Plan International’s checklist for ICT usage in development programs and projects is as follows:
- Analyze Context
- Define Need
- Choose Strategy
- Assess Beneficiary Profiles (Undertake Participatory Communications Assessment)
- Choose Technology
- Adjust Content
- Build & Use Capacity
- Monitor Progress
- Maintain Sustainability
- Learn From Others’ Experiences & Disseminate Acquired Knowledge
While I agree that all of the steps are vital to the success of a program or project, I question their given sequence. Typically, a need is identified before its context is understood. (After Hurricane Katrina, I’m quite sure that the founders of lowernine identified the need for home reconstruction before anyone fully understood the context in which that would take place.)
Secondly, is it wise to decide on a strategy before assessing the way in which it may impact the community? While the text does note that the assessment may, indeed, occur earlier in the process, I would find it illogical and inefficient to do it as step #4.
Lastly, why is learning from the experiences of others placed at the bottom of the list?! Should that not be one of the preliminary steps? One of the greatest issues with ICT4D projects and programs is that collaboration between projects and programs is so limited that inefficiency–and sometimes harm–is incurred in the process.
In short, my greatest issue with the checklist is the apparent lack of planning before implementation. Call me crazy but I think it’s ridiculous to pick a place on the map –> learn all about the area –> figure out some issue –> come up with a plan of attack before considering intended impact –> consider intended impact –> throw in some technology –> decide whether or not that technology is actually helpful –> grow capacity –> see how things are going –> ensure that the project or program is maintained –> check out what others are doing in the field & let them know what you’ve been up to!