Blogs tagged as communications

  • St Patricks Day in Nairobi!

    Erin Go Bragh. Spending St Patrick’s day in Nairobi (my second favourite saint’s day of the year) was an experience. It was also a point of perspective on the visit to Kenya so far. There is a huge wealth gap between the rich (very rich) and the poor within Nairobi city and East Africa as a whole.

    Over the course of the visit we have met with many donors, perspective partners and government bodies. What is very clear is that there needs to be a unified approach to tackling the issue of poverty across Kenya and East Africa. It is not just an issue for NGOs.

    What does this really mean? I’m not really sure at this point that I know, or am intellectually capable of contextualising the enormity of the task. I have felt a warmth to the people of Kenya and feel that there are aspirations to develop the country rapidly in the coming years.

    There are many things that I would wish for the people of Kenya and across Africa, but on the day of St Patrick. (within context, however due to the rain today and drop in temperature, the fires were lit today in Nairobi)

    Wishing you always-
    Walls for the wind
    And a roof for the rain
    And tea beside the fire-
    Laughter to cheer you
    And those you love near you-
    And all that your heart might desire!

    May you have warm words
    on a cold evening,
    A full moon on a dark night,
    And the road downhill
    all the way to your door.

    Happy St Patricks Day!

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  • Social Media Club (If you get it, share it)

    On visiting iHub Nairobi’s Innovation Hub there were many reasons to be impressed. Not only was the office layout, clean, open and free of the uncreative structures of the modern office environment but there was also a definite and unpremeditated energy of enterprise, entrepreneurship and development.

    Positioned on a raised seating and stage area of the office (where shoes were definitely not welcome attire) sat one of my favourite pub games – the unrivalled table football. What caught my eye though was not the game and table itself but a sticker reading the slogan;

    ‘Social Media Club, if you get it, share it.

    In terms of my visit to Kenya and the work of Practical Answers as the knowledge sharing function of Practical Action this phrase is so, so relevant. We as Practical Action do get why, how and when ‘technology’ is an appropriate function of development. In fact it is exactly what we have been doing for over 40 years.

    The Social Media Club referred to on the sticker takes you to socialmediaclub.org and locally to Nairobi, socialmediaclub.org/chapter/nairobi

    ‘Social Media Club Nairobi, where innovators from Kenya will meet for monthly events to share, engage and collaborate with the community on the issues of social media and technology.’

    Questions we may want to ask at this stage are,

    Who is driving Innovation in International Development?
    What place could iHub play in creating change through Innovation?
    Why is this connected to development in Kenya?
    Where should we start to innovate?
    When can we achieve results?
    &
    Ultimately…
    How can Digital Innovation aid the cause of Practical Action?

    These questions need to be amplified within the development agenda, particularly within Kenya and East Africa.

    The rise of the mobile phone over the last 5 years and the need to be connected to both mobile, internet and social networks 24hrs a day is clearly a priority for a large % of Kenyans in 2011.

    I am not going to begin to answer how, when or in what shape digital ‘Innovation’ will play it’s part in the development of East Africa and indeed International Development Globally, but it is fundamentally clear and simple to see that we need many more iHub’s in the world to begin to start on solving the major world issues that we have today.

    In consortium with the World Wide Web Foundation, please check out iHub and indeed m:lab and support the work that they are doing in encouraging the rise of Innovation, Investment and creativity within Kenya and East Africa.

    iHub – www.ihub.co.ke

    m:lab – www.mlab.co.ke

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  • To blog or not to blog

    Hi,

    I’m Joseph Nunn, Innovation Executive at Practical Action, a UK NGO with a difference. Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty working with the worlds poorest women, men and children.

    Starting to blog in March 2011 I hope to develop an understanding of the key reasons that Practical Action exists. What drives the work of the organisation and how our founder Fritz Schumacher influences the work that we do today, 40 years into our existence.

    I will be able to report first hand as to how our work is helping the people of Kenya in my first visit to the country in March and hopefully this will enable me to comment on how Practical Actions approach is different, what issues we face as a UK NGO working in Kenya and finally what impact our work has.

    I will also attempt to comment on how Practical Action is influenced within the framework of International Development.

    Using a blog to capture thoughts, observations and general questions will enable me to continue to develop issues of importance and report back over time.

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  • Dying from climate change

    People living in the Andes mountains of Bolivia are among the lowest contributors to climate change and yet they are suffering some of the most severe effects. Instead of blaming others they are learning to adapt to the changes in their environment through the help of Practical Action.

    Sara-Jane Brown from our communications team is travelling across Peru and Bolivia to see examples of how Practical Action’s work is making a difference to poor communities. Follow my trip live on Twitter: #sarainperu

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  • Reaching new heights in Bolivia

    Walking miles to visit your nearest neighbour and to get rare water supplies is common practice for those living in Colquencha, high above the Bolivian city of La Paz.  Helping them gain access to water and use it more effectively, is one way in which Practical Action is helping them.

    Sara-Jane Brown from our communications team is travelling across Peru and Bolivia to see examples of how Practical Action’s work is making a difference to poor communities. Follow my trip live on Twitter: #sarainperu

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  • Communicating with the outside world

    Farming is a really important for families trying to earn a living in the remote forests near Moyabamba. So is radio contact with the outside the world. Find out why …

    Sara-Jane Brown from our communications team is travelling across Peru and Bolivia to see examples of how Practical Action’s work is making a difference to poor communities. Follow my trip live on Twitter: #sarainperu

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  • Trekking up moutains

    Imagine climbing two hours up a steep mountainside with heavy bags and then walking hours to the nearest town. Find out how Sara-Jane got on living a day in the life of the Chamaoa villagers …

    Sara-Jane Brown from our communications team is travelling across Peru and Bolivia to see examples of how Practical Action’s work is making a difference to poor communities. Follow my trip live on Twitter: #sarainperu

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  • Deepest, darkest Peru but no Paddington Bear

    I have arrived in Moyabamba, a large town in deepest, darkest Peru. Dirt roads, poverty and curious wildlife are just a few things I’d say about it, but no sign of Paddington Bear …

    Sara-Jane Brown from our communications team is travelling across Peru and Bolivia to see examples of how Practical Action’s work is making a difference to poor communities. Follow my trip live on Twitter: #sarainperu

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  • A Week in the Life


    November 22nd, 2009

    I interview a lot of people who want to work for us including some this week.  Those with a corporate background sometimes give a sense of ‘it must be easy’ working for a charity, people even talk of reducing stress or wanting to step back from the strain of business life. I just think they haven’t got a clue. Everyone here is committed to our cause and that motivation makes you work harder, it means that you can’t easily distance yourself from the work and budgets for work in the UK are always very, very tight – you do more with less resources. Believe me, I have worked in both corporate and charity sectors and this is harder but so much more worthwhile.

    Back from Zimbabwe for a week and thrown immediately in to the realities of charity life – writing reports, articles, interviews, organising presentations, budgets, meetings and trying desperately hard, working with the fundraising team to see if/how we can raise the money we need to do all of the great work we’ve planned.

    We are told that we need to ‘increase brand awareness’ if we are to recruit more people to support Practical Action. So now we are thinking about how we can do it with out spending any or very little money. Haven’t cracked it yet! Any ideas welcome. If you are currently in corporate sector marketing and you would like to help promote Practical Action get in touch – you won’t be paid but the rewards are still great.

    Like everyone who supports Practical Action it’s that fantastic work on the ground that motivates. It is brilliant to know you are making a real difference and that makes everything you do worthwhile.

    Must go -I’m writing this at home so a house to clean and dinner to cook. Then hopefully a walk with our dog. Charities and families both have realities. They are fun.

    Margaret

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  • Small is not always beautiful

    I’ve spent the day training Practical Action Bangladesh’s senior staff in communications planning. Which begs the question why? These people have their noses against the grindstone, spending every day working with people in desperate need. Why do they need training in marketing and communications? Aren’t there enough spin doctors in the world?

    The short answer is a phrase used often at Practical Action, “scaling up”. It’s a difficult issue for an organisation founded on the principle of Small is Beautiful. But in reality we are ambitious to make a bigger impact. Our current plan is to work directly with 3 million poor women and men around the world over the next five years, which is admirable. But put in the context of 3 billion people living in poverty, it will take us a thousand years to achieve our ambition.

    And so we are keen to take the lessons of our work and share them with others. We offer a free information service about appropriate technologies to any development practitioner in the world (see www.practicalaction.org/practicalanswers) . We talk to partner development organisations, locally, nationally and internationally about our lessons and how they can replicate our work. And we take the lessons of our work to politicians and donors, in the hope that they will change policies to make all development more effective.

    All this makes sense to everyone who works for Practical Action. The staff on the ground in the countries are the critical players because we need them to capture and communicate what they learn. But they are also the people who are busiest and face daily pressing needs from the people they work with, so you can forgive them for not prioritising “the bigger picture”. It’s a real challenge but hopefully today’s training will equip them with tools to make their communication more effective…only time will tell!

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