CCiC09: Empowered Communities: The Art & Science of Building Networks

Rangineh Azimzadeh

World Pulse board member

  • Founded PulseWire (“The Facebook for social change”)
  • Created for the purpose of connecting communities globally
  • Women can sign up, create a profile, and write about ideas and opportunities
  • Women help each other to share resources and solutions, talking about issues that face their communities

Nina Rosete

Executive director of the Dare to Dream Fund

  • Started iConnect, a virtual community built on the idea that there are billions of people in the world, therefore no one should feel sad or lonely
  • A community for high school students built using Ning as a platform
  • One of the profile questions: If anything were possible, what would you want to be?
  • Participants/members are referred to as “dreamers”

Colin Gallagher

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and civic engagement professional

  • Discovered that people in El Salvador had a lot of different ideas about what was expected of the Peace Corps volunteers
  • “How can we reform a local government?”
  • Started the LinkedIn group: Civic Engagement and Dialogue Practitioners. Several MIIS students are members.
  • Aims to start dialogues that transcend the boundaries of organizations.

Joe Johnston

Founder of Social Hive and Technology Advisor to the Pachamama Alliance

Video: Four Years Go

How can you continue to tap into the and expand the communities you’ve started?

  • The use of technology is a method in which to deliver services efficiently
  • The physical technologies and the platforms can only be used for good if we realize it’s the relationships that matter
  • Many communities allow themselves to become subject to a principle
  • We forget what community used to be because of Facebook, etc.
  • The catalyst or community is context
  • If we want to grow our communities, we need to go hang out with new, developing communities

What about organizations that aren’t interested in connecting using the Internet? How do you strategize around that?

Digital divide vs. digital inclusion

The importance of virtual communities in policy-making

  • All policy change has to start with dialogue – local and national
  • Policy change comes from consensus-building at the organizational level
  • Consensus comes from direct communication actions (The Ask)
  • Twitter and collecting voices is important with regard to policy. Check out

How do you measure the effectiveness of your networks?

  • Whether or not the people you are able to bridge the gap to would otherwise not have connected
  • Remember: the network is but one tool in your overall strategy
  • Metrics are often a red herring; it’s not always easy to measure impact.
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