Social Technology CoP

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Build Community of Practice in Nariobi/Kenya/Globally on Social Use of Technology

And on New Media and Journalism


In Nairobi, there are many people working in the area of "social technology" - that is, implementing projects with the goal of using new technology to improve people's lives, particularly computers, internet, mobile phones, digital cameras, video, social media sites, and more. The challenge in using technology to achieve human development goals is in the program implementation - technology enthusiasts are creating new programs and devices with social application, but the true test of worth is when people put them to use and adapt them to their own needs.

We think it's important to bring together in a learning and sharing community those groups and individuals who are in the process of working with technology in Nairobi and Kenya. We can discuss each of our projects and ideas, what has worked and what has not, and form new partnerships and opportunities. The goal is to create a community of practice around using technology for development.


As a starting point, we would like to collaborate with Ushahidi and the users of this platform here in Nairobi to share progress and challenges to implementation. A casual coffee meeting would be enough to get the ball rolling. Then, for those interested, we can plan for a larger meetup to include anyone working in social technology with a focus on sharing our challenges and successes. A frank discussion that is friendly to non-techies and techies alike should inspire debate and cooperation. The best setup for such an atmosphere might be a quick presentation or two focused on challenges and the process of overcoming these, including requests for community input and suggestions (rather than the typical success-only presentation) - that is, bringing a problem for a shared solution. Then, a socializing time (should we include beer?).

New Media Journalism

There is already a large international community of journalists and media enthusiasts devoted to citizen journalism, social media, and various uses of technology for reporting. There is a great opportunity to include such individuals and groups in the social technology community here in Nairobi. There is also potential for hosting a journalism-oriented event around new media. Therefore, the media group may develop alongside the social technology group but perhaps have a separate agenda as it grows; this needs to be discussed further. I would ultimately like to look into the possibility of hosting something like a Public Media Camp which has been initiated in the US, to both invigorate the use of technology in journalism locally and to inspire thought about the role of journalism in the new age of citizen-driven reporting. Community media and public media do have a role to play though it is currently diminished here in Kenya.

Project Components

  • Connect with existing groups like Netsquared, Ushahidi
  • Hold kick off meeting February 2010
  • Aim for regular meetup

Technical Needs

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