Archive for November, 2008

I met Jan on the ferry last night. We talked about the project, issues of peak oil and implications for the long term sustainability of the Seuang River Community – and the environmental impact of international jet travel to the region. It was a reminder to me that whilst at the moment we can hop around the world in planes, and youth from different parts of the world can visit the Seuang River Communities in person, it may soon become too costly to do this. What happens to the Seuang River Communities that become reliant on eco-tourism when fewer people can travel due to cost or political upheaval such as in Thailand now? Will they be in a worse situation than now, having given up and forgotten traditional ways of living?

Whilst one function of our activity is to support visiting student groups I believe our greater challenge is to seek elegant ways to engage from a distance, to provide virtual connectedness and wealth creation that are immune from a reduction in physical visitor numbers – and that this is achieved with full and empowered participation of the Seuang River Communities.

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I had a Skype call this morning with Antonella in London. She had just reviewed the first draft of the Mission Statement and wanted to discuss. She asked lots of great questions. Listening to her confusion raised some important distinctions. Key considerations for me where:

1. That what we are up to is harnessing social media and gaming to support an existing education and eco-tourism project, and that this needs to be articulated clearly.

2. That the project we are supporting is already established, is credible and has the support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Luang Prabang Provincial Tourism Authority and Pak Xeng District Authority, the Eco Systems Grants Programme from the Netherlands and a Public / Private Partnership comprising 12 villages in Seuang River Valley and North by North East Travel Services Co. Ltd. / SK Travel Luang Prabang.

3. That our goal to raise US$20k for the building of an education centre is just one of many outcomes.

4. That what we are creating is a pilot for use of new media technology designs that are about making a difference and providing connection in a global world. These designs will support the Seuang River initiative in becoming self sustaining through generating visitor groups and funding, and may be applied to other similar initiatives at a later time.

5. That we need to develop a clear pathway for what we are intending to achieve – short and long term -and keep it simple.

Antonella recommended that we look at the tools provided by Keystone Accountability and consider completing ‘A Framework for Accountability and Learning for Social Change

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