I didn’t know what to expect when I first began ICT4D – it seemed like an odd technology class that somehow had something to do with development. However, I think many of the things we have been learning in all of our International Development courses were very visibly demonstrated in this class. For example, the practical needs and challenges of projects such as Humanitarian Open Street Mapping – it’s a perfect demonstration of “off-the-ground work” that is difficult to do, but actually useful and necessary at times. Also, it was good to hear that ICTs can be used in all sectors – environment and business, included. It may sound intuitive, but sometimes we don’t make the connection immediately.
I also learned that being aware of the growing power individuals have nowadays thanks to technological progress is crucial to coming up with new development methods that are relevant and efficient. If I were to enter the IDEV field, I would keep this in mind because it would help me not just let some community “catch up,” but maybe even become progressive.
Additionally, the Human-Centered Design framework has been a good model to think about when considering development projects. You have to involve the community to create an effective development plan, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have any input yourself. It’s a collaborative effort.