Insights from the DoP Summer Institute 2010

From the Core Questions

Below are a list of key ideas that came out of the core question conversations.
- Cultural context impacts how we define empowerment (survival / health / safety / democratic participation)
- Technology should create contexts where kids feel a sense of control over their lives
- Technology should also provide space to youth for free movement / action / ownership (physical + emotional)
- It is important to remember that decision-makers feel more confident when there are 1,000 voices behind the research and technology can enable that
- Kids need to be critical of the technology they are using
- When it comes to technology, young people can and should be educators of adults
- Academic needs to change attitudes toward technology
- New technological tools for youth need to be simple, easy, cheap accessible, and malleable (language, use, words, visuals)

Key Qualities of Successful Projects that Involve Youth and Technology
- Effectiveness of the technology
- Child-friendly technology
- Promotes other initiatives
- Local context (physical & social taken into account)
- People are trained to ensure sustainability
- Bottom-Up: Participation from everyone as much as possible
- Top-Down: Ex. Govt subsidizes the cost of Internet
- Technology based on realities
- Learn facts
- Concrete as possible; follows core values of community
- Combination of breadth / depth
- Youth determine the format themselves
- Ethical

Where Do We Start in the Game of Innovation for Development? (In the Game for Innovation for Development)
Set Expectations Organically
Imposing Values
Community Organizations
Participatory Development Methods
Create Ownership
Technology Assessment
Knowing the Audience
Creating Incentives
Capacity for Solidarity
Flexibility in Direction
Sustainable Innovation
Budget Based Project Completed
Empowerment Finished

From the Project Discussion

Each participant of the Summer Institute had the opportunity to share his or her own work. In discussing everyone's work, it seemed that there was a lot of interest from large organizations int he use of technology for youth empowerment, however many groups are still trying their first steps in the field from mapping to blogging to media production. The next big wave seems to be the use of mapping technologies, but there is still a lot more that can be done in terms of improving those tools to make them more accessible and inclusive.
Summer Institute participant reflected about their role int he field of youth empowerment and overall effects of their own work. Perhaps, in order for an individual to begin to understand this, the group needed to understand why youth choose to use technology versus why NGOs and governments choose to use the same tools.

Agencies & NGOs Use Technology with Youth to:

- Inform and raise awareness
- Mobilize youth to take action
- Collect data from youth regarding health / well being, etc.
- Make government / local government decisions more accessible and comprehensible
- Make public data accessible

Young people want technology for:
- Information / knowledge for personal development
- Skill development
- Personal archives / identity
- Social networking with peers
- Family archives
- School projects / research by youth
- Community archives

From the Feedback Forms

  1. What were the highlights of the past two days for you?
    - The morning of the second day was very effective
    - The conversations were engaging and the richness of experience shared by all those who were involved was truly amazing
    - Discussions with others working in the field were fruitful and it was great having tech people in the same room as youth participation people
    - Hearing about everyone else’s projects and how they are trying to influence kids and the world
    - Learning about new resources with the group - Listening to people’s stories
  2. If we had this type of event in the future, who else would you like to have at the table?
    - All participants need to be present for the entire workshop, not just parts of it
    - Maybe a session with some children would be interesting- Youth using technology for civic engagement
    - It could be interesting to crowd-source to a group of people through suggestions from those present at this time
    - Teachers should be at the table
    - Organizations such as Save the Children; More students- Private sector
    - Political leaders

  3. Are there burning questions you would like to continue to explore?
    - How do we foster face-to-face interactions with social networking technologies?
    - Where do we start from and what is the process?
    - How do we make the impact of youth participation more concrete?
    - What are the ethics of using technology in participatory approaches?
    - How do you reach and give a voice to people who are marginalized and don’t have access?

    - Is what we are doing really making a difference?

  4. What important connections did you make through the Summer Institute for your current/future work? What are the next steps for facilitating these partnerships?
    - Create a joint project that we can all do together
    - Keep "talking" with the group through the wiki
    - Future workshops
    - Form a mailing list