US Agency for International Development (AECOM)

Fact Macedonia: Online Media Resource to Counter Fake News in Macedonia

The media environment in Macedonia is populated by outlets managed by particular parties and ideologies, some funded by outside sources providing fake stories to influence opinion. The project was designed to counter those influences and involved creating an online media resource in Macedonian, Albanian and English (for the large Macedonian diaspora) with a social media component. The strategy was to design the platform to work like, and integrate with, popular social media platforms and to use social media influencers to move people discreetly to more objective news sources. The original project implementers were a cultural entity in Skopje with a large constituency and mailing list (80,000) of progressive young users. The project was to be self sustainable largely by selling space to advertisers while keeping it free for subscribers and encouraging them to sign up.

The Principal of Internaut Consulting was involved in the development of the platform, articulation of the influencer strategy and user requirements document in addition to developing the evaluation parameters for the IT firm contracted to develop the platform. In addition, Internaut Consulting worked with the implementers on the preliminary marketing and sustainability plan to influence users, advertisers and legitimate media outlets to sign up and use it.

While is country for the assignment above, Internaut Consulting was contracted separately to assist in the initial formation of a National ICT Strategy for Macedonia. In this context the Principal developed job descriptions for various project personnel, recommended some implementers for the project and researched the best in class examples of national ICT plan development strategy frameworks, existing national ICT plans and comparative reviews.

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Online Nonprofit Administrative Resource Directory was a comprehensive, searchable database directory of administrative resources for nonprofits designed to assist them in leveraging their own capacity using a trusted source networks of information and resources they could rely upon. It was available from 2005-2015 until merging into the resource directory in a bid to aggregate programmatic and administrative resources. It promoted peer review by allowing members to comment on and rate individual resource links. The system became more useful to users every time someone rated or commented on a resource. Capaciteria had over 120 major categories and over 2500 nonprofit resources (links, articles, books, research, forms, etc.). They ranged from finance to facilities management and included significant resources on the most popular nonprofit queries such as volunteer management, philanthropic services, fund raising services, nonprofit jobs and technology resources. Resources came from the nonprofit, commercial government and educational sector, and all could be rated and commented on.

The Principal of Internaut Consulting developed on a sabbatical from the Open Society Institute to demonstrate the ability to create a useful directory focused on administrative resources for nonprofits at a reasonably low cost. Internaut Consulting’s effective fundraising for continued support and outreach activities received a number of grants from Mario Morino, the Blue Ridge Foundation in New York and  a two year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to broaden its audience. An initial project involved developing an open Fiscal Agency list by category, further adding content resources and developing strategic partnerships with other organizations.

In an effort to consolidate and aggregate capacity resources for the benefit of the nonprofit sector, Internaut Associates agreed to merge its resources with IdeaEncore’s in an equity agreement. One Year later Nonprofit Direct, IdeaEncore and and Capaciteria all agreed to a merger with the Good Done Great Network to further aggregate both administrative and program resources on a new online platform: Internaut advised IdeaEncore on strategy during this period.


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U.S. Government

ICT as a Strategic Change Agent in Repressive Regimes

Internaut Consulting was retained to provide an analysis of technology and its potential for political change in Eurasia for an international agency of the US Government (anonymous). It addressed what elements facilitates technology as an effective strategic change agent in repressive or autocratic circumstances based on the Principal’s experience exploiting technology for social change in over 75 countries.

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International Development Research Centre

Peer Review Evaluation on Global Impact Study of Public Access to ICT

Internaut Consulting was retained by the IDRC, based on its work with telecenters and public library access, to peer review and comment on the University of Washington’s multi-year research study of public access ICT venues around the world.

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American Forum

Web site/Web 2.0/Database Overhaul & Integration

American Forum provides local editorial and commentary to news outlets across the United States through its individual state forum coverage of state assemblies. It required assistance developing an RFP to revamp its online web site presence.

Internaut Consulting was retained to assist American Forum develop a comprehensive RFP. While initially focused on upgrading its web presence, further analysis soon made clear that the project also required integrating its disparate online social networking, multi-media requirements with its online web presence, and consolidating and integrating its online and offline databases. Internaut Consulting also assisted in developing the solicitation and proposal process, finding appropriate vendor candidates and evaluating them for this larger undertaking.

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Eurasia Foundation

ICT Strategy Development

The Eurasia Foundation funds programs that build democratic and free market institutions in the twelve New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. It required a short and mid-term technology strategy.

Internaut Consulting was retained to assess the foundation’s current and long term internal systems strategy. At its request, Internaut Consulting prioritized needs and recommended short term ICT initiatives for the fund to engage in during the interim period as it searched for and hired an internal Systems Director. Internaut Consulting also assisted in prioritizing and defining the job description and skill sets a good Systems Director would need at the current stage of the organization’s development while it was decentralizing its activities.

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Council on Foundations

ICT for Philanthropy Strategy Development

To promote 21st century philanthropy and better support its membership in the strategic use or current and emerging technologies the Council of Foundations (CoF) initiated a new technology task force. CoF initiated this task force as an opportunity to upgrade its own profile in this important area to the sector.

Internaut Consulting was retained to assist in the first phase of task force development to define its focus, primary deliverables and membership through a series of interviews with technology leaders in the sector. Internaut suggested branding the Initiative ICT for P (Information and Communications for Philanthropy) in keeping with the well known ICT for D(evelopment) acronym. In the second phase, Internaut worked with the task force membership to create a proposal of recommendations to the Council on Foundation’s board in the areas of standards, policy, knowledge management, effective philanthropy, NGO partnerships and demonstration projects.

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The East-West Management Institute

Open Development Mekong Project

The East-West Management Institute (EWMI) works to strengthen democratic societies by bringing together government, civil society, and the private sector to build accountable, capable and transparent institutions. EWMI first developed and pilot a country platform called Open Development Cambodia (ODC) to better organize, share and analyze economic and environmental development and land conversion data among a network of related grassroots organizations in Cambodia using a unique open data platform to facilitate this collaboration. The platform addresses urgent areas of concern including: deforestation, land grabbing, water/food security, access to information, and freedom of expression. It also challenged critical, debilitating threats to data transparency using an approach that separated factual data from advocacy to protect it from government censorship, which is a significant issue in the region. Once the ODC pilot was proven, with tens of thousands of users accessing it per month EWMI initiated Open Development Mekong to do the same regionally in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Internaut Consulting was initially retained to research and develop grant proposals for potential donors related to the ODC web platform and to advise on its technical developments and program strategy. Funding from proposals written by Internaut Consultimh came from MacArthur Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Global Vision, American Jewish World Service, Open Society and Spider (a Swedish SIDA affiliate). Internaut Consulting also assisted in the development of a USAID technology incubator and entrepreneurship proposal in Cambodia for USAID.

As the Cambodian pilot evolved into a regional platform, Internaut Consulting’s mandate was extended to help identify a management team, find programming resources and project manage the complete overhaul of the platform deployment which included redoing the entire front and back end interface; deploying data harvesting and data sharing extensibility; allowing for native multi-lingual capability; making it accessible/responsive via mobile; cleaning up and adding thousands of records; converting the original Open Development Cambodia (ODC) platform to this new open data platform developed in WordPress and CKAN; and finally, converting the 33,000 ODC users to the new platform.

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William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Program Facilitation for the Open Education Platform:

Internaut Consulting was also retained to facilitate the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Open Education Platform discussion convened with a number of developers and educators in an effort to consolidate a cooperative strategy going forward.

Proposal Evaluation for Performing Arts Program and Open Education Platform

The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation makes grants to organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to ensure that art is created, performed, and preserved, and more opportunities are provided to participate in arts experiences. The program required support evaluating a competitive RFP to develop an on online interactive GIS mapping of the performing arts community in San Francisco.

Internaut Consulting was retained to review the initial RFP before it was released to strengthen deliverables and clarify what was being asked as well as responding to vendor questions and developing criteria for evaluating the proposals. Internaut Consulting reviewed the proposals to select the strongest provider of technical services, content identification and data collection.

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Developing Radio Partners

Messaging and Organizational Strategy

Developing Radio Partners (DRP) builds vibrant, participatory communities internationally, through the development of financially and editorially independent media services with a focus on community radio. The IDEA Network is an initiative of Developing Radio Partners (DRP) providing targeted issue area (health, environment) support. DRP required help with organizational strategy, messaging, development and issue prioritization.

Internaut Consulting was retained to assist DRP in modifying its very process-oriented organizational identity and messaging that promoted its more traditional [and dated] focus of radio. The DRP strategy was retooled around its IDEA network initiative focusing on well defined donor support areas (environment and health). Its tried and tested process methodologies weer then tied, as supplemental selling points, to these focused issue areas.

In addition, Internaut Consulting helped strengthen a collaborative partnership with Frontline SMS, a progressive development technology using text messaging, to leverage DRP as an entity that could both broadcast and receive local community input in low technology environments. This further enhanced DRP’s attractiveness to donors with its ability to meld old and new technology to achieve results, rather than promoting just its one way broadcasting capabilities (radio). This new strategy and messaging was then utilized to attract more progressive funding support for DRP activities and within months DRP had new projects and support.

Note: This project was the result of Internaut Consulting being retained to review proposals and provide ongoing advice and evaluation to an anonymous major media donor on convergence projects that merged Internet and traditional media.

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