Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Digital Media Lounge at UN Summit

The Digital Media Lounge opens today as world leaders meet this week to take stock of the progress made on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. With only five years left, developing countries and donors are likely to miss their targets. Yet the goals as a measure of aid effectiveness are increasingly criticized, as this article in the Financial Times points out.

The media lounge is part of the Social Good Summit sponsored by Mashable and the UN Foundation. The event looks at the role of technology and social networks in improving the lives of people in developing countries. The digital lounge is a great opportunity for journalists and those who care about these issues to connect with others to share ideas and resources.

Aaron Sherinian, executive director for public affairs and communications at the UN Foundation, said in an e-mail, "We have pulled together a phenomenal agenda that includes informal conversations, expert briefings, opportunities for full-access Q&A, and real talk with musicians, celebrities, and people from the ground to inspire and challenge you and your communities."

You can watch the event live at www.unfoundation.org/unweekdml. The Twitter hashtag for the digital lounge is #unweekdml.

K4Health Blog will cover the UN summit and related activities this week. The Global Health Council and InterAction have more information on the MDGs and the summit.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Opening up government

The Gov 2.0 summit, September 7-8 in Washington, highlights innovation in openness and transparency. A quick look at the videos of some of the speakers shows the variety of efforts directed at a more open, participatory government.

Challenge.gov went live at the summit. This site intends to involve the citizenry in solving some tough problems usually left to government to face alone. I saw two challenges related to development. The U.S. Department of Treasury created the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. The U.S. Agency for International Development started LAUNCH: Health.

This summer I worked with a group of people to equip government managers with the tools they need to be more open. We focused on steps individuals can take to engage the public more effectively. Join our discussion on Smarter, Better, Open Government.

For a discussion focused on transparency in international aid, join the Aid Transparency group on LinkedIn started by Claudia Schwegmann of Open Aid.

The U.K's aid agency is inviting input on how to be more transparent.

What efforts do you know of that are fostering more open and transparent government?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Stories make us human

Country report are good. In fact, they are required. But stories are better for communicating to outside audiences. That is why to show the impact of the work you do, you need to tell a story. Stories strike a chord deep within us. Stories make us human.

This week as part of its series on what makes us human, National Public Radio looked at storytelling. We have been telling stories since the spoken word. Through stories we shape our lives and give meaning to our existence.

As Melinda Gates said in her blog post yesterday, "Stories can change the world."

To get inspired to tell your story, visit ViewChange.org. This multimedia website uses stories to show why international development matters. Participate in the ViewChange online film contest. Starting today you can vote for your favorite video. Voting ends September 15, 2010.

Wim Wenders directed one of the most entertaining films, Person to person. I liked the message, but also the communications angle of the piece.