Communication Initiative Network on land rights

It seems like every time people of my generation (if you know how to use typewriter correction fluid, count yourself in) begin to congratulate ourselves on having the technical savvy to do something like start a blog, innovations like Twitter comes along and knock us on our collective ears. In that vein, I would like to thank Jens Matthes for drawing my attention to a fascinating website that at first glance was nearly incomprehensible to me, but which has published some very interesting texts on land rights.

Communication Initiative Network inhabits a slightly opaque website, where it describes itself as an “online space for sharing the experiences of, and building bridges between, the people and organisations engaged in or supporting communication as a fundamental strategy for economic and social development and change”. At first glance, this seems like a rather broad approach. On an admittedly cursory survey of people and organizations interested in social change that I am aware of, I couldn’t think of a single one opposed to communication as a fundamental strategy (well … at least not openly).

However, upon reviewing the specific document Jens brought to my attention, a weekly newsletter called Drumbeat, I began to see the logic. The current issue of Drumbeat, number 537, is entitled “Land and Communication” and contains a wealth of interesting titles on topics ranging from land and resource rights advocacy and land access for women to community mapping and participatory management of land and forests.

The trick is that all of these titles link to pages on the CIN site that were created by people working on land rights issues for outside organizations. In these pages, some of which are quite up to date and others of which hark back as far as 2005, the initiators of specific projects (websites, books, communities of practice, reports, surveys) explain the nature of what they are doing, their communication strategy and key substantive arguments. In other words, the Drumbeat is not really a newsletter in a traditional sense but rather a periodic thematic guide to the otherwise daunting thicket of updates that can be searched by “regions”, “development issues” and “communications approaches” under the various “knowledge section” headings given at the top left of the main page.

So there it is, and I suppose most of you tech-savvier and better-informed youngsters out there have known about it forever. But as a tip for the accidental Luddites like me, I hope it may be helpful.

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