Erica Hagen is a journalist and international development practitioner working for democracy of information and citizen participation in both online and traditional media. She is the co-founder of Map Kibera and GroundTruth Initiative. Erica has worked in four countries on development communication and evaluation, and in the United States on refugee and immigrant issues, for organizations such as United Nations Population Fund, Concern Worldwide, and Unicef. She holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York.
From Information to Empowerment: Unpacking the Equation
In 2010, Erica Hagen and Mikel Maron started GroundTruth Initiative to work towards empowering communities through open data, open information and participatory processes. Erica's and Mikel's work at GroundTruth is informed by their earlier experience of working with the Map Kibera project where they helped the youth and the communities in Kibera to map their geographies and represent information about themselves to the world through citizen media. In the process, Erica and Mikel uncovered several complex dynamics about self-representation by communities, what open data really means to communities and how they apply it to their circumstances, the dynamics between participatory development and participatory technologies, and the process of using community media tools and online methods for talking about issues that matter to them.
In this lecture, Erica Hagen will talk about her work with communities in Kenya, Jerusalem, Nigeria and other parts of the world through GroundTruth Initiative. Specifically, Erica will unpack the relationship between empowerment, information, and storytelling, and what both these elements mean to communities in different parts of the world. How are communities applying the information and data that they collect about their governments and themselves? What are the challenges involved in the process of working with open data, participatory processes and technologies? How can communities apply new media and data gathering tools to achieve local goals? What does empowerment mean in the face of the delicate lines and precariousness that communities and the interveners/practitioners have to tread in the process of data gathering, representation, communication and outputs?