Christina Jordan …one of our pledgers! Something is definately going right. Christina is a pledger active in the Omidyar Network (and we have quite a few people from the Omidyar Network community who did pledge). She is also an Ashoka Fellow living in Uganda.

Fiona desicribes the groundbreaking work that Kiva is doing. Barely a year old they are winning plaudits, and pioneering an effective peer-to-peer microfinance organisation which as Fiona diplomatically puts it is “deceptively complex”. I leave inspired and with a new sense of how mentoring could make a difference. Perhaps not directly with entrepreneurs on the ground, but with the newer and smaller Micro Finance Institutions who report on the projects, write journals and suggest the entrepreneurs to Kiva. They have a great model and we will talk again. If you are interested in Microfinance I strongly encourage to take a look at their work and get involved.They have two interns blogging from Africa at present, and their founder, Matthew Flannery blogs at Social Edge.

Back in London I book a call with Christina. Life In Africa has potentially six mentees for us. I hear about the project, but also am immensly encouraged to ask for help. The time is coming and we’ll soon have a framework that people can volunteer into. I listen too , this time in the Omidyar Network, to her amazing efforts to work with the best of internet and computer providers in the area (Kampala and Gulu) BushNet and Inveneo and realise that while the solutions may be out there, getting people on the ground to join up the dots is still unbelievably hard, and patience, courage and perseverence are the name of the game. She has two Microsoft Fellows visiting to learn about the project and the difficulties and needs in the area of connectivity. Sounds fascinating.

It somehow did not seem so suprising when I called Fiona today a month after the conversation with Christina to find the same Microsoft Fellows about to report their findings to Kiva, tomorrow.

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Filed under Africa, mentees, microfinance, non profits, pledger, trial

green tea in palo alto

Leaving Cisco and Netsquared behind, back on the Light Rail and Cal Train to Palo Alto where I met with pledgers and supporters John Girard of Clickability and Jan Leeman.

They listened hard and got their impressive brains working on who I should meet in my remaining two days. They suggested three companies and got me meetings, or phone meetings with all of them there and then!

Microfinance is an area many people have suggested might be fruitful in terms of finding mentees and I was put in touch with a new and very impressive company, Kiva. to start talking about the realities of this suggestion.

My quest to find a good user-centred design approach to our cross-cultural needs, the desire to keep things simple to use, and simple to manage led to a call to brand new start-up Ruby Red Labs.

And third Taproot, an organisation that matches volunteers with non-profits who need volunteers to help them with their capacity building.

More about all of these organisations in due course. In the meantime though – check out this elegant tea bag. green tea( hesitate to call it bag really made, as it was , from the finest muslin)!

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Filed under design, microfinance, non profits, pledger, social enterprise

logos galore

you’ve seen the web2logos now see all our new logos! A big Thank You toTedster,Sam Ajluni,who first showed me some of them on his Ipod at Ted. He’s done some great work and here they are. I know which I would chose – but let me know what you think. Either here on the blog, or if you click on an icon you’ll get to our Flickr page

Digital
digital

Chunky
chunky

Electric
electric

Quote bubble
quote bubble

Around the world
around the world

Reflection
reflection

Black and white
black and white

All licensed with a Creative Commons license.

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Filed under design, pledger