One of the main ideas we wanted to share at [Africa-UK Connections in Practice - New Approaches for 2015] was the "Dadamac approach" to two-way Africa-UK communications. This is about using the Internet in ways that help people in UK and in Africa to to work together, instead of having top-down initiatives. People discussed these ideas in groups. Soon after the event Graham Knight shared his enthusiasm for the approach in his newsletter saying:
At the recent Dadamac conference it was decided that an effort should be made to establish a means for those in developing countries to have some control of projects they are involved in.
For this to happen it will need a central group (Hub) to ensure that information flows both to and from those running the project.This is not something that most Western NGOs will accept - whatever they say - but it seems to many that it essential to overcome the various pressures arising whenever money is in play!
If you know of anyone who might be interested in participating do let me know!"
Graham got positive responses from several people in his network, which he shared with me. Graham will know better than I do if those responses were private or for sharing publicly.
We need to "make the case" as effectively and visibly as we can, riding on the energy that was generated at the event.
There is a good "buzz" and lots off different things starting to take off:
There is evidence of the need for better two-way communication - not just the technology (which gives us "tools for talking to each other") but a readiness for people to listen to each other, to learn from each other, and to work together as a UK-Africa online community.
There is evidence of a need to share information about specific projects - including affordable hardware, malaria, community radio, grazing rights, Continuing Professional Development for teachers, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, permaculture, solar power, and many other issues that people in the Dadamac Network are involved with.
Each issue that is of concern to several people in the Dadamac Network needs to become visible as evidence of what a full Dadamac Communication Hub would be.
Open discussion as evidence
We all have our favourite ways to share information, and somehow we have get as much overlap as possible between those different ways. We need to behave as a kind of demonstrator or prototype communication Hub in order to bring the full Hub into existence.
I believe our "default" should be to share information publicly, so it is easy for additional people to see what we've been doing and then they can join in and add their energy, knowledge and other resources.
Ways of sharing information
I'm exploring Kabissa Forum as a possible solution to our need for open discussion. John Dada and Filo from Fantsuam Foundation are starting to use is as well. Others are gradually joining in with the First Thursday Group at Kabissa 'experiment' that I started here a couple of months ago.
I know information is being exchanged with Graham in emails, and through his Newslettter and that other people in his network use other ways too. I hope some of that information exchange will become visible here as well as time goes by.
If we can gather evidence of need for the Dadamac Communication Hub it should help us where we try to get some funding to make it a reality.