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Matt Haiken is looking for an opportunity to do grass-roots participatory work with technology… Can you help? More on his blog

I’ve known Matt for some time so I’ve “got confidence in his history”. I’ll point him to what I’m writing here, to find out if he’s interested in opportunities with Dadamac.

What Matt’s looking for

He writes – What I really want to get some experience of is a group, project, or program working at the top-end of Arnstein’s ladder – full and meaningful participation of the local community at every stage – from defining the goals, through delivery to evaluation – something that is genuinely empowering…  Using technology…

  • Work pro-bono for a few months
  • For an organisation working directly with end-users in their local communities
  • Ideally within a project making use of ICTs and participatory methods
  • Where?  Pretty much anywhere…
  • When?  End of 2015 or early in 2016.  The only real deadline is that I need to be finished by September 2016 at the latest.
  • Doing what?  Well this is tricky – obviously I need to be helpful to the project/organisation so my ICT4D practice and research skills – project management, program development, research and evaluation, fundraising, strategic consultancy etc. are all potentially useful.  BUT I also need to learn about what makes for good, effective, fair participatory work, so I want  to be directly involved in this delivery.

What we could explore ref Dadamac

It’s possible that we might be able to sort out some kind of opportunity with Fantsuam Foundation (FF) through John Dada, or if that didn’t appeal then there are Dadamac Changemakers in the Diaspora in London, who have projects “back home” in other countries and might be a source of opportunities for you.

Thinking about practicalities

John often has people at FF through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and the Canadian equivalent. If you were doing it more independently you’d need to sort out all the admin stuff that VSO would normally be responsible for – insurance, permits etc.

John has always arranged for someone to pick me up from Abuja airport, and would probably do the same for you.

Ref catering etc. I’ve only been to FF for a few weeks at a time, so I’ve never needed to do my own catering, I’ve always been abIe to join in some kind of “family/staff/voluteers” meals, but I’ve paid my way and have been guided by John on what I should contribute for my keep. VSO people do their own catering.

Accommodation at FF has proper plumbing installed, but there is seldom enough electricity to pump water to the tanks, so water tends to come from the well rather than the taps. There is electrical wiring too, but obviously that’s only useful when there is power. NEPA (grid electricity) is “unreliable” and it’s too expensive to run the generator for domestic use (it’s only “affordable” when there are lots of paying students who need access to computers).  There is some solar power, but not enough for full domestic use, so expect lamps, and a quick habituation to get up at cock-crow and go to sleep a couple of hours after sunset.

Local needs, participation and ICTs

Fantsuam Foundation is driven by local needs. I can give you loads more details, but to get a flavour check the new Dadamac Foundation home page for videos of John talking about FF, and see the old Dadamac Network website for earlier information and a good Fantsuam Foundation video link in the information about John.

If you go to FF is won’t be “the local community participating in an external initiative” it will be “you participating in a local intitiative” which seems to me the way it should be.

There is a strong relationship between development and ICT at FF, as you’ll soon realise if you follow the links above and go a bit deeper. Check out Zittnet – Rural Connectivity at Fantsuam for more on how it started.

Other possibilities

If FF is not what you are looking for then we could explore opportunities with the “projects back home” organised by Dadamac Changemakers in the Diaspora in London. I’d love to see you bringing your skills to help our changemakers. There are so many opportunities. I’m confident we could work out something that would be a good match between what you want to learn and experience and what you offer.