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.