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Charity seeks information on rural social networking for development

The Arkleton Trust is a UK-based charity with a special interest in stimulating thinking about new approaches to innovation and education in rural areas throughout the world. The Trust has now invited applications for short-term funded fellowship support to explore issues surrounding the contribution of social networking towards sustainable rural development.

The Arkleton Trust and the Bernard Conyers Fund have a history of sponsoring fellowships seeking to understand innovative approaches to rural education and development. The purpose of these fellowships is to provide younger and mid-career professionals working as rural development practitioners with opportunities to widen their experience in particular thematic areas. Fellows are assisted to investigate different ways of tackling issues and diverse cultural and political contexts.

Trust Director, Caroline Higgs, said Social networking using new technology is clearly making a significant impact upon social interaction and society more generally. What is less well known is the extent and scope to which social networking, in its various forms, is currently contributing to development in rural areas. This is what we want to explore.

Due to the fast-changing nature of this sector it is difficult to predict future outcomes, but we know that many rural communities and organisations have already taken advantage of social networking facilities to improve local conditions or to communicate their own particular views to the global community.

The Fellowship may be used to explore and focus attention on the use of social networking by a specific sector (e.g. health, or local government) or a specific geographical locality (e.g. cross-organisational support within a region) anywhere in the world. The Trust is particularly interested in the documentation of case studies of good practice of actual working examples rather than projects yet to be deployed.

Fellowship awards to individuals will be around 3,000 although sponsorship up to 5,000 may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Further information and application details are on the Arkleton Trust website at http://www.arkletontrust.co.uk

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