This is a draft of one possible prologue for the planned book, Challenging Ignorance. I phrase it that way because the book comes out of a programme of work in which many people collaborated and any of them could have written about it and made their own explanation of what led to their involvement. This version is written by Mike Powell, lead author and also director of the IKM Emergent programme.
Methodological considerations in the evaluation of social development programmes — an alternative approach
City Information Architecture: a case study of OTIS (Opening the Information Society Project) in Sheffield, UK.
This case study tells the story and reflects on the implications of the OTIS Project undertaken by the Sheffield First partnership between 1999 and 2001. The project provided a focus for action for those who wished to create a city-wide information architecture that was not simply the outcome of unstructured competition between private providers or of public sector dictat, but one that
This article provides an overview of issues relating to the use of knowledge by development organisations. It starts by exploring the various definitions of knowledge that exist in a world of many cultures and intellectual traditions, and the role of language. It considers their relationship with each other and with the many and varied ‘informational developments’ – information-related changes in work, culture, organisations, and technology across the world. It argues that these issues pose a number of fundamental strategic challenges to the development sector.
This workshop brought together academics from various disciplines, researchers working with civil society, and subject specialists from donor and multilateral agencies in a collaborative effort to begin mapping key research issues relating to “informational developments” and development policy.
Most of this book describes the operation of what is now entirely obsolete technology. Its value exists as a record - and to some extent an explanation - of the efforts of small NGOs, solidarity and church groups to adopt simple peer-to-peer communications technologues to support development and solidarity work in Europe, South America and sub-Saharan Africa. This pioneering work predated the possibility of e-mailing any UN or donor government development organisation.
This book was written at a time when the use of ICT by development organisations was becoming ubiquitous. It argues that rather than concentrating on the ever changing technologies, development organisations need to focus on the information they needed to work effectively and the relationships which underpin the necessary two-way communication which can generate the information needed. The book gives many examples of the way such information flows can underpin or hinder the main essential functions of a development organisation.
This book looks at the introduction and use of new information technologies in several sectors of Senegalese society, showing some significant differences and innovations from the norms evolving in more industrialised countries at the same period. The book's development included a number of interactive events and newspaper features in Senegal which helped identify issues and potential writers for the different chapters. The process was led by Momar-Coumba Diop of the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar.
Using Sudan as a case study, the focus of this essay is the changing nature of fieldwork in the Global South. More specifically, it concerns the methodological shifts in how the South has been approached as an object of knowledge in the contemporary period. Drawing on the author's own varying engagement with Sudan since December 1973, it was prompted by a return visit in January 2014 to what is now the small town of Maiurno, near Sennar, almost 40 years to the day of beginning his PhD fieldwork there.