Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sustained collaboration around Congo

Yesterday, as a witness to the success of sustained online collaboration of digital activists in relation to the conflict in the Congo, Kambale Musavuli was invited to "Riz Khan" on Al Jazeera. Way before John Prendergast and Ushahidi discovered the conflict, friends of the Congo has been building it's loose and invisible but strong network, both in the US and abroad.

Gaurav Mishra has recently written a critical evaluation of the Vote Report India project, in which he focused on it's limitations and even calling it a failure. Ushahidi has been widely praised as an immense success while the results of it's adventure in the Congo remain unknown and uncertain. Meanwhile friends of the Congo were in the online trenches fighting against large media companies like CNN, the New York Times and so many others that refused to write about Rwanda's and Uganda's involvement. A fight also against scolars that were writing on how secession of the Kivu province would be a solution to the war in Congo.

Smallwarsjournal, a website that focuses on counterinsurgency, published a report on how sustained online collaboration among American soldiers across different websites and blogs, especially on the internetfora of, companycommand and smallwarsjournal had an incredibly positive influence on the outcome of the surge in Iraq. I am convinced sustained online collaborative learning about the military aspects of counterinsurgency in Congo and how it relates to the political causes of the war in Congo can be part of a solution and can help restore peace in the great lakes region. So far I only found one online discussion forum that focused on this aspect of the war in Congo. I challenge you to give me one other example of a similar discussion forum on counterinsurgency in the Congo.

Gaurav Mishra writes about the four layers of the digital activism and asks us how we can leverage the "community" and "collective Intelligence" layers? I think that friends of the Congo has done an amazing job in connecting and engaging American students, African diaspora, bloggers the world across, on and offline, around the "social object" Congo. It's intriguing to see if and how this collaboration can grow into an even more vibrant community both for the benefit of the Congo and of our grasp of digital activism in general. Let's take up the enormous challenge and continue our online learning experience together! Meanwhile stay focused on what you do best and send me the links!

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