Author Archives: lisapodo

Lessons Learned: ICT4D

The most salient lesson I’ve learned in this course has been the importance of using technology appropriate for the citizens using it. This is true regardless of speaking about the health, education, government, or economic sector. Many times amazing technology is created that does indeed solve the problem at hand, however too often times, the technology is beyond reasonable use for the audience using it. Creating new smart phone apps can be great, but if the citizens can’t afford smart phones, or access to the internet, the project can be meaningless.

Personally, I had never been a large proponent of technology, and came into this class, to be frank, largely uninterested. I have always been your average American college student, using my computer for Blackboard, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. I have a smart phone, but mostly used it for games and e-mail access on my phone. However, coming out of this class, I have a much greater appreciation for the applications of technology in development. Finally, in the future, I would like to further look into how technology can be used for conservation purposes and environmental development.

Mobile app Project Noah promotes environmental education and interaction

In 2009, Project NOAH was created by Yasser Ansari, with co-creators Martin Ceperly, Peter Horvath, and Bruno Kruse as part of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. “NOAH” is actually an acronym for Networked Organisms and Habitats. The project began to see if the creators were able to create a fun interactive location-based application for citizens to interact with the environment. It has grown to include contributors from over 55 countries, and has been associated with a number of research projects.

Users are able to post pictures and data about specimen they find all over the world. Additionally, citizens are able to post pictures of a specimen for others to identify for them. Users are also able to match pictures already on the application in order to determine the species or information of a specimen they are questioning. Users earn patches based on number of submissions to the database, whether pictures themselves have taken, or helping identify pictures others have submitted. Patches help identify the reliability of certain data submissions

Finally, Project NOAH also has missions users are able to help with. These have included identifying ladybug or squirrel spottings for major university research projects. Currently, the Saguaro National Park is asking users to submit pictures of different organisms found in the park in order to help identify as many of the species present as possible. This program has become a huge success in a short period of time, having both fun and educational aspects to promoting environmental interactions.

You can check out the website at, or download the mobile app for free on your iphone or android.

Radio Boosts Modern Farming

Originally posted on Blackboard by Lisa Podolsky

One of the key problems of ICT Programs in underdeveloped countries is reaching beyond the technological capability of the underdeveloped communities, causing the technologies to be unsuccessful. Twenty-nine-year-old Nnaemeka Ikegwuono found a solution to this problem using radio waves to reach farmers in rural areas of Africa without cell phone service. Mr. Ikegwuono set up a radio station broadcasting agricultural tips, market price information, and financial planning skills for farmers 10 hours a day.  Farmers are able to use small solar-powered hanset mobile technology to radio in questions and share their stories. With help from the new radio programming, many farmers have been able to raise their incomes from 50 cents a day to nearly 85 cents or $1 a day. I like the idea of using technology to reach rural areas, and especially the technology being usable and sustainable.

SAMHSA announces new grants to support expansion of HIT

Here is a great news article I found this morning. According to NewsMedical, SAMSA has just announced new grants to support the expansion of health information technology. SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is giving up to $200,000 in new grants to 47 different healthcare centers for health information technology (HIT). The grants will be used for implementation of HIT infrastructure and to expand the use of electronic health records. This new technology will allow for greater sharing of knowledge regarding new treatment, and facilitate an easier exchange of health information. While initially is involves a huge cost, long-term this grant expansion project will actually be cheaper and easier for health centers. The greatest problems I foresee with these grants will be proper training for health staff, and long-term continued funding. These grants only last for one year, at which point new sources of funding will need to be obtained by the health centers themselves.

Originally Posted by Lisa Podolsky

Australia Lagging on Green IT

Orignally Posted: September 20, 2011 1:19:41 PM CDT
By: Lisa Podolsky

I happened to come across this article, and was quite interested in it after Wednesday’s discussion on Oceania’s lag with reaching the Millennium Development Goals. I especially was surprised by Australia’s lack of progress in environmental sustainability. In this article, , discusses a number of points contributing to the lack of progress in Australia’s green ICT sector, including lack of prioritization and “green fatigue.” While many may categorize universal education and child/maternal health as higher priorities than sustainability, environmental awareness can greatly contribute to healthy lifestyles, as well as create jobs, promote economies, and contribute to a number of the other Millennium Development Goals. Australian ICT projects must face the challenge of not getting discouraged at failed projects, but rather learn from them as they continue to create new sustainable practices.