"Grass-root activism is recognised as a positive force for change all over the world. Despite obvious potential, in many countries all over the world activists struggle to make an impact as their individual projects and aspirations fail to connect and coordinate into higher-level social dynamics. Associations, forums and networks for the organised civil society have blossomed over the past 30 years or so, but that does not seem to have changed the terms of the problem.
We report on an attempt to mount a new kind of response to this issue in the course of a project called Spot The Future. Deployed in Armenia, Egypt and Georgia under the aegis of UNDP-CIS, Spot The Future adopts a stance based on inclusiveness, horizontal networking, orientation towards real-action solutions instead of pure networking. All the participants of the on-line and off-line discussions are perceived as experts, and the project team was taking a role of facilitators, encouraging involvement in on-line and off-line discussions, offering assistance, but leaving the decision-making role for the participants.
The engine of collaboration in Spot The Future is peer-to-peer, many-to-many online conversation. Ethnography and social network analysis are run on the conversation to add another level of understanding of the ground environment of the social actors, which is itself shared back with the participants. Such analysis, supplemented by the analysis of data obtained through off-line focus-group discussion revealed that social activists in these three countries are not satisfied with prevailing top-bottom approach to social challenges, are disappointed by the quality of vertical cooperation with governmental institutions, international organizations and other main top-bottom approach players, are challenged by the traditional market economy. They showed preferences to horizontal cooperation, innovative approaches, localized initiatives, collective action and informal economy. These results allowed us to formulate future policy recommendations for the UNDP and other institutional development players in Armenia, Georgia and Egypt; perhaps more importantly, they prompted new awareness of what activists can do themselves to develop collaborations with each other." - this is the draft accepted to conference in Brussels.
So now I have a couple of questions:
Should I prepare a skeleton version of the paper for Google docs and other co-authors fill it in with their expertise? OR Should we divide paper into thematic blocks and each person would do her/his separately and later we combine it all together?
Logistics - aka paper presentation in Brussels. The conference will take place 27-28 November. I thought earlier that I could afford to go there and be one of the presenters, but my current monetary situation does not allow to do it. My question is, could someone of you do the presentation in this conference?