Posted by & filed under Connections.

On the “about” page of Development Dreamers the founder John Brownlee writes

What is your dream for development? What change would you like to see in this world? Alone we cannot easily make our dreams come true, but with the power of the web and collective action, we can in Tim Unwins idea of collectives of collectives connect people who share like-minded dreams and start to create a future in a new way, not bound by models of economic growth or logical results based frameworks. Such models and tools have their place, but probably not in the dream-world where you expect the unexpected, and hope not to wake up at the wrong point!

(More at “about” page of Development Dreamers )

I read more on the website and connected with it because of:

  • My preference for not going-it-alone
  • My bewilderment about the continuation of economic models of infinite growth when we live on a finite planet
  • My frustration about short-term hit-and-run development “interventions” which congratulate themselves on collecting, short term, “bums-on-seats” style, easy-to-count metrics rather than any long term changes and benefits.

In answer to his question

John Brownlee asks “What is your dream for development?” and he emphasises working together saying “Alone we cannot easily make our dreams come true, but with the power of the web and collective action, we can….”

My personal dream has been emerging since 2000. It has come from an intertwining of face-to-face relationships and online relationships that together enable a level of collaboration and shared learning, one that could never have happened before the 21st century. This dream has developed because of my connections with the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale and his team, then with John Dada and his team, and with Andrius Kulikasukas, Nikki Fishman, Julliet Makhapela, Elfneh Bariso and others.

Mine is a dream that overlaps John Browlee’s dream. It is a dream to end the “Development Disconnect” (see – It’s time to end this development disconnect)

For years I’ve been trying to find connecting points between various different perspectives that I experience related to “Development”. These include:

  • African friends in London who are working on their own local development projects “back home”
  • Experience of working holidays on such projects, mostly in Nigeria
  • Continuing communication and collaboration with such projects at a distance enabled by mobile phones and the Internet
  • Experience of online communities widely scattered across the globe
  • My background in education and the innovative use of computers (micro-computers from the late 1970s and the Internet from around 2000)
  • Online and face-to-face connections with the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for Development community
  • Events in London laid on by the International Development, business, ICTD, Distance Learning, innovation, organisational change and entrepreneurship communities.
  • Information on the Internet from Development, Education, and ICTD researchers and practitioners (websites, posts and online discussions)

I’m rejoicing in the discovery that, despite our different backgrounds, John Brownlee and I have overlapping development dreams. I appreciate his criticisms about the top-down nature of development initiatives disconnected from real needs and situations. Listening to him speak I find hope that the development community may move towards an approach of greater readiness to listen to listen and learn from the people who are enabling change to happen. People like the ‘Changemakers in Africa’ connected with Dadamac, for example, know the realities of local life and share the same cultural background and language as the people they are helping. They have strong, long, local connections, even if they have moved away for a while and belong equally in some other culture, such as the so-called developed world. Their input at the early stages of designing research questions could help to tie research into reality.

Development Dreamers encourages my hope that the the worst “development” excesses of imposing inappropriate “solutions” and “interventions” (through arrogance, ignorance, or worse) are giving way to a willingness to address genuine problems and make new connections between theory and practice. I hope Development Dreamers will be a practical connecting point between Dadamac and the established International Development world – I’ve joined the mailing list.

John Brownlee’s perspective

See also Knowledge sharing in Africa: Perspectives on the future …  by N Bimbe, J Brownlee, J Gregson and R Playforth

The Dadamac Perspective

I helped to organise a couple of Dadamac events in 2015, which relate to the personal views I’ve written above:

In January Nikki Fishman and I organised an event to raise issues of top-down development, and the potential of ICTs to enable two-way communication and genuine collaboration

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Tim Unwin was our keynote speaker

In November we organised a follow-up event with individual changemakers and two professional story-tellers from the Academy of Oratory. We aimed to hear more from the changemakers and to learn together about effective telling of their ongoing stories.

We share a dream

I rejoice in the discovery of Development Dreamers and share John Browlee’s belief that:

“…with the power of the web and collective action, we can in Tim Unwins idea of collectives of collectives connect people who share like-minded dreams and start to create a future in a new way, not bound by models of economic growth or logical results based frameworks.”