March 2012

Media Partnerships and Link Exchanges

We frequently receive requests for media partnerships and link exchanges from likeminded organizations working in Africa which we are happy to go along with as long as your organization's activities are somehow relevant to African civil society. To add your logo or link to Kabissa, sign up for a free account and then add your organization to the Kabissa directory. You can also request to be featured in a Kabissa Case Study and contribute to the Kabissa blog.

Advertising on Kabissa

We receive many requests to advertise on Kabissa. Currently we do not support any advertising at all on the platform and are fully supported by donations from our community. If the product or brand you wish to promote is relevant to African civil society, you are very welcome join Kabissa and add your organization or initiative to our member directory, then share the opportunities you wish to advertise via the blog. Our editors will then consider sharing your content via the frontpage, special mailings for timely opportunities, monthly member newsletter and social networks.

In or near Seattle? Come hear a talk by Tiffany Eastorn, Country Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce Programs in South Sudan

The Washington Peace Team and University Friends Meeting invite you to hear Tiffany Easthom, Country Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce Programs in South Sudan, speak on the Nonviolent Protection of Civilians in South Sudan. The event is taking place on Saturday March 31st at 2pm at University Friends Meeting, 4001 9th Avenue NE, Seattle (in the University District).

Interested in partnering with us in Education domain?

Nextgen Mobile Technologies Pvt ltd, Bangalore(www.nextgentechnology.in) is a  telecom  MNC  specialised in Telecom services(Mobile Technologies) and Education & training domain. We have operations in 6 African countries, Vietnam and Philippines.Planning to expand operations in 18 countries by Dec 2012.

 

We aspire to be the most admired and valued training partner in Africa by imparting the latest technology to the young Engrs graduating from African Universities.

To deliver a standard of service that goes beyond customer expectations and

Kony 2012: The Message Should Match the Medium - Nonviolent Peaceforce

As people who have toiled in relative obscurity for years over the very issue this extremely widely viewed video raises, the abduction of children by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), we have to admit we felt a pang of jealousy along with our gratitude at seeing such hyper attention paid to this ongoing tragedy. Yet, as we view and review the YouTube sensation, we are moved to take a more critical look at what can and has been done before Kony 2012 brought about the media explosion.

Game Changer. Global meme. World connectivity. Digital media miracle! Viral Spiral! TV and computer screens have screamed the story of the invisible children over the last few days. Last we looked the film had over 70 million hits. The campaign is slick and compelling. But we are deeply disturbed with the direction all this enthusiasm is taking.

Don’t get us wrong: it is wonderful that millions of people are now prompted to act on behalf of the children abducted and exploited by the LRA (or other warlord factions in Central Africa today). It is even better that millions, especially young people, are recognizing that wars impact real people and that they can help to end one.

Telling the story of Kony’s victims through the figure of Jacob is brilliant — was it Stalin who said, “one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”? But to demonize a single individual and urge others to “take him out” is not only over simplistic, it’s dangerous.

Joseph Kony is not a lone rogue who is “not supported by anyone.” He stays armed, fed and alive because he serves a multiplicity of political leaders in a sinister multi-state balance of terror in east-central Africa. And to vilify one person, however deserving he seems to be, as the lightning rod for our hate does not solve conflicts. It reinforces the belief that we can use violence to solve them. History has shown over and over, that disciplined and sustained nonviolent strategies can change violent regimes. Ask Marcos or Mubarak.

It was painful to watch the director, Jason Williams, teach his son that the world is divided into “bad guys” (them) and “good guys” (us) — the very rhetoric, and mindset, that has caused the waste of tens of thousands of lives over the last twenty years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most disturbing is the film’s call to join “an army of peace” and urge Congress to continue supplying US Military advisors for a military response for removing Joseph Kony from the battlefield. Here a revolutionary medium reduces itself to a reactionary solution.

Kony must be stopped and brought to justice. Children must be released and protected. Yet, there are transformational responses worthy of this revolutionary media call. And the fact is, we have been doing this, albeit at a small scale so far and well below the media radar, with a real army of peace.

Gandhi coined the term “peace army” (shanti sena) for the network of unarmed, nonviolence-trained volunteers he had begun to send throughout India to stem her regional and communal conflicts. Today, following his lead, Nonviolent Peaceforce has teams of specially trained unarmed civilian peacekeepers coming from several countries living and working in a village on the western border of South Sudan. Florington is one of those peacekeepers. He comes from Sri Lanka where he trained communities on how to protect their children from abduction to child soldiering during the long civil war there. He now teaches communities in South Sudan how to protect themselves and prevent abductions by Kony and the LRA. Other unarmed peacekeepers retrieve child soldiers. They do all of this without guns and therefore without escalating the violence.

These are just two examples of courageous peace work that if properly brought to scale could break this cycle of violence by demonstrating an effective nonviolent approach that empowers local people to protect themselves. If we had ten trained nonviolent peacekeepers in each threatened village working closely with local people to prevent abductions, it would not only allow thousands of children to sleep in peace but herald a methodology that could change the face of war. Remember: we are not talking about a “maybe” here — nonviolent teams of this kind, sometimes numbering far fewer than ten, have protected lives in Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Mindanao, and places too numerous to mention — many of them, like most of these, embroiled in severe conflict. And all this could be done at a fraction of the cost of military interventions.

Civilians, especially women and children, are now often the intentional targets in violent conflicts from Colombia to Syria. Demanding military interventions in each of these desperate situations will only escalate violence and feed geopolitical agendas unknown to most Facebook Friends. Indeed, as the wildly popular film reminds us, what we do and don’t do will affect every generation. But how we do it can be even more important. Let us seize this moment while we have to world’s attention to not only show that we care but also reshape the way the world responds to violent conflict. Then, indeed, the transformational message would match the revolutionary medium.

Crossposted from the Nonviolent Peaceforce blog: http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/blog/%5Buser-raw%5D/kony-2012-message-should-match-medium

Michael Nagler
President, Metta Center
Professor emeritus of Classics
and Comparative Literature
UC, Berkeley
[email protected]

Mel Duncan
Founding Director
Nonviolent Peaceforce
[email protected] 

Kabissa FAQ

Please browse through the following list of questions, and click for further details. If you have a question that is not answered on this page, please contact us.

Kabissa is a non-governmental organization founded in 1999 and organized in the United States as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our mission is to help African civil society organizations to put Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to work for the benefit of their communities. 

Our current program is to develop and nurture an online community platform at http://www.kabissa.org that connects people and organizations working in Africa for networking, information sharing and peer learning. The main features of the platform are a searchable organization directorycommunity blog and monthly member newsletter. We also use it to organize regular Africa Roundtable networking events.

Until 2007 Kabissa provided Internet services including domain registration and website/email hosting. We also developed an Internet training curriculum for African civil society called Time To Get Online which we delivered through a 100+page manual, end-user training workshops and an indepth training-of-trainers program. Those programs have ended, although we still maintain the domain registrations for about 100 organizations and our Time to Get Online manual is available in three languages (EnglishFrench and Arabic). 

Our name 'Kabissa' (pronounced cah-bee-sah) is derived from the very commonly used kiswahili word 'kabisa' variously meaning verytotally, extremely, definitelycompletely or absolutely. We added the extra s to make our name unique. To us, the name represents our dual aspiration to serve all of Africa and to help as many African organizations as possible to make the best use possible of technology in support of their communities. (see the Kamusi Living Swahili Dictionary for more definitions and usage) 

The Kabissa platform at http://www.kabissa.org is different because it is owned and governed by a nonprofit organization closely connected with African Civil Society, and because it is sustainably run by volunteers at low cost. We are building an open and empowering platform and nurturing content sharing and tech skills building with our African stakeholders in mind - and not corporate shareholders.

Kabissa represents a vision to empower grassroots organizations in Africa to take control over their own means of communication. While Facebook and other leading social networks are important and all organizations should be using them in support of their nonprofit mission, they are run by corporations that serve their shareholders first and have a track record of changing features without warning and using user data in unanticipated and potentially risky ways. They should therefore not be the only place where we conduct our business and we should use them with caution.

There is an important truth in the notion that "if you are not paying for it, you are not the customer; you are the product."  

The Africa Roundtable is a Kabissa program to organize events to bring together people with a mutual interest in Africa for networking and to learn from featured speakers. Roundtable events connect people via web conferencing, and are recorded and put online for later viewing. 

The organization operates mostly online and boasts volunteers and contributors from all over Africa and the world. 

Kabissa's official headquarters are on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington tucked away in the northwest corner of the United States. 

Our mailing address: 

Kabissa
9874 NE Yaquina Avenue
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 
USA

Kabissa's primary target beneficiaries are the civil society organizations represented in the Kabissa directory. They are working throughout Africa on a range of crucial issues from advocacy and human rights to education and social services, and through Kabissa they are able to take control over their presence on the Internet and build their capacity to use ICT. Secondary beneficiaries are researchers, students, media, and other interested individuals and organizations that read and use Kabissa content to learn about and contribute to the important work being done by African Civil Society. 

Kabissa's operating costs are funded through donations, which are tax deductible in the United States and Germany. Please see http://kabissa.org/donate to contribute. Thank you!  

In 2013 we are investigating adding more revenue sources to the mix, including paid memberships with premium benefits and pitching projects for funding through grant proposals and kickstarter campaigns. 

We prefer to use the term Civil Society Organization (CSO) instead of nonprofit organization, charity, or nongovernmental organization because it better conveys our grassroots empowerment message and mission. If society is a stool, Civil Society is the crucial "third leg" holding it up. The other two legs would fall down without it - the public sector (government) and the private sector (business). Civil Society Organizations make businesses and government behave responsibly and fill in gaps in vital humanitarian and social services currently not being provided otherwise.  This is true everywhere in the world, but in many African countries there is a particularly urgent need for a strong Civil Society to address major challenges in governance and accountability. 

ICT is a commonly used term in Africa and we prefer to use it over more commonly known terms such as technology, Internet, or IT. A definition we like is in the Center for Political Culture Glossary (http://culturalpolitics.net/digital_cultures/glossary): 

ICT is shorthand for Information Communication Technology and refers to all the digital devices (computers, cell phones, pdas, smartphones, iPods, etc.) that play a role in the creation of new media modes of interaction between people. The move form the term IT to ICT exemplifies the increasing degree to which communication between people, rather than mere information storage and retrieval, has come to define the world of new media technology.

The continued Kabissa focus on ICT is based on our strong belief that it has a revolutionary role to play in empowering Civil Society organizations in Africa, especially in those communities where otherwise infrastructure is poor and it can be difficult to get any work done at all and be reachable by partners, donors and stakeholders. 

It is true that ICT is becoming increasingly available and easy to use even in the remotest villages in Africa thanks to the rise of mobile telephony and the efforts of many service providers, entrepreneurs, development agencies and advocacy organizations. Nevertheless there is always work to do to empower Civil Society Organizations, especially at the grassroots, to ensure that they are able to control their own presence on the Internet and that they continue to build up their "tech savviness" and skills to use ICT effectively in support of their mission. 

We frequently receive requests for media partnerships and link exchanges from likeminded organizations working in Africa which we are happy to go along with as long as your organization's activities are somehow relevant to African civil society. To add your logo or link to Kabissa, sign up for a free account and then add your organization to the Kabissa directory. You can also request to be featured in a Kabissa Case Study and contribute to the Kabissa blog. Contact [email protected] if you would like us to send out a special mailing to our membership with a time sensitive opportunity targeting a specific location or topic of interest. 

You can get our badge to display on your website at http://www.kabissa.org/promote which you are welcome to display on your website linking to http://www.kabissa.org or your organization profile page on Kabissa. We like to know where the badge is displayed - please let us know at [email protected]

We receive many requests to advertise on Kabissa. Currently we do not support any advertising at all on the platform and are fully supported by donations from our community. If the product or brand you wish to promote is relevant to African civil society, you are very welcome join Kabissa and add your organization or initiative to our member directory, then share the opportunities you wish to advertise via the blog. Our editors will then consider sharing your content via the frontpage, special mailings for timely opportunities, monthly member newsletter and social networks.

If you benefit from this exposure then we are happy and the Kabissa platform is doing its job! As are all of our members, you are very welcome to compensate Kabissa from your advertising budget by donating via http://www.kabissa.org/donate - and thanks! 

Welcome! You can join Kabissa by clicking the “Register” link on the top right corner. You will arrive at the new user signup form which allows you to build your own personal user profile and select which if any mailings you would like to receive from Kabissa.

As a new Kabissa member, the first thing you should do is add your organization to the Kabissa directory, which will give you a profile page you control that appears in searches and enable others to contact you. You will then automatically get permission to post to the Kabissa community blog to share your organization's stories. 

Here's how to do it:  

  1. Make sure you have all the relevant information about your organization ready (mission, activities, logo, contact details)
  2. Log into your user account at http://www.kabissa.org 
  3. Complete the new organization form. To reach the form, click on your name in the top right corner and click on the "Add Organization to the Directory" link.

That's it! After you submit the form, the Kabissa team will then review your organization details and get back to you by email to either approve your application directly, request more information if needed, or reject with explanation if it does not meet our directory guidelines. 

Still have questions? Review the Kabissa FAQ or directly contact the Kabissa team via email ([email protected]), twitter (@kabissa), or Facebook (http://facebook.com/kabissa). We look forward to hearing from you! 

No. Kabissa is not a funding organization and we cannot ourselves provide financial support to your organization or project. Indeed, quite the opposite! We are a small, cash-strapped organization and we depend on donations ourselves. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for funding you can use Kabissa as a platform for reaching out to potential partners and supporters. Add profiles for your organization and projects to the Kabissa directory and contribute to the blog with stories about your achievements and needs. The best stories are promoted by our editors to the frontpage, newsletters and social networks.

You can also request to be featured in a Kabissa case study by completing the form at http://www.kabissa.org/memberstory

No, we respect the privacy of your personal information and promise not to sell or share your email address and personal information without asking you first. For more details, see our Privacy Notice at http://www.kabissa.org/about/privacy-notice

Yes. Membership is free. However, if you are enjoying benefits from your participation in the Kabissa network, we invite you to make a donation at http://www.kabissa.org/donate to help sustain Kabissa. 

You may be eligible to blog on Kabissa if you are working in African civil society or want to write about topics relevant to Africa. Once you have registered your account on Kabissa and logged in, there are two ways to request blogging privileges: 1) add your organization working in Africa to the Kabissa directory, or 2) submit the Request Blogger Privileges form. 

We are currently recruiting for the following positions. Click the links to read the full job description. 

Kabissa is organized into four teams and a board of directors - all currently filled by volunteers with the exception of book keeper. Other volunteering opportunities, for example on web projects, may be offered separately.

Click here to see job descriptions for all positions

You can still apply by filling in the application form at http://www.kabissa.org/about/volunteering. The volunteer coordinator will analyse your background and skills and might find a position for you in the volunteers team. 

You can still fill in the online form now so that we have your details on record and can keep in contact with you. Or you can hold off applying until you are ready to volunteer. 

Volunteers commit to positions for minimum six months.

At quarterly evaluation meetings with the volunteering coordinator, the volunteer evaluates his/her performance and satisfaction in the position. Together they decide whether whether to continue on for another period and for how long.

We are gratified that many volunteers that are a good fit for the team choose to stay on for a year or even longer, either in the same position (which helps to provide continuity) or shifting periodically to new positions in order to gain experience with more aspects of operating Kabissa while helping to onboard and mentor new volunteers entering positions they have left.

It will depend on which role you are interested in. However, you will need to be open-minded, non-judgmental, be able to listen, learn, and work in a team. In most other roles, volunteers will usually need some form of prior experience. 

We are flexible regarding hours as many people have other commitments outside of their voluntary work. Most of our volunteer roles require a few hours a week. There is a minimum of 10 hours/week. You should discuss with the volunteer coordinator, the time you have available, your interests, and skills, and how they fit with Kabissa. 

Volunteers may leave the project or take some time out at any point if they feel unable to commit their time (e.g. for health reasons, study or paid employment). Where possible, we ask you to let us know with as much advance warning as possible if you are going to leave the project or need some time out.

Our preferred and most cost-effective methods for receiving donations are through bank checks drawn on US banks. Kindly make out your check to KABISSA and send it to: 

Kabissa
9874 NE Yaquina Avenue
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 
USA 

Please email [email protected] or call Tobias Eigen at +1-206-965-9345 to discuss other payment options such as wire transfer. Thanks! 

Yes! To donate using PayPal, please click here.

Yes! Please designate Kabissa's CFC# 11021 to donate to Kabissa via CFC.

Combined Federal Campaign CFC# 11021

Yes. Online donations to Kabissa are secure.

You can verify that donations are secure by looking for the https at the start of the web address on the page where you enter your credit card details - this means that the connection to the payment processor is encrypted and secure.

Our preferred online payment processor is PayPal, which provides excellent tips on Internet Safety (https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/paypal-safety-and-security). 

If you have any concerns at all about online donations, please send us a check drawn on a US bank instead or contact [email protected].

Yes! Shop at smile.amazon.com and select Kabissa as your chosen charity. Amazon will then donate to Kabissa for every purchase you make.

Kabissa, Inc.

We kindly request that presenters and speakers alike contribute an optional US$10 donation to Kabissa for each roundtable event they join, which can be paid online when registering or in person at the venue.

While optional, please do pay if you can - Africa Roundtables are mini fundraisers for Kabissa and help to defray costs of supporting Africa Roundtable events. They also give our volunteering team encouragement that the work they put into organizing the events is valuable! 

Yes! You can donate via our partner betterplace.org in Germany. Please use the form below to make your donation. Thanks! (Please note that donations to Kabissa are only tax deductible in the United States where we are registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization).

No. Kabissa is not a funder and we do not transfer funds to our members. If you wish to donate to a member of ours, please contact them directly or explore their website to learn how to donate to them. 

Do feel free to contribute to Kabissa via our donation page at http://kabissa.org/donate - we will put your donation to good use in support of all of our members! 

The following four mailing lists are currently available:

  1. Kabissa Gong Gong
    Monthly newsletter, typically sent out on the first Tuesday of every month. Contains comprehensive summary of activity in the Kabissa network. We expect all members will want to subscribe to this newsletter unless you visit the site regularly or subscribe to the Kabissa RSS news feed. 
     
  2. Special Mailings 
    Time sensitive opportunities targeting a specific location or topic of interest. We expect all members will want to subscribe to this newsletter. 
     
  3. Kabissa Progress Updates
    Periodic newsletter, typically sent out 3 or 4 times a year. Contains updates from the Kabissa team about our programs and organizational development. The target audience for this mailing list is friends, partners and financial supporters of Kabissa who care about our progress but are not interested in participating in the network on a regular basis. 
     
  4. Africa Roundtable 
    Typically 2-3 emails per month. The Africa Roundtable mailing list provides information about upcoming roundtable events organized through Kabissa. Details at http://www.africaroundtable.org

The best way to ensure your organization and its work is represented in the newsletter is to join our online community platform (it's free), add your organization to the directory and start posting to the community blog. As you get comfortable with how Kabissa works and become an active contributor, you may also want to consider applying to have a case study written about you by one of our volunteers. 

Contact [email protected] to request that our editorial team send out a special mailing to our membership with a time sensitive opportunity targeting a specific location or topic of interest. To help speed the process along, please post the announcement you wish to send out to the blog ahead of time.

Kabissa newsletters are free and are delivered by email to members. You can choose newsletter mailing lists to subscribe to while creating a free membership account (look for the "register" link above right). 

If you already have an account and want to change your subscription preferences, log in and edit your account settings (click on your name above right and click on "account settings", then the "contacts" submenu). 

You can also unsubscribe from one mailing list or opt out of all Kabissa mailing lists using the links at the bottom of every mailing.




Africa Roundtable

Occasional mailings for people interested in the Africa Roundtable event series
Kabissa Gong Gong

Monthly newsletter packed with the latest content shared at Kabissa.org. To be featured, keep your organization profile up to date and contribute to the Kabissa blog!
Progress Updates

Regular updates from the Executive Director on Kabisssa programs, governance and fundraising efforts.
Special Mailings

Targeted and timely opportunities and announcements sent from members and partners to site users in a special geographic or interest area. To make sure you get the Special Mailings relevant to you, be sure to provide your city and country at signup and add your organization to the directory.
 


When we first created the monthly member newsletter and were brainstorming names, a volunteer from Ghana suggested the name Gong Gong. In Ghana, the gong gong is the messenger who brings the news from village to village. We all agreed this was a fitting name for a newsletter intended to carry the news from member to member in the Kabissa network. 

While Kabissa has delivered monthly newsletters since 2000, we have experimented with different systems over the years and have not yet brought all back issues into the archive. There were also several periods since 2008, when we launched the new community website and shifted to an all-volunteer operation, when we suspended the newsletter due to lack of capacity to produce them. 

We have to choose some time zone, and GMT is as neutral and good as any! Find out when a specific event is taking place where you are, in your own time zone, using the time zone converter.

The Africa Roundtable is a Kabissa program to organize events to bring together people with a mutual interest in Africa for networking and to learn from featured speakers. Roundtable events connect people via web conferencing, and are recorded and put online for later viewing. 

A typical Africa Roundtable program:

  • Online participants come online for free networking, chatting, and testing audio and video connection (starting 30 mins ahead of scheduled meeting start time)
  • Where applicable, participants at venue register and settle in (starting 15 mins ahead of scheduled meeting start time)
  • Lightning round of introductions (5 minutes)
  • Introduction to Roundtable by chairperson (5 minutes)
  • Up to three featured speakers present and discuss their topic with participants (40 minutes)
  • Lightning round of closing comments (10 minutes)
  • Free networking and chatting (up to 30 minutes after scheduled meeting ends) 

Out of respect for presenters and participants alike who are taking time out of their busy schedules to join the roundtable events, we keep the 'official' portion of the event to one hour and are rigorous about starting on time and ending on time!

The best way to make certain you are informed of upcoming events is to subscribe to the Africa Roundtable mailing list, where we announce events as they are scheduled.  We also share news of upcoming Africa Roundtable events in the Kabissa monthly member newsletter, on our events calendar, and on twitter and facebook

You can also subscribe to our events using RSS or ical if you recognize these icons:

 Get RSS 2.0 feed for current and future public events.   Get iCalendar feed for current and future public events.  

We kindly request that presenters and speakers alike contribute an optional US$10 donation to Kabissa for each roundtable event they join, which can be paid online when registering or in person at the venue.

While optional, please do pay if you can - Africa Roundtables are mini fundraisers for Kabissa and help to defray costs of supporting Africa Roundtable events. They also give our volunteering team encouragement that the work they put into organizing the events is valuable! 

The purpose of the roundtable is to bring people together who have a shared interest in Africa for networking and to learn from featured speakers through a brief talk and a discussion.

If you are interested in being featured, we suggest you join a roundtable event as a participant so you can see how it works. See the Kabissa Events FAQ which provides detailed information both for presenters and for participants.

Send an email to [email protected] to propose your topic and provide the following details:

  • Name and affiliation of featured speaker 
  • Contact details (email, phone and websites) for speaker and affiliated organization
  • Topic title and brief description
  • Content you'd like us to feature in our announcements about you and your topic, including links to blog posts, photos and videos

We will then get back to you to discuss your topic with you and to set a date. 

Yes, the Africa Roundtable is intended to be a scalable program and we hope to see them spring up in more places around the globe, especially in Africa. Organizing events is a commitment however and takes some time - we suggest you join another roundtable as a participant first and reflect on how the process works and if organizing them fits into your organization's priorities.

If you are interested in hosting your own roundtable events, contact [email protected] to organize a one-off Africa Roundtable event in your community. After that if there is sufficient interest, we would be happy to include it as a regular event in the Kabissa calendar. 

Kabissa supports Africa Roundtable events through our online community platform. Our volunteers will set up a registration page in our event management system for each Africa Roundtable event which also lists participants and speakers as they sign up. We will also use the Kabissa blog, newsletters and social network presence to promote each event and maximize the content sharing during and after each event. During the event, a Kabissa volunteer will coordinate and support the online participants. 

Numbers: The goal is to have at least 15 people participating but technically we have no limit to the number of people in the audience in which case we'd prioritize and allow audience participants to introduce themselves via the chat as they join the event. We record the event for sharing online later.

Audience: Please take a look at the program above. As you will see, the event starts with a lightning round of introductions intended to give you a sense of the audience you are dealing with so you can adjust your talk accordingly.

Format: Each speaker gets at least 20 minutes. Generally speaking we like the roundtable to be spontaneous and powerpoint-free. We ask presenters to talk for max 10 minutes and then open the floor to questions from the people "around the table". This is not a lengthy, content-filled lecture but an opportunity for you to introduce your organization, its background and mission, and perhaps highlight one or two stories about recent achievements that you think will interest the group. 

Materials: If you have a flyer in PDF form you can email it to [email protected] to be distributed electronically to participants ahead of time. At the end after the 'official' program there is also time for informal networking and chatting. People who are interested will follow up with you later or visit your website etc. 

Out of necessity, Kabissa experiments on an ongoing basis with the best, most-effective online tools for organizing and hosting online events. Generally, they require participants to have a reasonably good Internet connection and a computer with audio/video. If you can skype, you can probably also participate in Kabissa events.

When you register, we will send you an email confirming your registration. Our email to you will contain detailed instructions for getting into the event. When in doubt, please test your connection and audio/video settings ahead of time to make sure that your computer is set up correctly.

If for any reason you don't hear from us or if you have questions or want help testing your setup, feel free to contact our event team at [email protected] anytime. You can also look for us in the Kabissa chat room at http://kabissa.org/chat which requires only a very basic Internet connection. 

The Kabissa Chatroom is a place to bring together volunteers and members for live interaction. It is a friendly place that lets us get to know each other for mutual support and information sharing. Here are some of the things we can do in the Chatroom:   

  • get step by step technical help from each other
  • ask questions about how to make the most of the Kabissa platform
  • discuss topics relevant to Kabissa and the community
  • create a "back channel" to keep in touch during important events 

The Kabissa team also often uses other channels like Skype and Google Hangout - but the Chatroom is a great "lowest denominator" place to connect that most people can always access, even on slow internet connections and without special software installed on their computers. 

Don't be surprised if you join the Chatroom and there is nobody here. Volunteers and members work in many time zones and we use other channels to keep in touch (email, blog, social networks, skype). Many are also not used to Chatrooms. But you are welcome to drop us an email or tweet to @kabissa to request a meeting in the Chatroom.

The Kabissa team has regular times each week when we plan to log into the Chatroom together for co-working and to be available to members. See the Kabissa Calendar for upcoming Office Hours. 

The following commands are useful to get started: 

  • /help Display help.
  • /clear Clear the chat output in the Chatroom.
  • /nick [nick] Change your nickname.
  • /msg [nick] [msg] Send a private message.
  • /whois [nick] Find out all manner of things about someone.
  • /me [text] Emote.
  • /away Set your status to away.
  • /back Set your status to back.
  • /msg kabissabot seen [nick] See when someone was last in the Chatroom.
  •  /msg kabissabot [nick]++ thank someone by giving them karma!

Other tips: 

  • mention someone's [nick] to get their attention. It may work if they have set up notifications for when they are mentioned. 
  • see karma list at http://www.kabissa.org/bot/karma

Yes, you can also go straight to the Kabissa Chatroom by typing in the direct URL to the room as follows: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#kabissa

Yes! The Kabissa Chatroom is hosted on irc.freenode.net which is a preconfigured server in most IRC Chat Clients/Apps. 

To join a Kabissa chat room with an IRC Chat client, you will want to download and install a client on your computer, then use it to log into irc.freenode.net and join the #kabissa chat room.

The advantage is that you can remain permanently logged in and monitor all activity in the chat room, and even be notified with a beep when someone in the room mentions you. 

For more info about Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and available Chat Clients, see the Internet Relay Chat page on Wikipedia. Two freely available recommended clients are: 

KABISSABOT is a bot (or robot, I suppose) that adds some useful features to the Kabissa Chatroom, listed below. Information about the bot's features is also available by asking it directly for "help", and then for more detail with "help <feature>" (such as "help Project URLs"). This would best be done in a private message, so as not to disrupt regular channel activity.

The bot connects to server irc.freenode.net as nick kabissabot.

 


  • Karma: Keeps track of "karma" altered by "foo++" or "bar--". Terms must be 3 to 15 characters in length. "BOTNAME: karma foo?" gives the current karma score. Highest and lowest karma scores can be seen at <http://www.kabissa.org/bot/karma>.
  • Logging: Logging has been enabled at <http://www.kabissa.org/bot/log>. A URL to the current log and timestamp is retrievable with "KABISSABOT: log pointer?" or "KABISSABOT: log bookmark?"
  • Reminders: Reminders can be set with "KABISSABOT: remind NICK (at|by|in|on) DURATION (about|how|that|to) MESSAGE". For example: "KABISSABOT: remind Morbus in 1 hour and 6 minutes that his bot is awesome", "KABISSABOT: remind me in 23 minutes to check my pot roast.", or even "KABISSABOT: remind Monty on Wed, 12 May 2010 13:10:21 -0400 that this was when this code debuted."
  • Seen: If someone asks "seen tobiaseigen", the bot will report the last time they've been seen, where, and what their last known message was. Directly addressing the bot will also allow the more complex syntax of "seen tobiaseigen? seen d8uv?", "have you seen sbp?" and similar forms. * can be used as a wildcard, but only with a minimum of three other characters. A maximum of three results are displayed for any one request.
  • Tell: Queue messages with "KABISSABOT: tell tobiaseigen that his blog posts are awesome." Queued messages will be delivered publicly when the recipient sends a message to the channel.

The first thing to try when you have trouble logging in is to reset your password at http://kabissa.org/user/password - type in your email address and submit the form and you will receive an email (usually within a few minutes) with a link to click on to reset your password. You can only use that email once and it will expire in a short time. 

If that doesn't work or if you no longer have access to the email address you used to create your account, please contact our membership manager for help by sending her an email to [email protected]

Kabissa has placed a limit to the number of Emails which users are allowed to send in an hour. This has been done for the benefit of all users in order to prevent spam.

You can wait one hour and then try again. If the problem still persists then send an Email to [email protected].

As a new Kabissa member, the first thing you should do is add your organization to the Kabissa directory, which will give you a profile page you control that appears in searches and enable others to contact you. You will then automatically get permission to post to the Kabissa community blog to share your organization's stories. 

Here's how to do it:  

  1. Make sure you have all the relevant information about your organization ready (mission, activities, logo, contact details)
  2. Log into your user account at http://www.kabissa.org 
  3. Complete the new organization form. To reach the form, click on your name in the top right corner and click on the "Add Organization to the Directory" link.

That's it! After you submit the form, the Kabissa team will then review your organization details and get back to you by email to either approve your application directly, request more information if needed, or reject with explanation if it does not meet our directory guidelines. 

Still have questions? Review the Kabissa FAQ or directly contact the Kabissa team via email ([email protected]), twitter (@kabissa), or Facebook (http://facebook.com/kabissa). We look forward to hearing from you! 

Many people are involved in more than one organization working in Africa, and Kabissa is set up to reflect this. You can add as many organizations to Kabissa as you need via the My Organizations page - just be sure that you are authorized to do so by the organizations and plan for keeping them up to date. 

We realize that many people in the private sector are making an important contribution to improving the lives of people in Africa, and we would love to have you join Kabissa. You are welcome to apply to add your company to the directory, but your application will be declined if you do not specifically provide a mission statement and description of your activities, services or products that is in line with Kabissa's mission to help African civil society organizations put ICT to work for the benefit of their communities. You can still join groups or request blogger privileges on Kabissa. 

Yes, organization profiles on Kabissa require a "real world" mailing address and phone number. The Kabissa directory contains real people and organizations, and since we don't otherwise require proof of registration the contact details are important for verification purposes. In any case, even virtual organizations (including Kabissa!) are run by real people who should be reachable someplace, and the best and most accountable organizations have official contact details beyond the Internet. 

We prefer that you add your organization to the Kabissa directory and then use the Kabissa blog and groups to share your blog, projects or conference websites. Sometimes, however, we are willing to make an exception to this rule for entities that are operated as a quasi-independent "brand" from the main organization or for entities that are run by individuals without formal organizations. If you really want to have a separate profile for your project go ahead and add it and the membership manager will get back to you if it is not eligible. You have questions about this, feel free to check with the membership manager first at [email protected]

Each organization in the Kabissa directory provides its own shortname, which is used to create the web address to directly reach your organization profile page. For this reason each shortname must be unique. If your preferred shortname (e.g. your acronym, organization name or username you use already on other sites) is already taken by someone else, please choose another one. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about shortnames. 

On the second page of the organization profile page editing wizard there are fields where you can provide your Global Giving Project ID and Global Giving Organization ID. You can find out what the number is for the project you want to feature by logging into the Global Giving website at http://www.globalgiving.org and visiting your organization or project page. Look for the number in the heading in parentheses, as shown in the screenshots below. 

AttachmentSize
How to find Project ID on Global Giving152.17 KB
How to find Organization ID on Global Giving247.62 KB

To report an organization in the directory for any reason, please go to the organization's profile page and click on the Report an issue with this page link in the footer. Please describe the problem you have (inaccurate information, bad experience with organization, organization no longer exists etc) in as much detail as possible and we will review it. 

If your organization is no longer active or you no longer need your Kabissa organization profile, you can take it offline by logging in and clicking the Hide Profile link on your My Organizations page. Please contact the membership manager to have your organization completely deleted from the Kabissa organization database. 

You can turn off the contact form on your personal profile on Kabissa by editing your account settings. To get there, you must log in, click on your picture, click on Account Settings, scroll down to look for the personal contact form settings. If you are having trouble logging in, want to report spam or abuse of Kabissa, or need any additional guidance, don't hesitate to contact our membership manager at [email protected]

You can delete your user account anytime by clicking the DELETE button at the bottom of the Account Settings page. Note that deleting your account does not delete your content. Any content you have created to date will be credited to anonymous.

YES! When editing your organization profile details look for the fields to add links to Facebook, Twitter and RSS Feed. Links will then be provided directly on your profile and your latest posts will be pulled and displayed from the RSS Feed. (For more info about RSS please see http://www.whatisrss.com

If you don't have an "official RSS feed" or news feed on your own website but use twitter actively, you can display your tweets on your organization's profile on Kabissa. This is a great way to keep visitors to Kabissa informed of your activities on a regular basis even if you don't log into Kabissa yourself every day. All you need is the username of your twitter account. Copy/paste the URL below into the RSS Feed field when editing your organization profile, replacing {USERNAME} below with your username.  

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name={USERNAME}

That's it! Check your profile page to verify that it is working correctly. You may need to refresh yoru browser. 

Kabissa is a niche network serving African civil society. Posts to our blog appear at http://www.kabissa.org/blog where they are attributed to their authors. A selection of featured posts are promoted to the frontpage at http://www.kabissa.org which then propagates to Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/kabissa), Twitter (@kabissa), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/kabissa) and other social networks. The best posts are selected for inclusion in Kabissa newsletters which over 4000 people subscribe to for free.  

Yes! You can subscribe to receive Kabissa Gong Gong, our monthly member newsletter featuring the best blog posts. If you want to get more timely news, you can also use your news reader to subscribe to our frontpage (for featured posts selected by member content editors) or specific authors or categories - look for the RSS links on those pages. 

You may be eligible to blog on Kabissa if you are working in African civil society or want to write about topics relevant to Africa. Once you have registered your account on Kabissa and logged in, there are two ways to request blogging privileges: 1) add your organization working in Africa to the Kabissa directory, or 2) submit the Request Blogger Privileges form. 

Kabissa editors promote contributions to the Kabissa blog to a wide audience via our website frontpage, newsletters and social networks that meet one or more of the following criteria:  

  • The post is relevant to the Kabissa community. It is about Africa, provides opportunities for African civil society organizations, or informs on technology tools and tactics that benefit African organizations. Or all three at once! 
  • The post is interesting and worthwhile to read. It is informative and purposeful, reveal a personal perspective, and invite conversation and shared learning. It is well written. It uses pictures effectively. 
  • The post provides links. It offers contact information for follow-up and/or links for further reading and research.
  • The post is timely. Posts offering opportunities with an upcoming deadline or of particular interest to a subset of our community are promoted actively and are also distributed immediately by email to subscribers to Kabissa Special Mailings

The best blog posts are informative and purposeful, reveal a personal perspective, and invite conversation and shared learning. If you have never blogged before and want to get started, we recommend you take some time to explore what it is all about before you publish your first blog post. Find a friend or colleague to advise you. Get acquainted with other bloggers who are writing about topics you care about by reading and adding comments to their posts. Introduce yourself to them and ask them for guidance. Above all, just start writing! Soon you will be off and blogging up a storm!  

Certainly. As long as your post is relevant to African civil society and you have the authority or permission to post the text on Kabissa, you are very welcome to crosspost to the Kabissa blog. 

Creative Commons LicenseYes! We encourage crossposting from the Kabissa blog. All Kabissa content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Please contact the content team with any complaints about specific blog posts via the Report an Issue with this page link at the bottom of every page. Be sure to mention the specific URL (web address) of the post in question and explain in detail your complaint.  

Kabissa Groups are private, members-only spaces that enable discussion, information sharing and networking via email (like Yahoo! Groups or a listserv) to enable quick interaction and mutual support between group members - directly in our email. Each group has a private online space containing member list, full record of email discussions and wiki pages.

Check out the Kabissa groups directory at http://www.kabissa.org/og/all where you can join groups by clicking the link to "join" (for open groups anyone can join without approval) or "request membership" (for groups that require approval to join).

You can manage your subscriptions to all Kabissa groups in one place by logging into Kabissa and clicking on "Manage Group Subscriptions" (http://www.kabissa.org/og_mailinglist/subscriptions) from the dashboard menu. Note also the links at the bottom of all group messages that you can use to manage group subscriptions or turn off email delivery for a specific discussion thread if it gets too busy. 

Yes. Groups are private. This means that emails you send to a group and content you add via the website are not visible to people outside your group and will not show up in google searches. However, keep in mind that your emails and content will be distributed to other group members and it is possible for them to redistribute it as well as see and collect your email address.

File attachments are not fully supported in Kabissa groups. If you send an email to a Kabissa group with a file attachment, the email and attachment are distributed by email but are not posted to the archive on the website. Likewise, if you reply to a new discussion by email with a file attached it will not be posted to the website. 

Yes. If you have an approved organization in the Kabissa directory you are automatically eligible to create and run your own groups on Kabissa. Even without an organization, you can propose a group you would like to run on Kabissa that is relevant to African civil society. Please contact [email protected] to request a group.

You can delete your group by editing it and clicking on the DELETE GROUP button at the bottom of the page. Keep in mind that this is not reversible and you will lose your content and group subscriber list. 

"Building Human Capacity with Education in Kenya" KEF Executive Director Brad Broder at FHI360's Conference on Human Development

I learned my first lesson in global development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya over a decade ago.  It was a simple enough lesson in “needs assessment”, which is essentially an activity that attempts to identify so-called “actual needs” from “perceived needs” within a given community. 

For example, a Kenyan villager once said to me that his community needs a water catchment system and water tanks on each house to capture rainwater.  But when I asked why he feels this is so vital when there is a clean water source less than a kilometer away, he said to me, “because the volunteer before you helped the next village over to get water tanks.  We want them to!”


A water tank attached to a corrogated metal roof to catch rain water

This fascinated me.  Not WHAT he saw as a need so much as WHY he saw it as a need.  The other village that got water tanks was his only exposure to any kind of development.  He didn’t realize that there were options – other projects that could be successfully undertaken and benefit his village in far greater ways than water tanks.  His choice was limited to what he knew was available, and his knowledge of what was available clearly did not extend far beyond the next village.

Since the end of World War II, Nongovernmental Organizations (or NGO’s) and multi-lateral aid agencies have been the sole assessor of what poor people need.  So they imposed their idea of development with a mentality of “if we build it, they will develop,” So what we saw was heavy investment in easily quantifiable construction projects for health clinics, boreholes, wells, toilets and schools.  At the time, the successful installation of these projects pleased the donors who had paid for them.  But what we found decades later, in Africa specifically, is that these projects were failing and poverty continued to rise.  Students couldn’t afford to attend the schools that were built. Clinics couldn’t stock up with drugs unless they were free.  Communities didn’t maintain water pumps when the parts broke….  The capacity of the populations to sustain development projects was too low due to the lack of education.  And the incentive of NGOs to sustain those projects for them was even lower.  After all, “sustainability” is the mantra by which all NGOs justify their projects.  Donors don’t like funding the same projects in perpetuity.

What we are seeing now is a shift away from project-centric development.  Instead, NGOs, especially those that have sprung up in the past 5-10 years, are focusing on developing human capacity through education.  This is significant because education allows beneficiaries to better assess their own ACTUAL needs.  And when the beneficiaries’ SUBJECTIVE assessment of what a need is, is in agreement with an NGO’s OBJECTIVE assessment of what the need is, this indicates a level of human capacity among beneficiaries in which projects have a chance of succeeding.  The idea behind a development project can only grow in fertile minds.  In my experience, a high school-level education is the bare minimum required by a community for a development project to succeed on the whole.  Whether the area of focus is on health, peace building, democracy building, boreholes or water tanks; if the capacity to understand what one’s own needs are is absent, we are likely investing in a project that is destined for failure. 


Agnes, a Maasai girl, on graduation day from college

For this reason, NGOs like mine are increasingly investing in PEOPLE rather than PROJECTS by offering workshops in entrepreneurship and leadership, as well as scholarships to higher education and other learning opportunities.

My organization, Kenya Education Fund, offers high school and university scholarships, as well as mentoring, for poor Kenyans, and was partly inspired by the man I just told you about, unaware of what his own “actual” needs were.  A recent report issued by UNESCO shows that 2 out of 3 children in Africa are left out of secondary schools, and states that, “there is no escape from poverty without the vast expansion of secondary education worldwide.”

I end with this. Improving quality of life – whether it’s alleviating poverty or curing AIDS – is the underlying mission of every international development agency.  We are also results-driven.  Even in the changing landscape of human development – this much, at least, has not changed.  But as we shift from building projects to building human capacity, there is also a need to educate our donors that results from education will take longer to materialize than the sinking of a bore hole – perhaps as long as a generation or two – but those results will have a lasting effect and an even greater return on our investment in human beings.

I don't know what to blog about. Where do I start?

The best blog posts are informative and purposeful, reveal a personal perspective, and invite conversation and shared learning. If you have never blogged before and want to get started, we recommend you take some time to explore what it is all about before you publish your first blog post. Find a friend or colleague to advise you. Get acquainted with other bloggers who are writing about topics you care about by reading and adding comments to their posts. Introduce yourself to them and ask them for guidance. Above all, just start writing!

An American expat in Uganda considers KONY 2012

Jane Bowman, a researcher with Refugee Law Project in Kampala, sent us her musings about KONY 2012. Jane is returning to Bainbridge Island in April and has graciously agreed to be our featured speaker at the Africa Roundtable on May 4. Click here for details and to register

It is remarkable to be here in Uganda at the time of the KONY 2012 release. Before I came here in January, more people knew about Uganda’s silverback gorillas than they knew about Joseph Kony or the LRA war. Explaining my project to friends back home was a non-starter. Instead we shared jokes about Idi Amin. I myself had only a naïve understanding of the scope of the conflict that I would be researching here. So putting aside the roiling controversy about the video and its creator’s motivations, I can’t help feeling that having Uganda in the spotlight is a good thing. There is a lot of important work to be done here.

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