Exciting new challenges and opportunities are emerging fast for organizations within the development cooperation sector. A paradigm shift is taking place in which web 2.0 concepts and technologies prove to play a vibrant and fruitful role in providing capacities for people in developing countries with which they can realize what’s meaningful for themselves. New structures for development cooperation are thus being formed through the utilization of these new technologies; structures which are centered around the concepts of social networking, massive collaboration, crowd sourcing, collective intelligence, transparency, and equally important, individual responsibility. Welcome the emergence of Development Cooperation 2.0.
Much critique is given to traditional forms of development cooperation. Vast amounts of money and investments have been pumped into developing countries in the past decades, yet these traditional development models proved to not always be executed as efficient and effectively as planned. Critics argue that the money destined for developing countries (Marieke de Wal, 2009):
• obstructs economic development
• comes in hands of the rich people in poor countries
• induces corruption and supports “wrong” regimes
• doesn’t end up where it’s supposed to and stays within the costs of the organizations themselves
Others emphasize the ineffective methods for the monitoring and evaluation of projects, the tunnel vision of policy makers and the negligence of the demand side of assistance, making it too much supply orientated. But now we see more and more that donators want to contribute to and get involved with the development process directly, they want too see the direct impact of their donations and investments, and they want to be able contribute to international development by sharing their time, knowledge and money effectively. In short, the need for new development strategies is more than clear; development Cooperation 2.0 opens the door for these needs.
Anna Chojnacka and Bart LaCroix noticed the new opportunities for development cooperation through the use of web 2.0 technologies, and launched the 1%CLUB; a digital social platform in the form of a marketplace where people are encouraged to donate 1% of their income, time and/or expertise to small scale development projects set-up by individuals in developing countries. The 1%CLUB centers around the philosophy that together we can put an end to global poverty. As Bart argues, “smallscale projects and people in developing countries most of the time have the solution to improve their livelyhoods themselves, they have very good ideas but only lack the knowledge and resources to carry them out. So if you give them access to this knowledge and resources they can put their ideas into practice and improve their lives on their own.” This approach is fundamentally different than the traditional development approach to which so much critique is given. Therefore the 1%CLUB is continually working on developing, integrating and improving the system which facilitates the means for the realisation of this concept.
Through the use of weblogs, project owners report the advances of their projects and write about how they actually made use of the donated money. This results in transparency; donators can see the direct impact of their donations and can monitor for themselves if they can trust a specific project or not, which makes timely intervention possible when something is going wrong. In this case, the actively participating crowd and their collective wisdom takes over the role that experts and delegates fullfilled before; now crowdsourcing is used for the monitoring and evaluation of the projects, which (learning from wikipedia) will bring the best and most reliable content to the surface and will make the least reliable content equally visible. A direct communication channel is established through the use of this system, resulting in the sense of “self ownership” for project developers. No middle-man NGO standing between the source and recepient of donations or influencing the development plans from above. Yet, the course of the project is under total resonsibility of the individual(s) who initiated it, making trust and individual responsibility an important factor within this bottom-up framework for development cooperation.
Next to providing the web service, the 1%CLUB is also focussed on giving training to project initiators in developing countries. They focus on educating people in Internet Literacy so competences can be built to make significant use of the web site and digital resources. Training in Project Management is given which aims to enhance the project owners abilities to manage sustainable and effective development projects. And finally, training in Personal Leadership supports project owners in their role as leaders and prepares them to put their own skills effectively into practice.
On the 5th of june 2009, the “1%EVENT” is organized by the 1%CLUB for everyone interested in taking development cooperation to the next level. The conference is all about Development Cooperation 2.0; it will serve as a platform for leading practitioners on the subject and there will be multiple workshops with a 2.0 character.
“Discover and experience what you can do with International Cooperation 2.0. The leading practitioners in the field will be present so bring your laptop or your iPhone and sign in your Twitter followers. On June 5, invest 1% of your time, knowledge, experience, talent, network and energy to work with us on development cooperation in an innovative way.”
Witness the following speakers, and join the international movement into the 2.0 era of the fight against poverty:
Premal Shah – Kiva.org
Juliana Rotich – Ushahidi.com
Ruud Lubbers – WorldConnectors.nl
Pim Betist – Sellaband.com
Kirsten Verdel – The Obama Campaign
Marina Tognetti – Myngle.com
Martijn Aslander – Lifehacking.nl