ANNUAL REPORT 2012
IDS KNOWLEDGE SERVICES TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS
Over the last year, IDS Knowledge Services have helped shape debates around gender and food security, ICTs and human wellbeing, and the role of knowledge brokers in sharing, synthesising and communicating development research. We collaborated with new and long-standing partners in Africa, Latin America and South Asia to deliver a range of knowledge products, including policy briefs, online topic guides and specialist websites.
Additionally, we have facilitated online communities of practice and expert e-discussions to share tips on best practice. We convened face-to-face workshops for knowledge brokers and contributed to major events on the policy calendar such as the Durban Climate Change Conference and the Commission on the Status of Women. We focused on key development themes such as climate change, conflict, gender, governance and health and harnessed ICT innovation to launch an open Application Programming Interface (API) and the new Eldis Communities learning networks site.
These activities have together helped us to pursue our mission to facilitate and inform debate, advocacy, research and policy to stimulate action for positive change. We work in partnership to increase access to development information from diverse perspectives, and we hope to influence those in positions of power to make better-informed decisions, and support those with less power to amplify their voices.
Working with developers to open access to our content
Building new relationships
Knowledge Services has continued to open up access to knowledge over the past year, including developing an open Application Programming Interface (API). The open API enables access to over 32,000 development research summaries and documents from Eldis, the global development research platform, and from BRIDGE, the gender research and information service. Licensed through Creative Commons, these data are now open for anyone to contextualise, repurpose, combine or integrate with other datasets to create or improve their development information-focused websites.
The API was launched in August 2011, with support from partners in East Africa, Europe and South Asia. Since then, we have produced plug-ins for widely used open-source content management systems, and we have offered small technical grants for developers and organisations to create their own applications using our data. Successful projects include an HTML embeddable widget, suitable for most websites (iLabAfrica – Strathmore University, Kenya), and an agricultural data, research and news Android tablet application (Mona School of Business, Jamaica). This innovative work with Southern partners around open data both increases reach and improves relevance of development research which we hope will lead to a greater impact.
Co-creation for greater impact
Linking different perspectives
In 2011, we established the Sendas AL service, building on our work to co-produce knowledge products and services that increase the availability of contextualised and locally relevant knowledge. SendasAL is a Spanish language web resource focusing on gender and inequality in Latin America. It is a collaborative project between BRIDGE and the gender and development section of CIEDUR, an NGO based in Uruguay.
SendasAL hosts materials from BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programmes, which have been translated into Spanish. It also incorporates locally relevant case studies and resources identified by CIEDUR and produced by Latin American organisations, governments and institutions. The project both facilitates access to global knowledge for a Spanish-speaking audience and opens up access to Latin American locally produced knowledge.
Hosting emerging development debates
Being present where it counts
IDS Knowledge Services has continued to help inform better decision-making by policymakers and practitioners, running The Bellagio Initiative Online Forum – Human Wellbeing and ICTs. The Bellagio Initiative Forum helped shape discussions at the 2011 Bellagio Summit, bringing together 21 participants from a variety of organisations and locations including knowledge brokers, philanthropic organisations, bloggers, ICT professionals and academics. The two-day online forum provided a frame work for debating the role of ICTs in the context of wellbeing and development. Despite their diverse backgrounds, participants developed a shared understanding around one key lesson: "Let's start with the people, then the problem. And then the tech". The Bellagio Initiative drew on Knowledge Service's expertise in supporting and facilitating communities of practice, e-discussions and networks.
Esther Lung'ahi, Project Officer, ALIN
Working on Joto Afrika has helped to give the IDS Knowledge Services Team experience of linking research with grassroots communities and has helped ALIN gain skills on repackaging scientific research. Print subscribers rated Joto Afrika high in terms of trust worthiness and quality, which reflects the editorial team which is spread between the two organisations andthe rigour of the production process. This range of input may have helped to make it a digestible product for different audiences. There has been a lot of complementarities between ALIN and IDS in relation to the Joto Afrika product, particularly in terms of their networks and reputations, ALIN in community contexts and IDS in research.