Civic Intelligence

The Long Walk for Justice by George Lakey

"What do Native Americans, Costa Ricans, Thai villagers, Hispanic students in U.S. colleges, Indian independence activists and Maasai women have in common? They’ve all organized long marches as part of campaigns for justice. Their campaigns’ very different choices about how to use the tactic raises strategic questions for us today. In some campaigns the long march was used primarily to heighten awareness, while in others it was to gain new allies. Sometimes it was used to launch other kinds of direct action.

url: 
http://www.nationofchange.org/long-walk-justice-1333295330

Small World News

Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

From the mission statement: 

 

Small World News focuses on developing the capacity of citizens to engage with the international community in crisis areas and conflict zones.

Our most recent project, Alive in Libya, showcased the potential of citizen media when combined with affordable digital technologies and professional training. As an organization our primary focus has been to guide local citizens through the entire process, from learning to produce professional media to distributing via social media and leveraging relevant technologies to broaden the impact.

We believe our unique body of expertise with media development in conflict areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya makes us uniquely positioned to provide training to existing media professionals, human rights and civil society organizations, as well as independent citizens. In the past year, in addition to our own projects, Small World News has conducted training in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Rwanda, Bahrain, Libya, and Uganda. Training subjects included: new media tools for civil society, SMS and mobile technology, training for journalists in new media and multimedia, training and advising in online security, training and deployment of Ushahidi.

Organizational engagement: 
Active

http://

Wikileaks

Organization's slogan: 
We open governments.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box). One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth. We are a young organisation that has grown very quickly, relying on a network of dedicated volunteers around the globe. Since 2007, when the organisation was officially launched, WikiLeaks has worked to report on and publish important information. We also develop and adapt technologies to support these activities.

WikiLeaks has sustained and triumphed against legal and political attacks designed to silence our publishing organisation, our journalists and our anonymous sources. The broader principles on which our work is based are the defence of freedom of speech and media publishing, the improvement of our common historical record and the support of the rights of all people to create new history. We derive these principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In particular, Article 19 inspires the work of our journalists and other volunteers. It states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. We agree, and we seek to uphold this and the other Articles of the Declaration.

Year the organization was founded: 
2007
Organizational engagement: 
Active

March-Hare Communications Collective

Organization's slogan: 
March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. (MHCC) is a volunteer mutual benefit corporation that is dedicated to promoting emerging communications technology for the use of public organizing of grass-roots groups and non-governmental organizations. The focus of the March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. is to develop new, secure and open software to be used with existing technologies that will aid community and grass-roots coordination, social networking and organization specifically using mobile technologies. In addition March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to provide educational materials and trainings on how to use mobile technologies in a safe and effective manner that meets the needs of the user groups. March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to be a depository of both technologies and information regarding the innovative use of mobile technologies to promote social justice in the US and internationally by grass-root/community groups.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. (MHCC) is a volunteer mutual benefit corporation that is dedicated to promoting emerging communications technology for the use of public organizing of grass-roots groups and non-governmental organizations. The focus of the March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. is to develop new, secure and open software to be used with existing technologies that will aid community and grass-roots coordination, social networking and organization specifically using mobile technologies. In addition March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to provide educational materials and trainings on how to use mobile technologies in a safe and effective manner that meets the needs of the user groups. March Hare Communications Collective, Inc. seeks to be a depository of both technologies and information regarding the innovative use of mobile technologies to promote social justice in the US and internationally by grass-root/community groups.

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's headquarters: 
United States

Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New "World Brain"

Resource name: 
Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New "World Brain"
Resource type: 
Articles

Berkman Center

Organization's slogan: 
The Berkman Center was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development.
Civic Organization Disclaimer: 
Possible disclaimer: This information has been entered by a person who isn't associated with the organization. It may be incomplete or contain mistakes. If you are associated with this organization and would like to maintain this information, please get a Public Sphere Project account and ask us to transfer ownership of this information to you.

Originally now part of Harvard Law School and now an institution of its own within the larger Harvard University, the Berkman Center is academic research institution and much more besides. It creates technologies and programs that allow activists as well as researchers to investigate and monitor trends worldwide, such as citizen journalism and censorship. They hold regular forums with interesting researchers and webcast them. They also link together faculty, students, and visiting experts.

Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's headquarters: 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Organization's geographic focus: 
Global

http://

Contact information: 
23 Everett Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138, cyber@law.harvard.edu,+1 (617) 495-7547 (Phone), +1 (617) 495-7641 (Fax)

AHUMANRIGHT.ORG

Organization's slogan: 
"Connect Everyone"

Primary focus for the organization is to provide communication services through the procurement of a tel-com satellite. "The mission of ahumanright.org is to improve the human condition by advocating for and safeguarding global access to information as a human right. We serve to facilitate mans ability to contribute and access knowledge, to further mankind’s ability to receive, seek and impart information and ideas. Our vision is to connect all people by creating and stewarding a freely available decentralized global system of communication."

Year the organization was founded: 
2011
Organizational engagement: 
Active
Organization's geographic focus: 
Global - Global South

Civic Intelligence

Working together to solve problems for the common good

Civic intelligence is a key element of the Public Sphere Project. We are currently developing online resources that will help people participate in a collaborative learning process and build this theory from the ground up! Please help the community by filling out the Civic Intelligence Cases Study or the "Short form" (you'll have to login or open a Drupal account) 

Project Goals: 
Develop an online resource for the promotion and development of civic intelligence

Community Animators

Pattern ID: 
752
Pattern number within this pattern set: 
102
Justin Smith
The Public Sphere Project & St. Mary's University
Version: 
2
Problem: 

Development professionals often find it difficult to adequately assess the broad spectrum of problems a community faces, as well as grasp and utilize the various assets the community has to work with. The lack of grassroots knowledge has proven problematic in that development schemes are often mismatched in scale and relevance to the community’s needs, abilities and liabilities. Thus the conceived solutions for encouraging community capacities and livelihoods fall short of their objectives.

Context: 

Through their lived experience, community members trained in assessment techniques and information gathering can provide contextual understandings of the assets and liabilities a community possesses that would otherwise go unnoticed to the outside professional. Similarly they can act as agent for the process of conscientization and subsequent mobilization for peoples to pursue change and empowerment.

Discussion: 

In response to the failures of 'top-down' approaches to development, a shift towards emphasizing participation and empowerment have begun to make their way into the mainstream of development practice. This move toward "bottom-up," "farmer-to-farmer," and "grassroots" communication has been a fundamental reorientation. Following, the 70s and 80s, years often associated with the dark ages of development a new light has come about through alternative practices that seek to employ the community’s themselves in defining their needs, mapping out there assets and coming to terms with their own liabilities.

Through a variety of participatory processes both community members and development professionals have had the opportunity to jointly design community improvement schemes that are both appropriate to the community's needs and wants, as well sustainable and empowering.

As a result of relative success, the role of the community animator has become an increasingly important component for enabling this process of cooperation and participation between the development practitioner and the community members themselves. In some ways the animator acts as both initiator and on-going advocate for his or her community's development through regular open communication with both community members and the representative staff working in the area.

In the past highly educated teams of researchers and development field workers would enter a community and employ any number of assessment tools to identify community needs. Some of which were participatory in nature (see Power Research pattern). Upon return to their offices these assessments would be used to design various projects ranging from indoor lavatories, to treadle pumps, to community telecenters. In many cases it was shown that these projects failed to support the kind of long-term growth in people’s livelihoods they were thought to bring. Rather than looking at what the community wanted or needed from their cultural and social point of reference; these professionals designed projects relative to their point of reference.

Instead of persisting with this paradigm, NGOs such as the Institute for Integrated Rural Development (IIRD) have pursued vigorous development campaigns in Bangladesh. In this example the community animator has become a central agent for helping to identifiy and express the needs and desires of a community, as well as initiating and supporting change to include, informal education, ideas for micro-enterprise, and even supporting the creation of women’s self-help groups that have enable a number of women in rural areas to gain access to credit and thus empower them to pursue economic generating activities.

Here organizations such as IIRD would send exploratory panels out to the communities, as a "get to know you" campaign. Over a period of time they would identify predominately young men and women that they would sponsor for further education. The pool of students would often serve as the primary group that would go on to perhaps become powerful community animators.

Not only were they given a valuable education they still retain those familial bonds to their community that often gives them an immediate advantage in having the lived experience of their particular area, as well the rapport of being a community member.

However, problems of jealousy and apprehension can be potentially problematic and it is important that groups and agencies that do seek to draw advocates from the field they seek to assist find ways to mitigate the potential social conflict that might arise. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to completely eliminate it. But it is perhaps a far better approach than previous alternatives

Solution: 

The community animator can act as a critical link between the community and any NGO Collaborator. It should be noted that by those in the field for social change that local citizens and activists can often better activate a community’s sentiments and bring about awareness for the possibility to realize change than an outsider who may be perceived to have little understanding of the real issues at stake.

Beyond the processes of concientization that a community animator can bring to the process; NGOs can also assist these community members in training for information gathering and needs assessments to help refine the basic kinds of projects and programs that might be of benefit to a community.

Verbiage for pattern card: 

Development professionals often find it difficult to adequately assess the broad spectrum of problems a community faces — or the various assets the community has to work with. This often means that development schemes are mismatched with the community's needs, abilities and liabilities. Community Animators can act as critical links and local citizens can often better activate a community to realize change than an outsider.

Pattern status: 
Released
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