In “Connecting the First Mile” by Surmaya Talyarkhan, the author explores possible frameworks for the implementation of successful ICT-related development projects. Listed as one Talyarkhan’s sources is the “12 Habits of Highly Effective ICT-Enabled Development Initiatives” by bridges.org. These twelve habits highlight the best practice guidelines for ICT project management that are used both for planning and for post-project evaluation. One of the twelve habits, as also highlighted by Talyarkhan, is the push toward “making it local.”
As also seen in the green movement toward eating locally, the idea reinforces local actors seeking solutions. Rather than having outsiders who have a hard time getting the buy-ins from local communities, localization allows to get a greater sense of context-specific approaches based on the greatest needs of the community. Additionally, the presence of a “local champion” that is trusted by the community can further drive the sustainable process and communicate through his/her connections the best way to implement and utilize the initiative. This “champion” is one who may bring in local support as well as contacting outside groups for further resources.
It seems from a development project standpoint that localization is one of the most important aspects for successful implementation and sustainability. Outside actors are extremely beneficial, yet if the local communities do not understand fully how to utilize the technology, the project may only last as long as the actors are present. By using the local “champion,” it is easier to ensure a lasting impact when the knowledge-base of this person is a constant presence. Rather than skepticism of an outsider, a trusted member of the community may be better received. I think outside actors are certainly necessary and essential to the implementation of ICTs, yet reinforces local actors could lead down a longer path of sustainability. Should outside actors be responsible for recruiting the local actors, or must they come up organically through the development framework? Read all twelve habits here.