<p>In my opinion, there are many important lessons in ICT4D. Technology is becoming increasingly important not only for the globalizing world, but also for developing countries. It is important to note that because we are increasingly connected, countries in the early stages of development need to work with technology to develop in a way that allows them to compete in the globalizing world. One important lesson that seems to be often times overlooked in ICT4D is the importance of sustainability. Thousands of projects that include telecenters and old/not durable technology have failed because they do not take into account the environment and the needs of the people. Programs need to be able to be measurable and compatible with the environment to be sustainable and help the area develop in the long run. There must be a way to measure success to know if these type of projects will help millions of other people.</p><p>This brings me to another point, the needs-based approach lesson of ICT4D. Projects like One Laptop Per Child are not sustainable or helpful because they are not compatible with the skills, resources and technological understanding of the people the project was aimed to help. ICT4D projects need to focus on the capabilities of the people and how to best meet their needs with projects, whether it is the technology used or catering the training sessions/applications to the people who will be using the tools. I think that this important lesson I learned will be extremely helpful in my future. Although I am not planning to focus on ICT4D, the needs-based approach is vital in all aspects of development. Projects and tools need to be catered to the specific population being targeted. Even if I just focus on one successful method of social entrepreneurship, that method needs to be compatible with the people and the environment in which it will be used.</p><p>In the future, it would be really interesting to study more case studies. Specifically, how technology has freely come into areas without ICT4D projects being implemented. Similar to the case study about the fishermen using cell phones in India to increase their income. I think it is really important to study these topics to learn about how technology can benefit certain populations and how to create ICT4D projects from these occurrences.</p>
When summarizing the most specific lesson I can take away from this class this semester, it is without a doubt the implications of the Digital Divide. From the first introduction of the concept, I found literature framing the topic in a way I had no previously considered; the Digital Divide was and is more than groups being left out of the latest technological trends (as I had always understood it), but also the story of groups being left behind of the global economy in general. In other words, this was not just a social exclusion, or consumerism exclusion, but an economic exclusion at a very fundamental level.
I find the use of ICTs in combatting this tragedy as something that I will take with me into the future. In all areas of international development, it is important to frame projects in a way that promotes equality to all. For ICT4D, combatting the Digital Divide is a way to achieve greater equality across multiple areas. I will take to heart the success stories, from fishermen in India using SMS to improve market efficiencies to everyday citizens benefiting from mobile banking using MPESA in Kenya. The Digital Divide is all around us, but the ICT technologies we have today can help us leapfrog these challenges in smart, dignifying ways. This is the ultimate lesson I will take with me into a future with international development.
I am interested to see if in the future we can focus more on the political economy of ICT4D, or the implication of other fields in general. In other words, if we are highlighting business, banking, and industry over all throughout the semester, can we bring in tools from other disciplines for one day and understand how they measure success and if there is a connection with what ICT4D interventions achieve in developing countries. In other words, can there be a day to take a multidisciplinary approach to some of the achievements of ICT4D discussed throughout the semester? These are things I would like to have considered for future semesters.
In ICT4D this past semester, I have been afforded the opportunity to garner an understanding of the importance of Information and Communication Technologies for development of our world. To have the world stay in a relatively stagnant position, regarding technological advances, until the industrial age, one can now look back at how far human kind has come in developing itself. Now, with the developed world operating at such a high level of technological dependence, there is a calling for the rest of the world to catch up. The Internet boom and the illumination of knowledge has provided our world with the necessary tools to bring individual freedoms and rights to the people. Without technology, our world would still be stuck in the 1800′s.
The way that I interpreted ICT4D is that there was a direct correlation with technology and development, and that it was the key to making development projects/efforts a reality. One of the key lessons learned from this ICT4D class is the idea that ICT4D is now at the core of every sector of development. This shows technology’s influence over how the developed world operates, and how the underdeveloped world could be brought up to speed through the constructive use of ICT’s.
Entering this course, I was unsure what I would get out of it. I am not particularly interested in ICT or ICT interventions in development. I think I expected the course to focus mainly on ICT4D projects alone. I am happy to say that I was wrong in this assumption. This course has forced me to think critically about the role ICT plays in every development project. It is important as a hopeful international development professional to consider all aspects of interventions and adjust as appropriate. When living in such a technology dependent and abundant society, it can be easy to take it for granted. Development professional must not only think about what technology a community may need for their own growth, but what technologies the individuals and organizations will need to achieve their goals and complete their project. Perhaps one of the most important lessons is that ICT4D is all encompassing – it is not just an end, but also a means to reach an end. ICT4D means both enhancing and improving access to technology for development, but also using ICT for the successful implementation of all development projects. It was especially interesting for me to take what we learned in class and apply my experiences abroad last semester in Thailand. I found it easier to internalize and think about these big issues and how they manifest in different countries.
I appreciated all the different theoretical frameworks we looked at, because I think it is important to understand how development professional think about development and solutions, as well as formulate our own opinions about the different frameworks, what they mean, and the best way to approach the field. I think that capabilities approach and Human Centered Design are incredibly important and are on the right track to the way development should be approached. With so many failures, it is imperative that we are critical about what works and what doesn’t. Development professionals should also place an emphasis on valuing the local culture, knowledge, tradition, wisdom, and wishes of whatever community they are working with. This helps ensure that projects are successful and appropriate.
In future semesters I think it would be interesting to look at ICT in civil society and how NGOS, non-profits, and civil and social organizations can use ICT in developing countries.
Integrating Information and Communication Technology into development projects requires a multidimensional, holistic approach. It has to be founded in what the people need. It must be a collaborative solution, formed with and by the people it will affect. ICT4D solutions must be situated in a larger context of social, political, geographic, economic and cultural realities. One Laptop per Child failed when there was no background support and electricity was not widely available.
I believe a useful theoretical framework is Human-centered design. It involves focusing on what the people need. This strategy will ensure projects address relevant targets. Additionally, working with locals will help break social and cultural barriers in the project.
ICT’s and reducing hesitation. In ICT4D it is important to start small; utilize devices that are already in use. Mobile phones, radios, SMS messaging, and lower-cost technology can sometimes have the largest effect. For me, the purpose of ICT4D isn’t to advocate for ICT adoption as an ends, but rather a means to an end. Integrating ICT’s into the development agenda can have positive outcomes in diverse sectors, including health, government, education, disasters and more. So as a development professional, I will look to technologies and devices already in use and incorporate ICT’s in whatever sector I work.
This week’s reading focused on CyberSecurity and the importance of
nationalstrategies. In ITU’s report ITU National Cybersecurity Strategy Guide
written by DoctorFrederick Wamala he discusses the importance that a national
government and securityshould consider when creating their national strategy.
Cyberspace involves all of thesystems connected directly or indirectly to the
Internet while cyber security focuses on thestrategic plan to protect cyberspace
and ensure that the system continues to functionunder a threat.
According to the
guide there are 10 important elements of creating aNational Cybersecurity
Programme.The first item of the list is “Top Government Cybersecurity
Accountability”.According to the guide this element is important for a cyber
security programme has to becross- sectional across a nation. Not solely local
or national but has to cooperate under alllevels of government. They are the
ones accountable for devising a functional plan. Thesecond term on this list is
a coordinator. Like Homeland Security it is crucial that there isan office or
individual who oversees cyber security activities. Thirdly a “National
Cybersecurity Focal Point” meaning the multi- agency body is the focal point for
all of theactivities dealing with protection. Fourthly when creating a
Cybersecurity you need todesign the “Legal Measures” in which a team drafts a
policy and law procedures inresponse cybercrime. Fifth on the list is a
Framework. This is your start of the plan forwhich you state the basic elements
required in a national security. Sixthly, you need todesignate a Computer
Incident Response Team (CIRT) which is a “strategy led programmecontains
incident management capabilities with national responsibility”. They
areresponsible for coordinating responses to the stakeholders. After creating a
team you needto promote awareness and education about cybersecurity. It is
important that the nationknows and understands the importance of cyber threats.
Eighth on the list is a “Public –Private Sector Cybersecurity Partnership” for
which Government agencies shouldcollaborate with private companies such as
google. In order for a security team to be set upyou do however need to train
cybersecurity professionals. Lastly, the government needs toform “International
Cooperation” especially cause most cyber threats come from othercountries and
global cooperation is vital to additional security.If a country follows these
initial guidelines to forming and creating a NationalCybersecurity Programme,
they should soon be able to generate a national strategy planfor which they will
increase security and ensure that their nation’s cyberspace and
privateinformation is never threatened.
I think one of the most valuable and important lesson in ICT4D is that this type of developmental route can work. When I initially approached the concepts of ICT4D, I had serious doubts on how such ICT programs can be utilized for development. I thought that when it comes down to it, a developing country is going to need fresh water way more than they are going to need cellphone coverage in their village. But then I realized that it wasn’t about installing ICT structures and promoting modernization through them, but ICT4D is utilizing technologies that have already been adapted into developing nations, and promoting growth through them. Such projects like mBanking and Open Street Maps have successfully implemented change in developing countries, and through the harnessing of such technologies, countries can develop at a quicker rate.
That being said, there are still a lot of ways for ICT4D projects to fail, and failing to adapt projects to local communities proves to be the biggest downfall. Programs such as mBanking in Kenya and the use of mobile phones for fishing markets in India were such a success because they molded their projects around their target community. ICT projects assist in development when they are able to build off of a sound foundation of ICTs. Because so many ICT projects fail to address this common issue, they struggle to reach their goals and give ICT4D a bad name. However, the successes of former projects who have worked with the developing nations instead of just hoping for the best, prove that ICT4D does work.