03 October 2007

Web 2.0 for participatory development: Notes from Rome

This three day conference at FAO from 25-27 September provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences in the use of social networking technologies (i.e. blogs, wikis, feeds, mash-ups etc.) to build collaborative knowledge organizations (www.web2fordev.net).

With a focus on support for rural community information needs, the conference attendees also explored issues of the digital divide, local ownership,linguistic challenges, illiteracy, privacy, capacity building, information overload, and potential delivery mechanisms such as mobile phones and email alerts.

Selected presentations included a demonstration of RSS feed technology used by the Global Forest Information Service (GFIS) gateway; the use of semantic wikis at ICRISAT to build a repository of re-usable information objects; IFPRI’s experiments with improving both internal and external communication using blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and social bookmarking (see also the china conference web site); and Oxfam's MySpace community engagement.

The experiences of BROSDI, a Ugandan NGO, were striking. It works to improve rural livelihoods through the use of ICTs and knowledge sharing. The BROSDI website provides farmers with weather information, concise FAQs,and access to open source tools for text-messaging. Village knowledge brokers are trained to facilitate two-way communication and to build ICT capacity among all village members, including school children.

For more Web2forDev conference details, go to the conference blog or visit this posting on .

contributed by Barbara Hutchinson


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