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Mediating voices and communicating realities: Using information crowdsourcing tools, open data initiatives and digital media to support and protect the vulnerable and marginalised

This report investigates how the next generation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) — such as open mapping and open source crowdsourcing platforms — can empower vulnerable communities and build local capacity.

It is based on an investigation of how initiatives such as Map Kibera, an online community information source based in Kenya, contribute to creating shared information resources. The empirical data also provide insights into the hurdles and opportunities facing marginalised communities using these innovative communication tools. The report also presents results from interviews of leaders of ICT initiatives deployed to support post-reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

It outlines the challenges of using ICT for development, including the need to balance short-term individual benefits with longer-term agendas and the responsibility of those in charge to build trusting relationships to diffuse tensions emerging from free information sharing.

The study highlights the role of open-source social entrepreneurs as a new development actor, and the opportunities for collaboration between development and technology practitioners. The report suggests a follow-up research agenda to build upon this initial investigation.

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