We’re delighted to welcome two new additions to our growing Nigeria team, Angela Ogbu and Nonso Jideofor. Angela joins Reboot from an impressive background in research and social policy with the World Bank and British Council, among others. Nonso brings a history of entrepreneurship and a similarly impressive background in project management for clients like the World Bank and the Niger Delta Development Commission. Both Angela and Nonso will be exploring community power dynamics, institutional relationships, and community governance.
Since joining Reboot, there’s one word in particular I’ve been using more and more: empathy.
Empathy allows us to understand and share in someone else’s experiences. The concept plays a prominent role in design methods—where understanding the user experience is critical—but this kind of thinking is less apparent in the international aid and development space.
This might sound surprising. A deep empathy with victims of poverty or disaster should be central to the approach of donor organizations, NGOs, and social enterprises.
The caricature of aid workers and development consultants who parachute in, spend all their time meeting officials in the capital, and fail to relate to the people on whose behalf decisions are made, however, does have its truths. The typical fundraiser’s or journalist’s portrayal of aid recipients is also often dehumanizing. They’ve earned the moniker “poverty porn” and … Read More »
Reboot Releases Report on Elections Administration
In the run up to Kate Krontiris’s talk at PDF 2013, we’re excited to release our new brief “Reimagining Elections Administration”. The brief details the findings of our six city tour of elections offices across the US with TurboVote exploring how to modernize the mechanics of American democracy. Learn more about the project here.
Sharif loves using his mukhabera. “I use it daily, mostly at night time, because signals are clear at that time,” he says. “I am in touch with most of my friends this way.”
Mukhabera means walkie-talkie in Pashto. For Sharif, this tool is what a mobile phone might be to other young men around the world: a cheap, reliable way to keep in touch with friends and family, so long as they are within an 18-mile range. Every week, he spends about 100 rupees, just over one U.S. dollar, on batteries. In the evenings, his group of friends all tune in to “hang out” on the same frequency.
Sharif likes to stay connected, and not only for fun. His life depends on it. Sharif, 28 years old and unemployed, lives in Datta Khel, a town located on the … Read More »
An Ethnographic Approach to Impact Evaluation: Stop Measuring Outputs, Start Understanding Experiences
Is open government working?
I asked the question in a previous post. Folks much better informed—Jerry Brito, Tiago Peixoto, and Nathaniel Heller, to name a few—have been asking the question for some time. The answers are not forthcoming.
Too often, assessing the impact of open government initiatives amounts to measuring outputs: how many developers flocked to a civic tech hackathon; the amount of procurement records feeding corruption hawks and socially-minded graphic designers; or the number of tweets or media mentions about a particular initiative, regardless of whether they are from the same industry blogs and actors covering open government.
Quantitative metrics have their place. They may be useful for gauging the popularity of an initiative. They are almost always used to justify funding for an initiative. But, ultimately, these studies say very little about open government’s actual impact … Read More »