Tag Archives: question

“Focus Clare!”

8 Jul

I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.

One of my biggest concerns as I pack and prepare to leave for Kenya is that I might drift from my main focus on the impact that mobile technology is having on farmers and the charities which exist to help and support them. However, the excitement and discussion which surrounds mobile phones in the developing world is constantly making me think outside the parameters of this question.

So partly in an attempt to bulk out and give background, and partly because I want this multimedia documentary to capture as much of this explosive new industry as possible, I’m giving myself a few other pointers…

 

What technologies are being used?

What are the consequences of using these technologies on charities?

What are the consequences of using these technologies on farmers’ livelihoods and agriculture?

How are these technologies beginning to support agricultural businesses?

What are the global consequences of using these technologies?

Why are countries developing at different rates?

What does the future hold?

 

With all this in mind, I hope I’ll be able to conduct relevant and interesting interviews for my radio documentary.

Back to the to do list then…

Getting to the point

6 Jul

In three days I will be on a plane bound for Nairobi so it’s about time I get to the nitty gritty of my project. I’m going to use the next few days to think about the main questions that I hope my documentary will go some way to finding answers for. Beyond that, my blog will become a bit of a progress diary, a travel log. So check back to see how I’m getting on.

Mobile technologies are changing lives, especially in the developing world. Since beginning my project, many people I have quizzed have emphasised that technologies must not simply be seen as a tool for administering aid. I hope that this argument will raise it’s head during my documentary. But my focus will be to ask…

How are mobile technologies affecting the relationship between NGOs and farmers? 

In a way, the argument which says that mobile technologies should be used for change outside of the confines of the aid industry goes some way to answering this question. Are people so empowered by the technologies that they are using that they don’t need the support we’ve come to see as ‘conventional’ from Non-governmental organisations.

On Monday, Oxfam launched it’s largest ever emergency appeal in Africa. We are, they say, amid the worst food crisis in the 21st century, as the Horn of Africa suffers from widespread drought. The Guardian have produced another great interactive map which shows some if the facts and figures. (I will stop banging on bout their maps I promise) Notice it states that 10 million are in need of ‘humanitarian assistance’.

So what does humanitarian assistance mean in an age when the internet and mobile phones make it increasingly easy to start up businesses? Have we moved into an age where aid has altered from being about Geldof and his gigs? Or are these ten million people still needing instantaneous solutions?

The reality is that I won’t be visiting the people who are really desperately in need of food aid. But I do hope to talk to farmers about how they see development projects that they are part of, and how technology is making them think differently. I’ll also be talking to people who have seen NGOs and the work that they do evolve as attitudes, politics and technologies have all had their part to play in changing international aid and development.

If the Horn of Africa really is amid a food crisis, I’m hoping that my documentary might shed some light on the future.