Over the last two years, the engine room has been testing an approach to supporting advocacy groups who use technology in their work. It has two main parts: 1. getting to know partners really well so we can help them throughout the course of a project and 2. matchmaking partners with experts that can help them at key points along the way. We’re excited to announce that last month, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation approved funding that will allow us to spend 18 months in Southern Africa and Latin America to test this support methodology with local organizations working to promote transparency and accountability. This means we are hiring a team of three! We are looking for a project deputy and two regional project leads (one in Southern Africa, and one in Latin America). The regional leads will help to design, launch, test, and document the pilot initiative. If you know of some resourceful and experienced advocates, technologists, and/or support providers who want to spend time using technology to help great partners do great work, then pass this opportunity on to them. For more about how to apply for open positions, go here.
One of the engine room’s areas of work is helping organisations tackle complex ideas. CIVICUS, a global network of civil society organisations, asked us to think together around an innovative long-term plan for people-powered accountability processes in the post-2015 global context, and we were excited to participate.
The priority for CIVICUS is shifting top-down information processes, and we’re conducting thematic workshops to find a common language for information collection and management across cultures, countries and NGO silos. On April 1st, 2014, we helped CIVICUS to convene a Gender Defenders Workshop in Istanbul. The workshop’s goal was to engage horizontal capacity building and sharing of information, recognize support areas and empower diverse groups to spark collaborative processes for a deeper conversation about shared efforts in data harmonization. The workshop gathered 17 participants with a broad range of expertise, from anti-harassment data-collection activists, technology specialists, gender safety and security experts, to storytellers and photo/video evidence campaigners.Continue reading
On March 6th we kicked off the first event for the Responsible Data Forum together with Aspiration. About fifty thinkers and doers gathered in Oakland, California, bringing perspectives from national advocacy outfits, international support organizations, tech firms and research organizations. There was some live blogging and a couple of write ups describing how it unfolded, the issues we identified and the responses we started working towards. This post gives a quick summary of how we see it all moving ahead.
Ideas and Collaborations
Responsible data challenges are getting a lot of attention these days, and there are plenty of efforts to make sense of them, in terms of privacy, ethics, security. But they rarely manage to think across these domains. Oakland was unique for the depth and breadth of expertise we had in the room, spanning human rights, systems admin, privacy and the nuts and bolts of national campaigning. We started the day mapping the questions that people wanted answered across all these different domains: there were a lot of questions.Continue reading