10 March 2010

Community Disemination

The term community is difficult to comprehend when seen solely seen through the lenses of individuality. Community is the arena in which many of the significant requirements for working out issues that affect us all are being nurtured. People do not work in a vacuum; a person is often not the first one to puzzle over certain aspects or issues. We require the enrichment, endeavors, and assistance of our peers as to check our perception and to affirm their validity. Likewise, our conclusions, if deemed correct, have importance for others.

Community is the first level that provides accountability; it offers the environment in which we can formulate our thoughts. This accountability guards against maverick and individualistic views. It provides a check against selfish and self-serving conclusions by those who lack the perspective to see beyond their own circumstances.

The term international community is even more difficult to wrap oneself around, as it crosses all cultural boundaries and local interests. Ideally it incorporates our African sense of community, where an individuality is defined through the collective, and the more Western sense of community, where the collective is defined by the sum of individuals. Embedding of knowledge needs communities, as in search of meaning it will make sense or ring true to others when evidence to reach conclusions are openly assessed. Thus the need for an international community.

In Africa the term community thrives tangibly. It is what make the environment tick. It is where one exists, where one regards to be member, and where one finds security. Now with Internet our rural African community expands innovatively. It is wonderful to see Facebook, Twitter and collaboration tools like Wave being embraced in our community. Now a most precious part of African Culture – community expressions – is augmenting the international community.

08 March 2010

Preconceived Ideas

Today I spend an other day communicating in various manners about the wonderful African environment, and how we work together to engender sustainable progress. In doing so, while anticipating the receiver or the communication, I am wrapping my mind around the many components enshrined in contemporary thinking. Realities of rural Africa appear so much removed from the preunderstandings of most recipients of my communications, that the barriers to be overcome are often staggering.

Being separated for many thousands of kilometers and with few communications paths or sketchy personal experiences, the information an audience possesses about rural Africa is quite limited. This is easy to solve by supplying the facts. But the disposition that most audience bring with its prejudices and biases about rural Africa is more difficult to address. Years of negative mass-media messages, pictures of disasters, and stories of mismanagement have taken their toll. It becomes even more complex when world views, and frame of references, and personal perspectives are taken into account. And, of course, than there are the approach/methodology issues.. That is where the rubber hits the road hard.

It appears that many interested in rural Africa already have figured out 'solutions' based upon their preunderstanding, even before communications take place. One wonder what is thus being missed, what is not being noticed? It is obvious the preunderstanding plays an influential role in the process of communications, and as such to challenge what one sees is an important part of the Macha Works road map. With the distinct phase of 'looking', we challenge preconceived ideas that often come unconsciously and can mask their own falsity. In the mean time, communications seem to serve mainly to either change or strengthen existing preunderstanding. With a large rift between the contemporary preunderstanding and the actual situation in rural Africa, it is imperative, though daunting, to communicate well.

04 March 2010

Balancing Act

My current struggle with jet-lag is aggravated with efforts to balance experiences at home in rural Africa with experiences of life in more affluent USA and South Africa as I witnessed the last weeks. The environment in which the struggle for progress in rural Africa takes place seems worlds apart from the environment in which many affluent and leading people live their lives. An old dilemma, albeit changing face in our current world with abundant travels and communications.

Among other activities, in San Francisco I discussed ideas, experiences and possibly resource allocation for activities in Information and Communications Technology in rural Africa for health, education and communities. Those discussions took place in situations of comparative luxury, with soft, easy comforts, quite removed from often awful conditions of the areas under review. Although gratefully experiencing pockets of true desire for participation, I could not help the notion of general selfishness of the affluent society and wealth. Reviewing my interactions over the last weeks, it seems that true understanding of needs necessitate close and personal contact with the environment in which those needs surface. Those that did so seem to deal quite differently than the ones who did not.

When looking around, one just wonders how current global economic processes could be sustainable. I read quite a number of reports on global warming, economic growth, and like, and they are not happy read. My travels induced virtual flashbacks into my previous luxurious life, full of ease and pleasure. Its trials and annoyances hardly compare with the difficulties, challenges, barriers, and trials that come people's way in the rural African environment. Well, for now this all just does not balance.

02 March 2010

Personal Ethics

As to be explicit on my stand in issues of ethics, I confirm my commitment to the following:
  1. To be honest and ethical in all my communications.
  2. To be faithful to my relationships.

  3. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but to look out for the interests of others.

  4. To refuse to elicit, accept or pay any bribes, and to report those who do.

  5. To be a diligent leader without being harsh, and to remunerate associates what is just and fair.

  6. To be a peacemaker.

  7. To do my activities wholeheartedly.

  8. To submit myself to just and ethical governing authorities.

  9. To connect with the disenfranchised by investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community.

  10. To collaborate with my peers to impact communities and nations.