Community information management

"Although the kinds and forms of information will vary, the need for information to be accurate, pertinent and accessible is consistent in the social change process". Information as a tool for social change, Roeher Institute (full reference: see below).

People need information as an integral part of community development - information about their rights as citizens and about what has worked to promote inclusive development at the community level. This raises not only the question of access, but also of people’s capacity to define for themselves what is relevant. Community resource centres can be an access point for such information, and a place to assess the community's information needs, gather local information, and develop new resources. The resources in this list aim to inform and support community resource centres so that they can fulfil their role in the exchange and repackaging of local information and indigenous knowledge.

This key list was produced to support LEPRA India's Mayurbhanj Integrated Community Health Project (MICHP). We welcome your feedback: please send comments or suggested additions to sourceassistant@hi-uk.org.

Selected resources

Community resource centres

Organising local documentation services for the water and sanitation sector : guidelines

INTERNATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION CENTRE (IRC)
2004

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Guidelines for the development of local documentation centres which can be maintained with minimum effort, and provide useful information on water and sanitation to colleagues and the local community without the help of professional librarians or documentalists. Concentrates on the basic tasks needed to set up and operate a small documentation centre at the local level. This second edition has been revised to take account of the developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) which have revolutionised information provision during the past ten years. The revised guidelines continue to cover manual systems, but also include more detailed guidance on computer applications and access to the Internet

Resource centre manual : how to set up and manage a resource centre

O'SULLIVAN, Sheila
et al
2003

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Contains practical information on all aspects of setting up and managing a resource centre, from planning, fundraising and finding a suitable location, to collecting and organising materials, developing information services, and monitoring and evaluating the work of the resource centre. It assumes that most readers will use manual systems for organising information, but also explains how computers can be used in resource centres, including e-mail, Internet and databases. It describes how to select database software, and contains a detailed review of three leading database programs. It includes a list of organisations and publications that can provide further information

Sharing knowledge for community development and transformation : a handbook|[Sharing knowledge handbook 2]

MCHOMBU, Kingo J
August 2004

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This handbook addresses the information needs of rural communities in Africa and explores the relationship between knowledge and development, and how community information resource centres can contribute to and can spark community development. It provides guidance for establishing community information centres and for ensuring their sustainability. The second edition includes several case studies from Ethiopia, draws out lessons learned, and includes a special section on HIV and AIDS resource centres. Each chapter concludes with suggested discussion questions for community groups

Streams of knowledge toolbox

INTERNATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION CENTRE (IRC)
October 2001

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This set of tools draws on learning among partners in the Streams of Knowledge (SoK) coalition, who have worked to strengthen resource centres' contributions to improved water and sanitation delivery. Tools include: 1. Diagnostic study; 2. Understanding the resource centre concept; 3. Assessing the potential of a resource centre; 4. Gender scan guideline; 5. Consolidating resource centres; 6. Electronic information services; 7. Evaluating effectiveness of resource centres and their partners; 8. Self-assessment guide; 9. Improving management & control functions; 10. Quality assurance; 11. Impact Assessment

Discussion and analysis

eforums on HIV and TB : a toolkit for launching, moderating and managing a high quality eforum

KISTLER, Elizabeth
et al
2009

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This toolkit aims to provide organisations working in health and development with tools to launch, moderate and manage high-quality eForums that provide a safe space for civil society focused information sharing, networking and dialogue. It has the potential to be applied to a range of health and development issues. It is intended for international, regional and national civil society organisations recognising the power of information and the significance of a transparent, broad-based communication mechanism that enhances civil society responses to HIV and TB

Information management for development organisations

POWELL, Mike
2003

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The book is about managing information in the workplace rather than in a resource centre or library. It is aimed at managers of community groups and non-governmental organisations in developing countries and elsewhere. It aims to help them to think critically about what kinds of information they, their staff, and their project partners need. It discusses how they can access such information, manage it, and communicate it in the most effective and equitable way. It includes some practical tools and exercises to help readers to relate the ideas to their own situations. In this second edition, discussions of knowledge management, capacity building, institutional learning, evaluation and impact assessment, research, information products, and evidence-based work have been added, or considerably extended, together with a number of new case studies

Libraries, literacy and poverty reduction : a key to African development

MCHOMBU, Kingo
2006

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This research paper explores the potential for libraries to empower communities and fight poverty in Africa, through promoting literacy and providing access to relevant information. The author outlines the challenges that libraries and information centres in Africa face; and the potential that linkages with local and international partners could bring. Case studies illustrate how library networks in three countries address the challenges and serve their communities. Recommendations for library networks highlight the need for skilled personnel, partnerships, a remit to create and share local content, appropriate use of technology, and better and more responsive monitoring and evaluation. Recommendations for governments and donor agencies include creating national information policies, filling a 'coordinating' role in the information environment, investing in literacy, and expanding public library networks

Making health communication programs work

NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
2002

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This handbook presents key principles and steps in developing and evaluating health communication program for the public, patients, and health professionals. It expands upon and replaces two earlier publications titled Pretesting in Health Communications and Making PSA's Work. Referring primarily to the context of the United States, the guide discusses specific steps in program development and includes examples of their use. Sources of additional information on each subject are included at the end of the chapters

Revisiting the "magic box" : case studies in local appropriation of information and communication technologies (ICTs)

BATCHELOR, Simon,
O’FARRELL, Clare
2003

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This book looks at the way communities and groups in developing countries are appropriating information and communication technologies (ICTs) to address their needs. It finds that ICTs are being integrated into wider community-based activities and adapted to fit different contexts. It follows on from the paper "Discovering the Magic Box". It finds that there are still few examples of community-driven and locally appropriated ICT initiatives and an absence of standards or guidelines to evaluate ICT-based projects. The book includes some analytical frameworks and indicators to identify good practice and evidence of impact A significant development has been in the growth of telecommunications, in particular mobile phones, that are relatively cheap and powerful tools for poor communities, even in remote areas. The book concludes that the power of oral communication through telephones and radio cannot be underestimated. The book proposes that the main challenge is to adapt the new, usually computer-based ICTs to the needs of poor, predominantly oral-based communities so that they can be appropriated effectively and quickly

Repackaging information

Change at hand : web 2.0 for development

ASHLEY, Holly
et al
June 2009

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There are dozens of emerging interactive web services and applications, sometimes referred to as the ‘participatory’, ‘social’ or ‘readwrite’ web, but more commonly known as Web 2.0. Together, they are radically changing the ways we create, share, collaborate and publish digital information through the Internet. These new technical opportunities bring challenges as well as opportunities that we need to understand and grasp. Most of the themed articles are based on presentations made at the the international Web2forDev conference, 25-27 September 2007 at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy

Development gateway

DEVELOPMENT GATEWAY FOUNDATION

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The Development Gateway portal provides a space for communities to share experiences on development efforts. The portal supports the Development Gateway Foundation's knowledge-sharing efforts through services such as an online directory for information on development projects (AiDA), an electronic procurement market (dgMarket), information on major development topics (Topic Pages), and links to a growing network of country-level initiatives (Country Gateways). By offering users virtual interactive communities centered on development issues, the portal's Topic Pages encourage knowledge-sharing and help improve collaboration among development practitioners. Expert guides and global topic advisors work with their communities to highlight the most relevant and useful resources available on the Internet. The topic pages enable you to share knowledge and locate resources on a variety of development topics; build a community of experience around development topics through individual member contributions; receive free email alerts and newsletters; and make connections with thousands of registered users

Documentation for change [whole issue]

March 2006

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This issue of LEISA is dedicated to documentation processes: how they contribute to the generation of new knowledge, and how they help people reflect on and improve their activities. This issue highlights examples of documentation in a range of field projects, and communication media from photography and participatory video to written case studies and oral testimonies or histories. The articles show how documentation can be done by anyone involved in a project, and can be more than just descriptive. Good documentation processes form part of wider monitoring and evaluation activities, and are essential for sharing knowledge and good practice with others

Documenting and communicating HIV/AIDS work : a toolkit to support NGOs/CBOs

INTERNATIONAL HIV/AIDS ALLIANCE
2001

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This toolkit looks at planning documentation and communication, so that lessons from the work of NGOs and Community Based Organisations are captured and shared with others. Includes sections on: introducing communication and documentation; planning, designing and evaluating particular documentation 'products'; and building documentation and communication skills. Also includes a range of useful handouts and workshop session outlines, and 12 'information cards' relating to specific communication 'products' such as newsletters, or radio programmes

Documenting what we learn

SOURCE INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION SUPPORT CENTRE
2005

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This Key list highlights practical resources that build skills and competence in documenting experiences of development work. Effectively communicating the key elements of an event, programme or even a social movement involves gathering information, reflecting on it, analysing it carefully, and choosing appropriate mechanisms and formats for relating it to others. The challenge is to answer not only what happened and how, but to identify why it is "key" and how it can advance the work of individuals, organisations or sectors. The resources listed here include both tools to support analysis and reflection, and guides to determining appropriate ways of capturing and disseminating the valuable lessons we learn through our work

Participatory rural communication appraisal : starting with the people

ANYAEGBUNAM, Chike,
MEFALOPULOS, Paolo,
MOETSABI, Titus
2004

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Designed primarily as a field guide for development workers and extension staff, this handbook provides a simple, easy-to-follow procedure for planning cost-effective and appropriate communication programmes. Steps include: situation analysis, baseline surveys and a range of participatory tools and techniques to profile exisiting communication channels and methods, and develop appropriate communication programmes. It can be used as a reference for conducting participatory rural communication appraisal (PRCA) in the field as well as a training guide for capacity building in PRCA

Recording and using indigenous knowledge : a manual

International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR)
1996

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A practical, user-friendly manual that describes how to record indigenous knowledge together with local people. It includes ten case studies and questions guides on more than 20 development issues - mainly agricultural, but including water and sanitation. Well illustrated, it emphasises working in a participatory mode and adapting techniques to suit local conditions. It is seen as useful for professionals, field staff and students in all fields of development work. The format allows easy copying for use in training

Working with indigenous knowledge : a guide for researchers

GRENIER, Louise
1998

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This book provides an examination of indigenous knowledge and what it can offer a sustainable development strategy, and offers a guide to collecting, using, and assessing indigenous knowledge. Includes a review of case studies in Indonesia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, and Venezuela