(from the list of my contributions to the Africa_web_content_owner (AWCO) list; source: AWCO archives)
[africa_web_content_owner] Re: Ivory Coast coup d'etat
Jan 5, 2000
Greetings! The US press characterization of Ivory Coast / Cote d'Ivoire, from what I saw, lacked a bit of depth. There were problems increasingly apparent in the last few years and some of those related to the style of rule established by the first president. One hopes that the apparent consensus both in that country and in the surrounding region in favor of democratic rule will lead to democratic rule and longer term stability.
All that said, I would still think that "bypassing" governments would not be productive and may be self-defeating. Yes, by all means work with local organizations, but in my experience you don't have to get around the authorities to do so (in fact, you may not be able to do so without govt approval).
Keep to your principles but also respect the laws. To the extent the governmental authorities themselves may not respect the laws then there's no government and we begin talking about a totally different situation.
It is also helpful to remember that "government" has many agencies and actors. In the case of international agricultural research, for example, the accepted wisdom now is to work with national agricultural research (& extension) systems (NARS [or NARES]) - they help get things done, and for long term agricultural development it is essential to help build the capacity of these systems and the people who are part of them. Without this collaboration, research with and for the benefit of poor small-scale farmers could not be effective.
In the case of public schools, couldn't you work with both teachers and administrators on one hand and parents' or community groups on the other? Or are there particular problems you've encountered?
In any event, all the best! Don Osborn, Ph.D. osborndo@...
consultant @ NRMP-Assistant-Mali@...
From: Martha Ruff [MRuff@...]
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 2:07 PM
Subject: [africa_web_content_owner] Ivory Coast coup d'etat
One of the most stable countries in Africa has been affected by unrest.
How can we work with African countries on communication projects with the threat of government instability.
Is there anyone who has been able to bypass the government and work with grass roots organizations?
As an educator, I'd like to work on internet projects with schools.