powerful information: empowering local people to tackle social injustice and build a better future

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Origins & Development

Powerful Information was conceived in West Africa in 1989 following a fact-finding visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Ghana. We were shocked to discover what poor access local organisations and even government agencies had to good quality, up-to-date information.

In the early years we worked with indigenous CSOs and local resource centres to select and supply high quality specialist publications - the first photo (1994) shows a shipment of carefully-selected environmental books and reports ready for dispatch. In those days we operated from the front room! In total, we sent out over £100,000 worth of materials free of charge to several dozen resource centres - one of which, located in Kano, Northern Nigeria, is shown in the second photo. We also prepared a number of briefings and manuals.

However, as electronic communication systems have advanced and ideas about the nature of learning and social change have evolved, we have shifted our focus towards partnership working and skill-sharing. We find the main barriers to communication are more to do with people’s understanding, attitude and behaviour than with poor access to information or even technology.

Today we support local initiative and help build local capacity and promote community development. Capacity-building involves staff training and strategic planning, and improving information management, project design and implementation; it also involves monitoring and evaluation and proper reporting. Promoting community development involves working with individuals and groups to build understanding, trust and confidence, and support local projects that improve the quality of community life.

For more information about our current work press here.