Saturday, November 01, 2008

Equity Trustees CEO Awards

On Thursday night I was honoured to accept the national Equity Trustees CEO Award for 'Innovator of the Year' and thought I would share the news with you, as fellow travellers on the CISA-Connecting Up journey.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stay Smart Online Alert Service

Handy free service brought to you by the gum'n't.

"It's not all about you, Kim!" Our organisation is sending two staff to this high quality conference on mobile technologies for social action in Johannesburg next month. This will be an important professional development opportunity for our staff and we look forward to them returning as ‘experts’ in this exciting new phase of the digital world.

In related news, we have also agreed to sponsor Kenneth Msiska from The Young Advocates for ICT Advancement in Malawi to attend the COMMACT conference in Brisbane in late October and to meet with him to see how we can assist their organisation in its development.

As Kath would say, “It’s not all about you, Kim!” and it’s important that we stay mindful that we are global citizens as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The mobile social web

From the latest edition of NGO Pulse, the SANGONet newsletter

Trina DasGupta, mobile marketing consultant at loveLife, reports on the “Make Your Move” Campaign, which is helping young people “build personal initiative, strengthen their ability to negotiate day-to-day pressures, and find new links to opportunity”. An integral part of the campaign is MYMsta, the worlds’ first cell phone-based social network dedicated to youth empowerment and HIV prevention. Click here to read the full article.

Extract from article:

“loveLife - South Africa’s national HIV prevention programme for youth – has launched the “Make Your Move” campaign, designed to help young people build personal initiative, strengthen their ability to negotiate day-to-day pressures and to help find new links to opportunity. An integral part of the “Make Your Move” campaign has been the creation of MYMsta - the world’s first cell phone-based social network dedicated to youth empowerment and HIV prevention. loveLife has always recognised the importance of peer-to-peer networks in HIV prevention work. loveLife’s groundBREAKER and Mpinshti programme form a youth service corps of 6 000+ peer educators that reach over 500 000 South African youth every month with direct face-to-face interaction. Although nothing can replace that interaction, MYMsta is designed to complement loveLife’s physical network with an inexpensive and easily accessible virtual network, as the proliferation of cell phones in South Africa allows for peer-to-peer education to happen on a much larger scale. (75 percent of 15-24 year olds in South Africa own mobile phones, and 60 percent report using them every day, whereas only six percent of all South Africans have access to the Internet via computers.)”

Now that’s a social network!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Senate inquiry into charities

I rooly and truly promise not to be cynical about this exercise and my organisation will be putting in a submission. But I do wonder why they simply didn't dust off the Charities Commission enquiry of a few years ago. You know the one, where we decided only Poms and Kiwis would do something as logical as that, and we limped back to the Stone Age.

Mind you this one is more about what charities and nonprofits should be disclosing to the public, just like those nice men from Firepower, Visy, Westfield etc are required to do.

Seriously, on 18 June 2008, the Senate referred the Disclosure regimes for Charities and not-for-profit organisations to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics for report by the last sitting day of November 2008. The inquiry will examine:
(a) the relevance and appropriateness of current disclosure regimes for charities and all other not-for-profit organisations;
(b) models of regulation and legal forms that would improve governance and management of charities and not-for-profit organisations and cater for emerging social enterprises; and
(c) other measures that can be taken by government and the not-for-profit sector to assist the sector to improve governance, standards, accountability and transparency in its use of public and government funds.
The closing date for submissions is Friday 29 August 2008.
Notes to assist in preparing submissions are available from the website or telephone the Secretariat on 02 6277 3540, fax: 02 6277 5719, or e-mail at the above address.

I'll have more to say on thus subject as the process unfolds. In the meantime I look forward to the Senate Inquiry into how the Government can better fund and support the charity and nonprofit infrastructure that is expected to carry everything that's in the too hard or too expensive basket for governments.

Final note: I once posited a model of government funding to the nonprofit sector that equated it with the domestic violence cycle. It went something like this:
Phase 1 - Honeymoon - We love you and you'll always have what you need. (Smile for the media)
Phase 2- What do you mean you've spent all that money already?
Phase 3 - How dare you tell people we treat you badly. Whack!
Phase 4- Come back, we need you and we promise we'll never do it again.
Phase 5 - Reconciliation - We love you and we'll do our best for you in difficult circumstances. (Smile for the media unit photographer)
And so on.

But with a climate change for the future for working families I've got nothing to be cynical about now.

Computers Off (but not until you've read this)

Seeing it now seems to be generally accepted that we'll all fry together when we fry (apologies to Tom Lehrer), Australian efforts to make us all the more aware of the energy we're expending in the ether are very welcome. Check out Computers Off

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lisa Harvey's blog, Edward Harran's CU08 Facebook page and The Media Report

Check out the excellent blog started by Lisa Harvey on her site when she was a 2020 Summit delegate and she has continued on her great work. Also Eddie Harran started a Facebook page for Connecting Up delegates after the Brisbane conference. You can also hear interviews with Beth Kanter and Bill Strathmann from the ABC's Media Report.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's next in media

Excellent slide show on the new media from Neil Perkin, from the delightfully named Only Dead Fish (swim with the current).

The open source debate continues

Freelance journalist Angus Kidman attended Connecting Up and posted this great write up on ZDNet and in the process added kerosene to an ongoing debate about the merits of proprietary vs open source software. Why am I reminded of Gulliver's Travels, where nations went to war over whether you sliced of the pointy or the blunt end of a boiled egg?

Communities responding to emergencies

During my address to our recent Connecting Up conference in Brisbane, I mentioned the Hurricane Katrina response of nonprofits in New Orleans and wondered how ready our own communities were for similar experiences. I must have been inadvertently channeling the Stargazer site when I included that line. Check it out.

Whatever happened to disability access?

In the same week that I'm reading in the print media that the numbers of people on disability benefits are at record highs (partly because governments fall on rising unemployment figures, but I digress), I have been scouting for a new building for our organisation. We are obviously not in the league to be able to afford one of the new clean-and-green towers sprouting like steel and glass algae from the compost of former heritage buildings (but I digress again) but neither are we looking for a renovated broom cupboard with a single giraffe window.
Although we do not currently have a staff member with a significant disability (and I'll return to that later), it's our firm policy to always occupy premises that afford proper disability access and toilet facilities.
Call me naive but I have been stunned by how difficult it is to find such properties, with the ratio running at about one in five presently that fulfill both criteria (one in five don't fill either!). True, one or two have offered to convert an existing toilet for multiple use in return for signing a long lease (in other words pay me to value-add to my property) and some have one toilet available in the building to serve all floors.
I can only conclude that (a) there are no persons in wheelchairs working in these buildings and (b) there'd be no point in anyone in a wheelchair applying for a job for any of the companies that operate from these buildings (even if management were prepared to hire them).
So that leaves gum'n't, well-heeled companies and nonprofits with a commitment to disability justice to carry the can while the vast majority of small to medium businesses carry on regardless.
But a final puzzling point if I may. In the eight years I have been CEO of our organisation, I have only been approached once by an agency about the possibility of any sort of work for a person with a disability (Centrelink, for a person returning from a back injury, and we were happy to help) and we have never received a job application from a person with an observable disability. Yes, I know there are other challenges (nor the least being transport) but I do find it passing strange.