PLA 59: Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development

This special edition of Participatory Learning and Action looks at emerging web services and applications that encourage users to collaborate and interact online, commonly known as Web 2.0.

Article, 31 May 2009
Participatory Learning and Action
A journal for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike.

cover imageJune 2009

Guest editors: Holly Ashley, Jon Corbett, Ben Garside and Giacomo Rambaldi

Web 2.0 is radically changing the ways we create, share, collaborate and publish information via the internet. Participatory Web 2.0 for development – or Web2forDev for short – is a way of employing web services to intentionally improve information-sharing and online collaboration for development. Web 2.0 presents us with new opportunities and challenges which we need to better understand and grasp.

This special issue shares learning and reflections from practice and considers the ways forward for using Web 2.0 for development:

  • Part I introduces both Web 2.0 tools and the concept of Web2forDev.
  • Part II examines some uses of specific Web 2.0 tools for development purposes.
  • Part III focuses on the integration of multiple Web 2.0 tools to address specific issues.
  • Part IV discusses theory and reflections on practice, including lessons learnt from experience, challenges identified, and ways forward.
  • Part V Tips for trainers provides a collection of short introductions to Web 2.0 tools.

Most of the themed articles are based on presentations made at the Web2forDev conference, which was held in September 2007 at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The conference was the first international event focusing specifically on how Web 2.0 tools could be used to the advantage of Southern development actors, operating in the sectors of agriculture, rural development and natural resource management.

Co-published by IIED and CTA.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Content can be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is fully acknowledged. 

Follow the links below to download the whole issue or individual articles in pdf format.

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Also available in French (en Français)



Part I: Overview

Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development 
Holly Ashley, Jon Corbett, Ben Garside , Dave Jones and Giacomo Rambaldi

The two hands of Web2forDev: a conference summary 
Chris Addison

Part II: Studies of Web 2.0 tools 

Exploring the potentials of blogging for development 
Christian Kreutz

Web 2.0 tools to promote social networking for the Forest Connect alliance 
Duncan Macqueen

Promoting information-sharing in Ghana using video blogging 
Prince Deh

Mobile phones: the silver bullet to bridge the digital divide? 
Roxanna Samii

Part III: Issue-based studies

Anti social-computing: indigenous language, digital video and intellectual property 
Jon Corbett and Tim Kulchyski

Tools for enhancing knowledge-sharing in agriculture: improving rural livelihoods in Uganda 
Ednah Akiiki Karamagi and Mary Nakirya

Ushahidi or 'testimony': Web 2.0 tools for crowdsourcing crisis information 
Ory Okolloh

Web 2.0 for Aboriginal cultural survival: a new Australian outback movement 
Jon Corbett, Guy Singleton and Kado Muir

Part IV: Theory and reflection on practice

Circling the point: from ICT4D to Web 2.0 and back again 
Anriette Esterhuysen

Web 2.0 tools for development: simple tools for smart people 
Ethan Zuckerman

The Web2forDev story: towards a community of practice 
Anja Barth and Giacomo Rambaldi

Part V: Tips for trainers

Web 2.0 tools: a series of short introductions 
Holly Ashley, Dave Jones and Luigi Assom with Jon Corbett, Ben Garside, Christian Kreutz, Kevin Painting, Duncan Macqueen and Giacomo Rambaldi

There are vast numbers of Web 2.0 tools, applications, platforms, and services available. Many of them are free or low-cost and easy-to-use. In this issue, we present a series of short introductory guides to a selection of commonly-used Web 2.0 tools. Each introductory guide provides a brief description of the tool and how it can be used for development purposes, along with links to further information and where applications can be downloaded online. We hope that you find these short introductions useful and welcome feedback from our readers.

i. Blogging: Tips on how to create and maintain a dynamic and popular development blog

ii. Micro-blogging and Twitter: Tips on using micro-blogging tool Twitter to communicate about development

iii. Wikis: Tips on online collaboration for development using wikis

iv. Online social networking: Tips on using online social networks for development

v. RSS feeds: Tips on using RSS feeds to access and share development-related content online content - and how to filter it for relevance

vi. Tagging: Tips on using tags and tagging for development-related online content

vii. Social bookmarking: Tips on using social bookmarks for development-related online content

viii. Glossary of Web 2.0 terms

For more information about the examples of development websites listed in the guides, see e-participation In Touch, p.130 (this issue).

In Touch
Includes reviews of books and other resources, e-participation, events and training and RCPLA Network pages.