Ugandan and American girls party via twitter

The year has barely got under way and in my world this promises to be the biggest Social Media story of the year. I was back in Uganda last month for the Villages in Action conference. This is where the rest of the world gets to listen to people who are never invited to conversations about them nor listened to.
In its second year now the organisers decided to shake thinks up by have having a children’s party the night before the main conference.

In Washington DC the @Grilup a UN Foundation initiative uniting girls to change the world was responsible for the American girls whilst we were responsible for the girls on the ground in Kikube Masindi NW Uganda girls aged between 12-15.

The Village of Kikube is rural with no electricity or phone lines and as such the girls here are far removed from the world of their peers in DC and were really excited about finding out about their lives. Before the tweet up the girls got together for a brainstorm session. They wrote down all the questions they would put to the American girls and it was fascinating to listen in from the sidelines. You could tell that there was a genuine interest in the lives of girls their age on different continent. The questions ranged from
• The weather
• Fashion
• School
• Authority
• Relationships with parents
• Food
• Culture
I was a little late for the party as technology failed me, the Orange dongle would not work but luckily for me most of the adults at the party were geeks! So one of theme advised me to take the sim card out and insert it in my iPhone instead. At this stage it transpired that I did not the pin to remove the sim in the iPhone and my earrings had to come to my rescue!

Having done all that and logged in the party got underway. We each had a girl or two and we helped them through the process by tweeting their questions and answers and at some point Ivanka Trump joined the conversation.

There was so much energy under that tree as night set in that I can’t tell you what that felt like.

The girls were surprised to learn that at some level they grapple with the same challenges that come with being a teenager regardless of what part of the world you live in.

I would love to see more of this type of exchange that allows children to hear first hand the stories of their peers from all corners of the world. If you would like to see the photos of the girls that were at the party head over to the Villages in Action Facebook page

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Villages in Action – I would like to hear more of these conversations

Happy New Year folk. 

How are you getting on with your New year’s resolutions so far?

I know this is an odd question but what exactly are New year’s resolutions? Are the goals or aspirations?

I recently stumbled across an an article by Linda Raftree with her wishes for the year 2012 specifically on issues of Inclusion, openness and authenticity.

Linda reflects on the events that have shaped the world in 2011 and her  wish for 2012 is for the voices of the excluded to be included in development conversations amongst other things.  I share Linda’s wish for  more  Inclusion and authentic stories especially on Africa in 2012.

I attend several events on the development  of Africa throughout the year, where I hear from development experts, academics, NGOs and big corporations and I always feel something is missing from these conversations- the voices of the recipients of  development programmes. As I recently learned if we don’t listen- WE GET IT WRONG and send out the wrong message about those that are on the receiving end of development programmes

An ordinary man on the streets of any given western capital tends to learn about Africa from a television set. This median does not always pull together those authentic stories about life in Africa and anyone with no knowledge of Africa would be forgiven for thinking that Africa is a lost cause on which resources should not be wasted.

In his BBC Radio 4 interview Mo Ibrahim has (quite rightly) recently complained about the popular media failing to present a comprehensive image of Africa.

But the  question  is who has the right to tell the authentic story of Africa ?

How do we add their voice to the development conversation and why is it important that we hear these voices?

If we learned anything in 2011 I would like to think that it was the citizens who own the right to tell their story and that social media has made that possible consequently  the world has changed in ways we could never have imagined. Social media platforms enabled ordinary citizens to take action and oust the big men of politics and the rest of us to rally around those citizens.  We heard the voices of those citizens!



Villages in Action- Is a  little unknown conference that came about in response to the UN summit of 2010. The Villages in Action platform gives us  a rare opportunity to hear from residents of a Ugandan village- we learn how they live, what they do to generate income, the impact of their lifestyle on their environment and why development initiatives do not work.

Why don’t we have more of these platforms across the world? Better still why aren’t conversations on development based on this model?

In 2012 the first development event I will attend will be in Masindi NW Uganda on 14 January 2012. This will be the second Villages in Action conference and I am really looking forward to it. If you  can’t join us you will not miss out, the organisers will bring the event live to you in your living room.

What ever the new year holds in stock- like Linda my wish for 2012 is to hear more from those at the receiving end of development!

Happy New year and please do share your New Year’s wishes

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Villages in Action – I would like to hear more of these conversations

 

Happy New Year folk.

How are you getting on with your New year’s resolutions so far?

I know this is an odd question but what exactly are New year’s resolutions? Are the goals or aspirations?

I recently stumbled across an an article by Linda Raftree with her wishes for the year 2012 specifically on issues of Inclusion, openness and authenticity.

Linda reflects on the events that have shaped the world in 2011 and her  wish for 2012 is for the voices of the excluded to be included in development conversations amongst other things.  I share Linda’s wish for  more  Inclusion and authentic stories especially on Africa in 2012.

I attend several events on development in Africa throughout the year, where I hear from development experts, academics, NGOs and big corporations and I always feel something is missing from these conversations- the voices of the recipients of development programmes. As I recently learned if we don’t listen- WE GET IT WRONG and send out the wrong message about those that are on the receiving end of development programmes

An ordinary man on the streets of any given western capital tends to learn about Africa from a television set. This median does not always pull together those authentic stories about life in Africa and anyone with no knowledge of Africa would be forgiven for thinking that Africa is a lost cause on which resources should not be wasted.

In his BBC Radio 4 interview Mo Ibrahim has (quite rightly) recently complained about the popular media failing to present a comprehensive image of Africa.

But the  question  is who has the right to tell the authentic story of Africa ?

How do we add their voice to the development conversation and why is it important that we hear these voices?

If we learned anything in 2011 I would like to think that it was the citizens own the right to tell their story and that social media has made that possible and as a result the world has changed in ways we could never have imagined.

Villages in Action

Is a  little unknown conference that came about in response to the UN summit of 2010. The Villages in Action platform gives us  we get a rare opportunity to hear from residents of a Ugandan village- we learn how they live, what they generate income, the impact of their lifestyle on their environment and why development initiatives do not work.

In 2012 the first development event I will attend will be in Masindi NW Uganda on 14 January 2012. This will be the second Villages in Action conference and I am really looking forward to it. If you  can’t join us you will not miss out, the organisers will bring the event live to you in your living room.

What ever the new year holds in stock- like Linda my wish for 2012 is to hear more from those at the receiving end of development!

Happy New year and please do share your New Year’s wishes

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