Dear GKD List Members, I would like to take this opportunity to gather resources and information on how to help the first maternity hospital in Somaliland. This hospital is a nonprofit hospital and would serve the children of Somaliland who have no other maternity facilities available whatsoever in the country… . The hospital has no IT facilities whatsoever apart from using old recycled computers not networked though. Due to the cost of the internet usage it is not possible for the staff to use it on a daily basis. Also the staff and trainee students have minimum or no IT skills… . Any ideas and assistance is greatly appreciated. The hospital is run mostly by women who desperately need training in IT as well as resources for education. Gender education is important if this hospital is to succeed in its mission.
Thanks for your assistance.
Mrs. Lulu Todd Somaliland Forum ICT Task Group
This recent appeal from Somaliland reached thousands of technology experts worldwide, thanks to the Global Knowledge for Development (GKD) List. Hosted and moderated by EDC’s International Development Division (IDD), the GKD List is a unique virtual learning community that brings together technology specialists from every region of the world to discuss innovative uses of information and communication technology (ICT) in support of sustainable development. “The technology is simple,” explains EDC’s Janice Brodman, “but it has proven incredibly effective in linking thousands of people from more than 120 countries, all sharing knowledge, resources, and ideas for ways to use ICT to help the poor.”
The request for technical assistance from Somaliland was one of more than 80 messages posted to the list just last month. In the five years that the list has been active, it has received more than 5,000 messages. “What makes GKD so dynamic is that its members are actually working on the ground in developing countries all over the world,” says Brodman. “They share their experiences, debate ICT policy, find resources, and discuss what works and what doesn’t.” In the process, the list has generated an enormous amount of global knowledge, most of which has not been captured in any other form. For instance, a member in Peru setting up a computer center in a village without electricity asked how to run a computer off a car battery-and got answers from several other members who had done it. Small-businessmen from Kenya, India, and Nepal had a lively discussion about e-commerce policy with experts in Canada. And a women’s group in Uganda using ICT to stop domestic violence shared lessons learned with a women’s group in Ireland interested in the same strategy.
All of the messages that reach subscribers are relevant and substantive, thanks to EDC moderators who screen each message before posting it. The moderators are constantly reaching out to colleagues in the field, eliciting exceptionally broad participation. And they often help subscribers craft messages that effectively convey their knowledge or their needs.
This month marks the 5th year that GKD has been operating, making it the longest-lived international discussion list of its kind. With support from infoDev, Brodman is marking the anniversary with the unveiling of a new database that catalogues thousands of messages currently in the GKD archive, producing an unprecedented Web-based resource for those working globally on sustainable development issues. The database will allow people to search for cases, resources, technical information, and lessons learned from those working with ICT worldwide. “GKD has captured all kinds of invaluable information that is very difficult to get and share effectively,” says Brodman. “We want to ensure that this knowledge becomes available and accessible to as many people as possible.”
Originally published on May 1, 2002