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Open knowledge for aid and international development
When aid organizations and development organizations act in a proprietary way towards their knowledge, this creates an information silo. This is solved through ensuring access to knowledge and using open licenses.
Why it matters
The challenge is that this reduces people's dependence on aid and development agencies. The dichotomy is that the sector has got to work hard to release it's knowledge in order to achieve their mission, but this also means that a lot of their revenue streams, a lot of their purpose will become redundant. The ultimate goal of a development organization is to bring people to the point that they no longer need this kind help - i.e., to put itself out a job, at least for that community or sector. How committed are you, are we, to the welfare of those we claim to serve?
Active projects in knowledge sharing for development
- Moulin - Focused on Wikipedia content. (French based, Africa focused plus Persian language. Renaud Gaudin spent several months volunteering with Geekcorps Mali. They're working with the US Peace Corps, in discussion with UNESCO? Apparently approached OLPC in the past, so they're interested in cooperating.)
- OLPC, through the XO laptop. (MOU with Appropedia being worked on now - Nov 2008)
- The Jhai PC and Communication System, a project of the Jhai Foundation, is a computer and communications system designed to meet the needs of villagers in remote and rural areas. (Some thought has been given to providing content on the machines; openness is an expressed value of Jhai.)