ICT4D Important Lessons

Throughout this semester as we have learned about and discussed ICT4D project a few reoccurring themes stuck out to me. First, that pre-planning is crucial for any successful project. This type of planning is often overlooked when top-down projects are implemented. You need to fully understand the area in which you plan to work and the resources, both human and physical, that it has. A project won’t succeed if the people they are aimed at helping do not have the resources to charge devices you give them, to access the Internet, or do not possess the skills of how to use the ICT. This idea goes hand in hand with avoiding one-size fits all solutions. Each project needs to be tailored to the community and account for the unique culture and structural needs.

Second, it is important to ensure that whatever ICT project you develop is sustainable. You need to ensure that you plan for what happens when devices break or technological changes occur. Sustainability is important for all projects but especially in ICT4D because of the high cost of equipment. When planning for a project you need to account for which technologies are effective today and will remain the most relevant in the future. It is not sustainable to develop a project that uses technologies that will not stay relevant.

Most importantly, whenever possible it is important to partner with both the local government and community organizations. This gives your project the best resources possible. It ensures that you have community support and that your project is relevant to the community at large while simultaneously working with the government to help accomplish larger development goals.

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