Bayoom Hub is an incorporated social enterprise designed around the principles of learning economics. We build learning systems to help communities stabilize and thrive. Learning is about integrating what the community already knows, what is known about outside pressures, what the latest technology has to offer and incorporating the latest in digital analysis so that communities can adapt and adjust. We are a collective of people who have been brought together over many years who are involved in both academic and field research. Our research in the area extends over a decade.
We pilot tested one application of the idea in Zambia with substantial success. We chose an application in the field of education although a resource in learning can apply to health care, community building, economic development, refugees, technology, agriculture and many others. See some video excepts from our Zambians participants here.
When knowledge is thought of as a primary resource, then communities are formed or strengthened. Knowledge shared is knowledge increased. Learning is enhanced and becomes relevant when knowledge is built as a collective. Methods of training and learning build collective impetus when local and global contexts are systemically merged. Both local and global contexts are strengthened.
A global system of networked knowledge may benefit those who are facile with networks – human, organizational and cyber – but the same system is further sidelining communities which are marginalized, have poor quality education and are losing their youngest, most facile members. Increasing levels of poverty, unemployment, ill health and loss of working age populations create a cycle of deteriorating resilience and adaptation.
Yet such communities are not without inherent strengths. They understand the impact of the global forces that are brought to their boundaries – climate change, disease, population shifts, social and economic dynamics. They have existing social, political and economic systems that have made some adaptations to modern challenges. They have young populations who are eager to learn and take advantage of new opportunities. A community-based learning system which takes advantage of the strengths, is aimed specifically at increasing resilience and is built around knowledge-economic incentives may be sustainable, and have positive returns to the global community.
The missing element for these communities is the ability to assess resource efficacy within a local context that is changing dynamically. Specially, the ability to:
- understand new situations, analyze them and combine this knowledge with existing circumstances, resources and understandings;
- access, learn from, use and integrate knowledge from global sources into the local solutions; and,
- adapt these solutions based upon feedback of success, analysis and increased understanding as learning progresses.
Much of this requires specific, local knowledge, but knowledge which is integrated with global resources and guidance.
Bayoom Hub is a learning system that works as a teaching tool, a facilitation tool and a partnership to guide communities through increasing layers of ability to analyze dynamic problems and find solutions that work within local circumstances (physical, knowledge, culture, trust). The process begins exactly opposite of traditional “development projects” – with the community. The community identifies a problem and a group of people who want to work on the problem. BOH is invited to work with the community to define the problem, community and outcomes if such have not been carefully defined initially. BOH and the community work together to determine whether or not the BOH approach might work. If so, the learning network is expanded to include some of BOH specialists who collaborate with the community to develop a learning/ investigation strategy. These BOH specialized teams move back and forth between our global hub (largely virtual) and the local community.
BOH teams are dynamic and gradually integrate community members, increasing their competence, absorbing their knowledge, raising community sustainability, and empowering individual members. As the process moves forward, national/ regional/ global crowd sourcing may widen the network. In final stages, other agencies may be brought in to provide specific resources as the community identifies its first steps and needs in tackling the issue.
On the global level, community/expert collaboration in research enhances possible solutions or approaches that will add stability to the community. Additional resources may be requested from other entities such as universities, global organizations, government or NGOs. Meanwhile, the community is developing and disseminating new knowledge to the world through BOH. Also, there is an ongoing process of learning within the community, at BOH, among the larger network and out to the world. Value, learning and sustainability is being gained for the community, BOH, researchers, linked agencies and the world.