What does communications in humanitarian and crisis response look like in 5 years time? This was the question I posed to the panel session I moderated at the Aid and International Development Forum on the issue of social media in humanitarian response.
While Imogen Wall Jacob Kurtzer gave good responses, I would like to take moderator's prerogative and respond with my own vision.
No more beneficiaries
First, in 2018 I expect us to look at the "beneficiary" moniker as not just passé but also a slightly derogatory term no longer allowed in the development discourse. Beneficiary implies passive acceptance of aid as something done to a people, not with them, regardless of the intentions.
Better terms we could be using by then include customers, clients, co-creators, or my current favorite, constituents, to show the fundamental shift that is happening in international development, and globally in every industry and activity.
From us to them to them to them
Communications are changing rapidly. Where once those in positions of power held all the information closely and informed people in one-way streams of TV, radio, or print media, new social media technologies (pick one, or all of them) are changing the fundamental relationships between us and them - regardless of who is "us" or "them".
Currently, we have a more balanced flow, two-way communications instead of one-way information. People in the developing world are taking their opinions on development to everything from Twitter and Facebook to MXit and Whatsap to tell us what they think of development efforts - be they local, national, or international in origin.
The days of silent, passive recipients of aid is over
In the future, probably event before 2018, communications in aid will be more from those in the middle of the crisis situation out to the world than any of us in development can imagine.
What I can imagine is a future where those in a crisis tell us what they need and want - and don't - and are loud and forceful enough in their communications that they drive the development process, not us.
That is a bright, communicated future I am excited to embrace. And so should you. Its not like you have any other option.
More thoughts and session highlights on Twitter https://twitter.com/search?q=%23commisaid
Thanks to for inviting me to moderate.
#commisad #ict4d #aidf #internationaldevelopment #humanitarian
You know first hand the hypocrisy of capitalist titans donating pittances and claiming a clean conscience, believing that they know what is best for the poor in other places. And on a daily basis you see what the 1% wrought on those less fortunate - in this country and around the world.
You'd love to be shown a different way. A real change in the status quo of capitalism and philanthropy that can lead to a real, long-term reduction in poverty and increase in quality of life for everyone on this small blue ball we call home.
You are not alone. As showed us all in his New York Times OpEd and we discovered in Wayan Vota's Open Letter, there is a great desire to have a new operating system for philanthropy and a more holistic focus on equality in everything we do.
So please RSVP to join a unique Google Hangout with , , , , Heather Peeler, and , moderated by that will dive deep into three related questions we are all wrestling with:
1. Who are the true philanthropists - those who love their fellow (wo)man so much they are willing to try something, anything, to find new was we can work together for a better tomorrow? How can we help them transform philanthropy into an edgy, risk-taking movement that pushes the boundary in changing lives for the better?
2. How can we change our systems so that businesses build, rather than destroy this planet and its people? Incentivize government to be a strong, positive force for equity between all people? And lead philanthropy into a new way of interacting with business, government, and those it aims to benefit?
3. What are the concrete actions we can take to connect cutting-edge philanthropists, in the most inclusive sense of that word, with the opportunities for growth and change that will increase the positive impacts we all wish to see in the world?
We will explore these questions and more in an open, interactive debate broadcast live on Google+.
After a short opening by each panelist, Lindsay will use questions you submit via Twitter using the #NewPhilanthropy hashtag quiz the panelists and drive the conversation forward towards collective action.
Please RSVP now to join us on August 20th.
Please comment on it directly or add your thoughts in the comments below.
Update: With all the interest this conversation has generated, I'm organizing a Google Hangout On Air on August 20th to discuss these themes more. Please note your interest via this form to participate: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dwR93gFl8pZgPSy-ax7PNa07Lk_ll7O7FyZ-M8dQHVU/viewform
#usaid #internationaldevelopment #donors #DAC #ODA
Imagery and stories used to frame issues of humanitarian development for advocacy and funding are often sensational and can be culturally disrespectful, representing those living in poverty as helpless victims in need, rather than as empowered and capable individuals.
These "flies in the eyes" images, like the Angelina Jolie photograph from Chad, are sometimes referred to as "poverty porn." Fundraisers would tell you that this is a necessary evil, given that aid and development programs need to raise funds, and this is the only thing that engages the public.
- But is the pitiful portrayal of "the poor" doing more long-term harm than good?
- Does poverty porn propagate negative images and misinformation, serving to increase divides, marginalize “the poor” and reinforce stereotypes?
- Can it create misconceptions about the capacity and agency of people in "developing" countries?
- Do these images damage the reputation of entire continents, reducing investments in larger areas that might enable countries to move out of poverty?
Photos like this are just a medium of expression. It is not about how we take photos of people, the photos and our actions are the reflection of how we perceive people who are not "us" and why we do development the way we do. So, are organizations misleading the public about their work and misrepresenting those they work with? What are the ethics involved?
The issue is complex, and victimizing photos and television commercials are only a symptom of larger and wider forces at work in the development industry. Should we just throw our hands up and say "this is how things are?" or is there something that can be done to change these practices?
Please RSVP to join a unique Google Hangout with +Ethan Zuckerman +Charlie Beckett +Linda Raftree Teddy Ruge and +Lina Srivastava, moderated by +Lindsay Poirier , that will dig into two deep questions:
1. How can we move beyond meaningless, uninformed and potentially dangerous campaigns and slacktivism, apathy or even harm (aka 1 Million Shirts and Kony2012) in development communications?
2. How can we move towards processes that truly enable "the poor" to participate more easily and more equally in the development debate, and shape not only the imagery we use, but also the very processes we utilize?
We will explore both questions and more in an open, interactive debate broadcast live on Google+.
After a short opening by each panelist, Lindsay will use questions you submit via Twitter using the #PovertyPorn hashtag quiz the panelists and drive the conversation forward towards collective action.
Please RSVP now to join us on June 18th.
Facebook, the social network giant, has lost more than 1 million (24%) Nigerian users between January and April 2013, according to data from social media monitoring firm, SocialBakers (http://www.socialbakers.com/).
Facebook monthly active users (MAU) in Nigeria peaked at 6.5 million and by end of April they were down to 5.2 million but this does not mean that users have left Facebook altogether.
This means that over one million people have not logged into Facebook between January and April 2013. Nigeria is ranked 35 on the list of countries with most Facebook users.
Facebook , once the top social network in Nigeria, is now losing steam to mobile chat (messaging) and flirting platforms like 2go, Whatsapp, Badoo, Eskimi and other social networks like Twitter .
What can be attributed to this trend?
With my knowledge and insight on the mobile landscape and ecosystem in Africa and especially Nigeria, I have identified the factors behind this trend which can be attributed mostly to social behaviours and platform influence.
The factors are as follows:
- Facebook is still the platform of choice to make new friends or meeting people for the first time due to its large user base but once the friendships have been cultivated and cemented, Facebook loses its novelty in taking these friendships or relationships to the next level of socialization which requires real-time interactions like Whatsapp, 2go, Twitter .
- Facebook will continue to grow in registered users but the generation 'Z' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z) and the earliest registered users seemed not to be too excited about using Facebook always.
- Facebook , with its huge digital assets and properties and the large business (advertising) content, is best experienced with smartphones. There are only 4 million smartphones out of the 100+ million phones in Nigeria. Facebook app is not efficient with data in a country where internet access and electricity has made browsing the web in a smartphone an expensive luxury.
- The majority of Facebook users, who are on feature phones are not having the same experience with that of smartphone users so they switch to other platforms where they can easily communicate with their friends singly or in group conversations and easily share photos and videos in real-time on feature phones with less keypad clicks practically for free. Facebook is simply too complex for these tasks.
- The likes of 2go, Whatsapp allows you to communicate with those you already have a relationship with, so most likely people are spending more time with those they know very well and they are not more than 10 meters away from their phone
- Whatsapp and 2go are known to perform well at low bandwidth connections and consume less data.
- The likes of Whatsapp and 2go are serving as a cheaper replacement for SMS among the youth (65% of Nigerians are youths).
The shift towards real-time platforms is not only happening in Nigeria but in other African countries like South Africa and also in Asia like in Japan and Korea (http://twitter.com/emekaokoye/status/328832381337358336).
In Nigeria, Twitter is gaining from the drop in Facebook active users (http://twitter.com/emekaokoye/status/335028543425740800). It is important to understand that emerging markets consume digital media in a different way to developed markets.
Also note that recently we’ve seen a lot of posts and news articles that analysts have predicted about the potential for chat apps to take over the role of SMS.
In Nigeria, 2go has 13+ million users, whatsapp has an estimated 6 million users, Eskimi has more than 5 million users and Twitter has more than 3.5 million users.
In conclusion, Facebook has not delivered a simple, real-time and cost efficient experience to meet the needs of most of their users in Nigeria.
Tags: #Nigeria #facebook #2go #whatsapp #Eskimi #Twitter #socialmedia #Africa #Messaging #Chat #SMS #Mobile #Social #Network
- Development GatewayCommunications Manager, 2012 - present
- InveneoSenior Director, 2008 - 2012
- World BankConsultant, 2008 - 2012
- Mercy CorpsDirector, 2004 - 2008
- IESC GeekcorpsDirector, 2004 - 2008
- A bunch of other jobs1995 - 2003
Wayan has addressed the Clinton Global Initiative, International Telecommunications Union, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, the World Summit on Information Society, and the Government of Queensland, Australia on sustainable deployment methodologies.
- The George Washington University School of BusinessMBA, 2012 - 2014
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