ICT4D: Starting small

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.

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2 responses to “ICT4D: Starting small

  • laurag063

    I, too, mentioned HCD in my “Lessons Learned” post this week. Oftentimes, when I tell people I’m an IDEV major, I get criticized for conforming to a field of study that a lot of people see as imperialistic and “Western-centric.” Learning about human-centered design, and hopefully utilizing it in the future, is something I always fall back on when I hear that argument. There ARE methods and strategies in development that are totally based on the target community’s input and already available resources. It’s not all about charging into the third world and imposing our way of life on its inhabitants.

  • jdywest7

    This is such a great post. From a holistic standpoint all development efforts need to stop being so ambitious with implementing new projects, and instead maximize on old projects and build from them. There needs to be larger effort to connect with the people give them what they want and need because in the end they are the ones who are using it.

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