Spreading social innovation in Central Asia with SICamp 2012

Apr 16, 2012
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Transitions is launching the second SICamp, together with the Soros Foundation in Kazakhstan, which will take place on 17-20 May in or near Almaty.
We have already received more than 120 applications for 60 places. We have nearly secured consent from our partners in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to bring in more people from those countries. This time, the geographic representation of the SICamp may be even bigger with participants from all five countries of the region attending.
These are facts which are interesting, but  they don’t tell us whether the idea of social innovation is really taking root yet in the countries of Central Asia. The idea of social innovation fostered by the Internet comes from the West, where people started using the collaboration tools the World Wide Web has given them to solve different social problems.
Already there are countless examples of solutions to everyday problems using the power of the Internet. Some of these ideas are all about communication or collaboration. Internet has given terrific opportunities for previously isolated groups to communicate, such as the concept of a portal that aims to create a network for disabled persons and  help them find work.
Other ideas strive to offer access to information and topics that are typically not covered by conventional media, and out of this arises the example of a social network for pregnant women to exchange info about health and child-related issues (NovaMama, Belarus). It is the place where this type of info can be collected in one place as never been before.
The Internet is also about collaboration, and the Fix My Street project that came about to crowdsource the collection of info about broken streets. In Belarus, there is electby.org, a project based on Ushahidi that has gathered more than 600 reports about electoral violations.
And there are so many more examples.
Critics may say that the social innovation emerges in the societies where business culture has already grown enough to accept the concept of the social responsibility and where citizens believe that everything depends on them.They say that it’s from these that social innovation arises. We don’t know. We just try.
Welcome to the SICamp-2012 in Almaty!
(Photo by WikiCommons user Участник:Rock)

About the Author

Alaksiej Lavoncyk

Alaksiej Lavonczyk is a media activist and social media expert from Minsk, Belarus. He had been in charge of the training projects for the NGOs and media on building their capacity in online campaigning and end-user security. Alaksiej had also acted as a consulting and technical expert for NGOs and media in Belarus and four countries of Central Asia (except Turkmenistan) on upgrading media/NGO websites to meet contemporary standards, and on their promotion online. Alaksiej is also running an online training centre for the Central Asians preparing the specialists in SMO promotion.
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