The following guest post is by Kersti Ruth Wissenbach, an independent consultant for Open for Change and the Open Knowledge Foundation Ambassador for the Neatherlands.

Kicking off during Open Development Camp 2013, Open for Change and the Open Knowledge Foundation Open Development working group are launching a series of debates aimed at engaging the global open development community in a conversation about the pressing issues facing the open development movement. Together, we want to:

  • identify the core issues the emerging field of open development should be addressing
  • determine the role of open development in reshaping the development paradigm
  • engage the broader global community to co-design a roadmap for the future of open development


The first in the series of debates will be held at the Open Development Camp in Amsterdam later this week. The outcomes of this debate will be used to identify themes and tensions in the open development space and will ultimately shape the direction of the online portion of this debate series. The online debates will be open to participation from all members of the global open development community and will be recorded and shared on the series’ blog (coming soon). The series will be continued online throughout the first half of 2014 before being brought back offline and wrapped up at the OKFestival in Berlin (July 2014). Our aim is to bring together members of the open development community in a global conversation.

ODC2013 Kick-off debate, November 8, 2013 (2PM – 3PM), AmLab Amsterdam:
‘Open Development and the new paradigm of change’ – Shifting implications of international development and the role of open development

This debate aims to be a kick-off call for stronger cross-domain collaboration and as such broader development definition within the open development domain. It calls for a more pro-active role for the open development group to help connect and “re-contextualise” experiences in other domains from one “local situation” to another, especially towards the marginalised voices.

Discussion Points

  • Development Paradigms and Civic Driven Change – how new means for citizen agency and global networking are reshaping the prevailing development paradigm (or not)
    • Moving away from aid focus – moving from development as geographical or economic divides towards development as political and rights based divides
  • The Role of Open Development – What does it mean and where are we heading?
    • framing Open Development
    • opening up towards other domains –> focus cross-domain collaboration (synergies etc.)

The Open Knowledge Foundation Netherlands will facilitate the launch of this series during Open Development Camp 2013. This will be an open session. We warmly invite everyone to join the debate. We have invited a few people to provide their input based on their valuable experience.

The first debate will feature:

Frans Bieckman. Co-founder, executive director and editor in chief, The Broker
In August 2012, Bieckmann published his latest book ‘Soedan – Het sinistere spel om macht, rijkdom en olie’, a detailed analysis of the international involvement with Sudan and the conflict in Darfur. Bieckmann studied international relations at the University of Amsterdam, and worked for 25 years as a journalist, researcher, and advisor. He is a partner in the research bureau WiW- Global Research & Reporting, which specializes in international relations, globalization and development cooperation. In the book ‘De wereld volgens prins Claus’ (2004, 2011), he described the involvement of the Dutch Prince Claus with Africa and development cooperation. In 2008 he published, together with Ellen Lammers, ‘Hivos! 1968-2008 – Een onvoltooide geschiedenis, van hulp naar andersglobalisme’.

Erik Nijland. Coordinator Global Action, Making All Voices Count programme
Erik Nijland (1957) works since 2000 for Hivos and since June 2013 joined the Making All Voices Count programme as Coordinator Global Action. He has master’s degrees in geography and business administration and has worked extensively in Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, Uganda, Zimbabwe, India and Nepal. Prior to joining Hivos, he worked for SNV, NUFFIC, the Municipality of Eindhoven and MSF.

Chat Garcia Ramilo. Deputy Executive Director, Association for Progressive Communication
Chat has been a gender, women’s rights and information and communication technology specialist for 15 years. Chat was the manager of the APC’s women’s programme from 2005 – 2012 and led the development, fundraising and management of 9 multi-country ICT for development projects that focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment. She managed APC’s gender evaluation methodology project from 2001-2005 and was lead author of Gender Evaluation Methodologies for Internet and ICTs (GEM), published in 2005. Chat has worked as a gender and ICT consultant for CIDA, IDRC, World Bank, UNIFEM, UNESCAP and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. Chat is the Board Chair of the Center for Migrant Advocacy in the Philippines. She lives in the Philippines with her son.

The first debate will be facilitated by:

Kersti Ruth Wissenbach – independent consultant Open for Change, Ambassador Open Knowledge Foundation NL

Kersti is a consultant in the field of human rights advocacy, open development and ICT4D, having a strong focus on freedom of expression, access to information and inclusion. She works as campaign strategist, co-creator, and lecturer and has been responsible for strategic planning, advice, and implementation processes in various countries, consulting a diversity of local, national and international stakeholders. Kersti is an untiring advocate of cross-media solutions and co-creation approaches; driven by demands and relevancy to the people she works with.
Kersti also works as Strategic Advisor for the Amsterdam based Thinknet The Broker which serves to broker knowledge between academic research, high-level policy making and practitioners.She represents the OKFN as NL ambassador and researches on the intersection of digital media, activism and community building as external PhD of the University of Amsterdam.

With her combined expertise as practitioner, researcher and lecturer Kersti is merging different disciplines and is a strong advocate of interdisciplinary approaches as well as a stronger linkage between the academic and practical work field.

kersti [at]

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