KNOWLEDGE FOR DEVELOPMENT

About Us

danilo

Danilo Piagessi

Global outlook

Outlook

FRAmericas is built on the concept that all social phenomena are inter-connected and global in nature, and on the belief that investing in human knowledge would maximize the benefit of this inter-connectedness. Economic stability in the poorest parts of the world reduces pressure on the richest regions; control of environmental degradation in developing countries amount to sustained ecosystem services locally, but also to reduced risks of climate change impacts for the rest of the world; knowledge generated in one region of the planet can be hugely useful and consequential in another.
FRAmericas also believes that new technologies bid great promise to allow countries to leapfrog to better, more inclusive and democratic futures, as technology innovation can multiply the reach and benefits of development investment, and touch wider audiences that could not have been easily reached by more conventional means. The accelerated pace at which technology innovation grows must be harnessed to put it to use to improve the conditions of all humanity, not only of the privileged few. Societies based on technology innovation and knowledge products are societies with the potential to become more egalitarian, more equitable and more prosperous in a sustainable way.
While large international organizations such as the United Nations and Multi-Lateral Development Banks work to create this balance at a macro scale, there is ample room and need for interventions at the local level, where citizens on both sides of the spectrum can act directly to positively affect one another. This is the realm of non-for-profits such as FRAmericas: the creation of bridges between citizens and private organizations worldwide, who believe in the value of individual actions to achieve global impacts. FRAmericas aims to give individuals a choice in the way their tax dollars are used: through the central government accounts, or in clearly identified, transparently managed, and directly beneficial projects and actions that benefit many while at the same time generate global public goods such as social stability and a sustainable environment.
FRAmericas’ global vocation is reflected in its own history: born in Italy and acting in Europe in coordination with the OECD; incorporated in the USA and working for developing countries in the three continents it also fosters south-south cooperation among them. FRAmericas uses all possible connections and networks to maximize the impact of its activities. Through FRAmericas, citizens of all countries gain a window to other realities and other perspectives. Through FRAmericas, individuals and private organizations are empowered to take action locally and achieve results globally.

Objectives

Objectives

FRAmericas’ objective is to promote socio-economic development by contributing to the creation of knowledge societies, capable of enhancing income opportunities and quality of life for low-income groups.
To achieve this objective, FRAmericas has concentrated its efforts initially in two areas: promoting innovation in the scope and means of development assistance, and advising on public policies needed to support such innovation. To support innovation FRAmericas promotes technological and organizational innovation projects applied to the search for solutions and alternatives for humanity to cope with today’s most pressing global issues, such as social inclusion, climate change, alternative energy sources, and urban growth, among others. To foster corresponding changes in public policy FRAmericas promotes the discussion and analysis of areas which are perceived to hold the greatest potential for changing significantly the future of humanity, such as converging technologies, Web Democracy, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) applied to development purposes, the growth of Knowledge Economies and the creation of Knowledge Societies.

Priority Areas of Interest and Work

FRAmericas works through three main programs:

Design and implementation of development projects through its International Knowledge Economy Program (IKEP)

IKEP provides technical assistance to Governments and direct financial assistance to practitioners for the development and application of technology innovation to development strategies, tools and products. IKEP utilizes the latest information and communication technologies to foster the creation and expansion of the Knowledge Society in developing countries.
At the country or “macro” level, IKEP fosters planning tools that exploit a country’s comparative advantage through investment in sectors whose growth is based on the capture and dissemination of knowledge, as a tradable good. Typically, these projects will seek to identify where the knowledge capital of a given country lays, whether it is in the wealth of traditional knowledge accumulated by local communities; or new knowledge derived from original research; or knowledge adapted from other sources to conform to the needs of a certain client group. At the organization or “micro” level, IKEP fosters growth strategies aimed at increasing effectiveness, efficiency or coverage, by fostering improved management of existing or newly acquired knowledge available to the organization.
To promote the expansion of Knowledge Societies whether at the macro or micro levels, IKEP fosters the application of an architecture which includes the simultaneous and coordinated implementation of action in five areas: research in technology innovation; investment in education; social inclusion; expansion of ICT infrastructure; and the establishment of enabling government policies, including intellectual property rights. It is the simultaneity of the intervention in several fields that distinguishes IKEP’s approach to development from other –more conventional– methods, which are typically sector-specific; IKEP’s approach bears greater promise to achieve durable solutions to the complex problems faced by low-income communities and developing countries in general.
FRAmericas develops strategic project ideas in favor of developing countries with active participation of potential beneficiaries. IKEP projects also promote south-south cooperation to multiply the impact of project financing.

Life-long education through the ICT4DEVIS program

FRAmericas’ Information and Communication Technology for Development International School (ICT4DEVIS) provides life-long learning opportunities for those interested in bridging internet-related applications to development needs. ICT4DEVIS offers formal education and training opportunities for students and practitioners of any age interested in furthering their education in the fields of technology and innovation for international development.
FRAmericas uses this program to prepare the future “change agents” in the field of ICT and all technology innovation applications for development. Sessions are organized and hosted by prestigious Universities worldwide offering conceptual and practical contents to bridge technology to development. Sessions involve in-person participation as well as simultaneous distance learning facilities. Students and interested parties –individually or in groups—of all ages and from different backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Previous sessions have been organized and hosted by the University of Insubria, Como, Italy; and by the Interactive Robots and Media Lab & the Software & Knowledge Engineering Lab at NCSR “Demokritos”, in Athens, Greece, in collaboration with the ARCOMEM and SOCIALSENSOR FP7 ICT research projects of the European Union.

Networking , advocacy and open fora through the AKNOS program

Using the platform “Academy for Knowledge Society” (AKNOS) FRAmericas disseminates best practices in worldwide efforts to foster knowledge-based economic growth and local action of global significance, through networks, fora, advocacy and publications. FRAmericas acts as a hub for current, former and future development practitioners interested in pursuing the promise of new technologies to achieve development objectives at an accelerated rate and with a wider reach. FRAmericas aims to build a strong network of experts, decision-makers, researchers, opinion leaders and regular citizens and it provides a forum where each can have a voice and express an opinion on the topics on the table. To do this, FRAmericas makes use of state-of-the-art Web-based information and the latest telecommunications technology to host Webinars where this discussion can take place. Observations derived from these virtual and in-person meetings are immediately available to the public. Special briefings and short summary documents are prepared for target audiences.

Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi

Technical assistance and investment development projects

FRA generates, promotes and supports the execution of small to medium scale development projects for the benefit of low-income groups, with special emphasis on those least favored in their societies. FRAmericas often finances the pre-investment phase, developing project proposals tailored to potential financing sources. FRAmericas keeps a portfolio of potential projects and acts as a nexus between the demand and the supply of technical assistance to governments for development project preparation and financing. FRAmericas establishes alliances and agreements with local partners to facilitate and reduce the costs of project implementation, while at the same time enhancing local capacities. FRAmericas also provides an opportunity for volunteer work by development workers who may be an under-utilized source of knowledge and expertise, to engage them in the various facets and stages of project conceptualization and implementation.
FRAmericas guarantees the lowest possible transaction and operation costs, so that virtually 100% of the donation values received by FRAmericas goes to cover direct project costs.

Strategic alliances

FRAmericas strives to become a valuable strategic partner with a number of organizations interested in multiplying the impact of their investments and donations. FRAmericas seeks alliances with:

  • Prestigious Universities, think-tanks, and foundations developing technology innovations with applications for the solution of development challenges;
  • Private corporations and private enterprises that are at the leading edge of innovation worldwide, and which could be interested in showcasing their products for the large audiences and markets in developing countries, while at the same time furthering social causes and combating poverty; and,
  • Multilateral and bilateral actors who seek technical inter-mediation or advise for the design and implementation of development projects in FRAmericas fields of interest.

Internships and Fellowships

FRAmericas offers Internships and Fellowship to engage thinkers of all regions interested in contributing to the work FRAmericas does. With support from Sponsors, the Internships and Fellowship programs permit participants to undertake short and medium term focus-projects in the fields of expertise and interest of the institution. FRAmericas operates a network of researchers, thinkers, project workers, who generate original work to be published and discussed. The Fellowship Program, in particular, allows FRAmericas to analyze international trends and events that relate to, or affect public socioeconomic policy, as well as to identify areas where project work can have the greatest results. FRAmericas Fellowship program includes graduate students of varied backgrounds, as well as individuals with practical experience and great wealth of knowledge –often underutilized and under-estimated– willing to spread the benefits of their knowledge for the benefit of others.

Communications strategy

FRAmericas implements a two-pronged communications strategy: (i) interactive, web-based communication program through which all information about the work of the institution and the results of its endeavors is made transparent; and (ii). FRAmericas pages in networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, through which FRAmericas events could be followed by the larger community of people interested in the issues and events undertaken by FRAmericas. As the institution grows, other communication instruments will be developed, with a view to engage ever growing audiences in the discussion of the globally relevant issues FRAmericas’ work touches.

Grants

With support from Sponsors, FRAmericas is working to create a system of Grants to be assigned under competition to young students, researchers and practitioners worldwide, who can come up with innovative ideas to solve development problems and need funding to prove them. The FRAmericas grant program will be perhaps the one instrument with the greatest and farthest-reaching impact, and its results will be reported annually.

Membership

Finally, FRAmericas is analyzing the possibility of becoming a membership organization, developing a broad base that would be the backing to its proposals and opinions; using Web-based technology FRAmericas could reach out to students, researchers and practitioners engaged in innovation, public policy, development assistance, and similar subjects, and derive strength from their participation.

A low ecological footprint organization

FRAmericas operates under “virtual” offices and “cloud”-based communications and interaction means. Ad-hoc meeting space is rented when needed; employees, consultants and interns maximize teleworking, thus reducing transportation costs and improving their well-being. Through these simple tactics, FRAmericas keeps its operational costs to a minimum and is able to use the majority of funding it receives to field projects, while at the same time minimizing its ecological footprint.

Advisory Board

FRAmericas will be governed by a flexible, lean and Web-based operative Board, made of salient experts and prestigious scholars from around the world, who enlarge the scope and reach of the institution.