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Appropedia:Making the case for openness and collaboration

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This article is a collection of arguments and inspirational content for promoting the ideas of openness and collaboration. This content is intended to be useful explaining the benefits of Appropedia. Any content fitting the title is appropriate here.

Supporting story lines[edit]

Internet growth in developing world[edit]

The developed world has created Wikipedia for its use. Anyone can check who was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, or when Florida was granted statehood. Consider that internet usage in developing countries is exploding at a significantly faster rate than the developed world. What is the equivalent wikipedia that makes sense there?

Sustainable development is complex[edit]

Most people working in international development have some solid or even amazing expertise in some discipline. But the problems in international development are not confined to a single discipline. To make real sustainable progress usually requires making parallel advances on more than one front. Safe water supplies are tied in with many disciplines, from Architecture for rainwater capture, and solar water pasteurization.

Increase efficiency of int'l dev orgs and CBOs[edit]

The largest international development organizations may have good sized staffs, and the resources to train their staff. Smaller organizations have much less resources. But large or small, all organizations would love to do more, and stretch their resources farther. What if 10,000 organizations each have annual budgets of $50,000. That's $500M. Now, anecdotally, we hear that many organizations spend 10% to 20% of their time searching for the best approach to solving a problem. Many are not confident that they are finding the better solutions. Others may not even address issues because they cannot afford to investigate where to start. What if, as a community, can make each organization 1% more efficient. That alone would provide $5M in value each year, and does not even touch on the direct value to communities through CBOs. Appropedia can accomplish vast things for much less than 10% of that annual number.

Benefiting the poor directly[edit]

The number of organizations that can make use of open information numbers in the tens of thousands. The number of poor people that can make use of that information numbers in the billions. About half the world's population lives on less than $2.50 per day. That's over 3 billion people. Imagine that 1% of that group is in a position to make use of information, because they are able to read and have access to an internet kiosk, or a village cell phone. If it's only 1%, then 30 million people can take advantage. What will they look up on the internet?

Supporting microfinance initiatives[edit]

Microfinance has helped millions. Muhammud Yunus describes microfinance as helping poor people do what they already know how to do. He believes that many poor keep themselves alive through some creative ability and hard work (I haven't said this well), and that good microfinance builds on that ingenuity. How do we offer foundations to more of the poor? What useful information can we offer to microfinance groups that can assist their clients in producing more with less? What are the most effective ways to farm fish or shell peanuts?

The environmental impact of poverty[edit]

Some observers wonder aloud whether improving the quality of life for poor people will increase their level of consumption and consequently generate greater environmental impact. The Impact of Poverty on the Environment gives just a few examples of why that view is off the mark. Poor populations often are caught in vicious cycles of resource stripping that keep them poor while further degrading the environment. The goal of sustainable development is to improve lives sustainably. The express goal of open sustainability efforts is to share solutions that improve lives in sustainable ways.

Global sustainability is by its nature collaborative[edit]

Global sustainability is a good thing for all people. It also depends on everyone's actions. This combination of universal benefit and universal dependence translates directly to collaboration. There are no outsiders in this equation.

Market-based approaches may leave gaps[edit]

Although market incentives are powerful, the market frameworks are not always structured to guarantee that incentives are enough. Most successful microfinance institutions are not purely profit-driven, for example. Despite the BOP arguments, there are economic challenges to educating the poorest as a means to level the playing field. A very large scale "enlightened self interest" is required. This translates to public benefit approach to cover the gaps.

Supporting factoids[edit]

Internet growth[edit]

See World Internet Usage

Region Growth from 2000 to 2008
Middle East 1,176.8 %
Africa 1,031.2 %
Latin America 669.3 %
Asia 406.1 %
World Average 305.5 %
Europe 266.0 %
Oceana / Australia 165.1 %
North America 129.6 %

Number of organizations in int'l dev[edit]

Searching WiserEarth for international development organizations] results in over 18,000 hits. More than likely, despite WiserEarth's thorough efforts, there are many small and/or informal efforts that are not among those counted.

Number of Community-based orgs in development[edit]

Searching WiserEarth for CBOs with development results in 3800 orgs. Again, the real numbers are likely to be higher.