I don’t see myself as a tech-geek. In the ‘technology adoption lifecycle’ curve, I would probably be within the 68% majority, sometimes in the ‘early majority’, sometimes in the ‘late majority’. But, I would rarely be in the 16% of innovators or ‘early adopters’. Not because I don’t like technology or that I resist change and evolution. I just need assurance that the new technology doesn’t arise to cause more harm than good. And assurance comes with time and the knowledge gained from the experience of the 16% in the front-end.
Being in the majority does not make me less appreciative of technology. On the contrary; I really enjoy seeing how technology changes (and shapes) people’s habits and behaviours. I believe that technology holds an immense potential to be an unprecedented driving force of institutional change.
Say for example the digitalisation of courts and how it has improved values of openness and transparency. In Brazil, for example, the average citizen can watch the depositions being taken in criminal lawsuits under the Lava Jato operation.
This is part of the ‘tech for good’ movement that intends to use technology to tackle social and economic challenges. Or, in sum, ‘to do some good‘. I remember an LSE Professor, Silvia Masiero, now at the Loughborough University, telling us successful experiences of using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to manage humanitarian emergencies. Or other cases of how mobile phones were used to reach financial inclusion.
Recently I started looking into crowdfunding experiences and how it changes old development concepts. This is how GlobalGiving came to my attention. Working as a global crowdfunding platform, GlobalGiving makes possible for grassroots organisations to be seen and, as a result, to gain an additional source of finance.
I really like the idea of using crowdfunding for development purposes. The reason for that, I believe, is because it challenges the idea of aid. Yes, with crowdfunding initiatives ‘aid’ is no longer only achieved by means of big multilateral organisations which nobody (or almost nobody) can access or participate.
Please don’t get me wrong: the World Bank and other multilaterals are still important international players in terms of aid, development and policy research. But what I consider a game-changer in GlobalGiving model is that it puts the individuals in the ‘driving seat of development’.
I will explain: looking into the GlobalGiving website, I could see the real stories and needs behind the projects available for funding. And seeing the power and the positive impact that crowdfunding can have for such projects, I felt empowered. I realised how you and I can make a real difference for local development projects and for individual trajectories. It is technology changing the traditional concept of aid.
This blog was created to follow my participation in GlobalGiving’s Evaluation Program, which started in March and will finish in October with an in situ placement with GlobalGiving’s partners in Cambodia.
I couldn’t be more excited with the whole experience. As a ‘majority’ in the technology cycle, I am assured that crowdfunding has real benefits. It is technology linking people and causes for development.
Well, the light is green. Let’s move!