Organised by Bond, held at CAFOD and with guest speakers from Tactical Technology and Indigo-funded FrontlineSMS, Incorporating ICT into Southern Advocacy was an afternoon of participatory workshops aimed at those in the international development community. The afternoon touched on issues as diverse as the power of social media, the role of mobiles and crowdsourcing technologies and the use of Bluetooth as an alternative to the internet network.
Speakers at the event spoke of how their organisations have used these new technologies to promote and drive change around the world. Whether it was mapping incidents of electoral violence in Madagascar, campaigning against mining in the US or election monitoring in Nigeria, the participants and speakers at this event had a real breadth of experience in using ICT in advocacy.
Finally, though, a word of caution. While social media and new technology are rapidly opening up communities and countries previously shut off from the outside world, traditional methods of advocacy still have a very important part to play. Recent events in Cairo, for example, were made possible not only through Facebook and Twitter, but crucially through much less modern networks of street campaigners and sweet shop customers going street-to-street and door-to-door to mobilise ordinary citizens. If organisations can find ways of linking these traditional and modern modes of comunication, then they will have a truly powerful tool on their hands.