Q&A with Darren Bunton, Human Rights Activist
By now you’ve definitely spotted it: Changemakers is changing. One of the most visible developments is changeshops, an improved way to help build the world of social good. Changeshops is still a very young network, but we’re already seeing signs of its potential. As the community grows, we’re asking a few top users to share the exciting projects popping up.
Today Darren Bunton, executive director and chairman of Eway Foundation, talks about growing the foundation’s Ethical Citizen Media project, the difference between Facebook and Twitter and changeshops, and keeping in touch with innovators all over the world.
Changemakers: How did you first discover Changemakers—was it through our shared interest in supporting citizen media initiatives?
Bunton: I came across a link to Ashoka on World Pulse, an online community of women across the globe who are fighting for gender equality and human rights. I was doing my due diligence and nosing around the partners page, and started reading what Ashoka was all about when I stumbled across Changemakers.
I saw the competitions page and thought it would be advantageous for me, the Eway Foundation, and Eway Entertainment to get involved. For the last seven or eight months, I must say, it has been a very educational experience with plenty of networking opportunities for all involved.
Changemakers: Late last year, you were invited to participate in changeshops, Changemakers' new platform for transparent, open growth. How did you see changeshops fitting into the larger social networking space?
Bunton: My initial impression was, "Wow!" I was kind of blown away at how many opportunities existed for people like myself and my organization to get involved with Changemakers' initiatives. I was overwhelmed upon receiving the invitation for the beta. Changeshops fits in the social networking space with shareability, most notably.
But it's a different platform. I would compare it to LinkedIn before I would make a comparison to Facebook. The way I interact on Facebook is totally different than the way I interact on Changemakers.com, within changeshops, and different than the way I work on Twitter.
Different networks have different environments, and relationships within those. Professionally, with the purpose of developing innovations, I'm learning as the platform develops. There is constant room for improvement, but it was nice experience to bring the Ethical Citizen Media project over to the new platform.
Changemakers: Have you been able to make any strong connections?
Bunton: Jacquie Cutts, yes. [Editor’s note: Read our last week’s interview with Cutts here]. Her changeshop is one I will emulate for Ethical Citizen Media. I like the way she constructed it, has kept us informed, even up to her most recent visit to Uganda—kudos to her.
Jacquie has been in communication with Brian Rich, the vice president at Eway. We have made a range of connections on changeshops, from Rob Wilson of Ashoka UK to Sharon Newman Ehrlich of Community Science and Technology Education Project (CSTEP). We talk about ongoing projects or simply share ideas.
The Eway foundation is an initiative of the Eway Entertainment Group that was established to fulfill the organization’s commitment to human rights and social justice. The foundation’s Ethical Citizen Media project offers training and certification in reporting, recording, and broadcasting news, with the goal of ramping-up citizen media participation in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where access to the Web and social media technologies is often limited.
To learn more, check out Ethical Citizen Media’s changeshop.