Author Archives: maddielrudow

Lessons In ICT4D

One of the key problems with most International Development programs  is the lack of government involvement. In our class we studied several case studies that failed due to this oversight. Though in most cases this may be the most frustrating and difficult channels to get through, the government is essential when it comes to necessary policy changes. This is most clear in cases of gender rights for females in IDEV, who often are restricted by laws to have the same or equal rights to men. Without the government it is often hard to truly see lasting results. As development continues to exhibit innovative ways to get past these barriers, no matter how small, the government will eventually get involved, and this is crucial to secure any lasting positive results. Additionally, governments can be great sources of funding for projects that they support.

 

In our last class we discussed best practices in ICT and it was enlightening to see that we came up with more best practices than worse.  As a class we illustrated that it is much more crucial to focus on what must be done and the right way to accomplish it instead of focusing on all of the things to avoid (which can really diminish the goals of the project) Most times a project fails is when it is a top-down approach, that doesn’t truly consider the intended audience. Bottom up approaches whereby the language, culture, religion and everything henceforth is considered creates a project capable of having the power to create significant positive changes. Bottom up approaches include many of the best practices we highlighted including, as stated above, government involvement, transparency, online AND offline access and monitoring and evaluating.

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ICT4D Resources for Indonesia

ICT Program, Policies and Research Priorities-Strengethening Cooperation on ICT research between Europe and Southeast Asia-2011

Development of E-Governance– Research and Strategies

Kretek Internet-International Telecommunication UnionCase Study for ICT Development through Internet Access

Rural ICT Access Policy Advocation-2011

United Nations Development Program for Indonesia-Poverty Reduction Strategies through ICT-UN-

Empowering Local Language through ICT- Cross-Language Resource Sharing-National Electronics and Computer Technology- 2008

Development Strategy of ICT Human Resources Country Government Paper on Human Capacity Building-provides needs and recommendations- 2008


Adolescent Girls in Development

In a unique class experience we skyped with Keshet Bechan, a specialist in women’s empowerment in International Development. Gender is a concept that seeks to challenge people especially in the developing world where social relations are a huge concern, especially when it comes to gender inequalities. Keshet highlights that in many cases adolescent girls (between the ages of 10-19) are left out of political, social and other aspects of society, despite the fact that they are the majority of the population, roughly 500 million. Through looking through this gender lens it becomes clear that in the application for ICT4D we must understand the forms of discrimination they face and in order to find ways to overcome them. Adolescent girls are virtually invisible in most large-scale development programming and by not addressing this there is a great opportunity being missed to break this cycle of poverty and discrimination. Women are an integral part of the family structure and in order to ensure their livelihood and prosperity we must include them in the development process.

To draw connections with my country of interest for this past semester I found this article https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/01/21/indonesia-rights-rollback-religious-minorities-women

which highlights the extreme discrimination that women faced in Indonesia just last year (2013), and since then the government has made great strides to enforce laws protecting women’s rights in and religious freedoms. According to the report, Indonesia’s official Commission on Violence against Women reported that the both the national and local government had passed “60 new discriminatory regulations in 2013”. There was too much negative attention on the government in Indonesia for all of their human rights and women’s violations, prompting various human rights organizations to stand up. Its situations like these that help propel progressive thinking unto governments that are stuck in a poor mindset that women are not equal to men. Due to the highly religious customs of the Muslim country, women have been historically uneducated and discriminated but its with the help of women’s rights and international development organizations that one day this will be a thing of the past. 


Education and Training to Ensure Sustainability for ICT Applications

In class today we discussed the various ICT applications in all sectors worldwide such as Health, Energy and Environment, Disaster and Humanitarian Aid, Agriculture and Business. It is definitely clear from the presentations that a common challenge each sector faces when implementing ICT’s is proper education and training programs for management and regulation. Education must come from both sides from the outside in, and the inside out. People who are coming into a country must understand that the “One Size Fits All” method has a high failure rate and overall does not work due to the  uniqueness of each developing country. On the other hand, the people within these countries must be properly educated about the changes and new systems created for their benefits. Without proper education about new types of technology (computers, e-Health), new systems (Green spaces, GIS, early warning systems), the sustainability of the projects are at a high risk. Specifically in health education, as discussed by fellow classmates, is one of the more important topics because of the high birth rates that are overcrowding communities and making poverty and hunger more prevalent. By simply spreading necessary health information about pregnancy and up to date information about maternal care, this can be alleviated with just the spread of vital information and filling education gaps in this sector.

In addition, training programs in these sectors help ensure initial successes and positive outcomes (both short term and long term), ensure sustainability for the future and even create jobs for technicians or experts in for a given sector. This would also help create a bottom-up approach to implementation strategies. For the Humanitarian aid especially this is vital because it comes at a high (yet necessary) cost, so efficiency is necessary.

Though money will always be an issue for many of the implementations of new programs or systems for development through ICT, without training and education the sustainability of each and every one is at a high risk. Unless long-term protocols are set in place, the successes of the short term are qualitatively less valuable.


ICT National Policies, Where from Whom?

Upon writing my second country paper, I was interested to find that the only concrete information I could find regarding statistical data on Indonesia was when it was grouped with the rest of Southeast Asia. Yes, there was definitely information that could be found, but as far as the information communication technology policies in place it was not only hard but some of the sources had to be translated into English. It is therefor reasonable to report that maybe the most accurate information is not from United States or English-speaking reports, but instead through publications and articles that come directly from the country and are translated so that English speakers can read them. It is also reasonable to consider that the cyber security systems that would undoubtedly monitor the information from other countries being printed in the U.S. is quite possible. By going directly to local and national newspapers of the country in which you are interested in is probably the best way to find out the most factual information. The website I’ve fount the most helpful was this:

http://imtranslator.net/translation/english/to-indonesian/translation/

Like I stated on one of my previous posts, there is definitely a huge barrier when we are trying to gain information from thousands of miles away through the portal of the Internet. Something interesting I found was that the articles written on websites like the Huffingtonpost or on The New York Times were very generalizing in their information. When I went to an Indonesian website and went through the trouble of translating it, I found that the information although more opinionated was more concrete and factual sounding. If it weren’t for technology that would allow us to translate other countries’ newspapers, then maybe all of the information we were getting could be held at a bias. There is definitely something to say about news reports that are part of large companies, acting only as a subsidiary with no real say about the content they are allowed to publish. In one of my other classes, Media Analysis we discuss how there are only several companies that own all of the news programming we receive and as such there is definite bias in that information.


Country ICT Industry Performance: Indonesia

The development of ICT in Indonesia includes  not only the telecommunications network but also the availability of internet facilities for the use of the Internet. This is a not the case with most countries, which have the capabilities to use technologies to provide widespread access, whereas Indonesia has separated islands that draw boundaries in average infrastructure. In general, it can be understood that the ICT development in Indonesia is less encouraging and significant compared to its surrounding countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. There are two main objectives Indonesia must meet for ICT development, including the development of skilled human resources to produce the ICT products and the skilled citizens who will use it. These type of users include not just large and small businesses but also people who use the Internet for educational and even entertainment purposes. This type of education can be understood as ICT literacy, something which Indonesia is severely lacking. This could be and is in some areas being combated through the use of computer-assisted learning in the school systems. The problem however is that most of the school systems that have these resources are private, thus creating an even greater disparity to the differences in ICT levels among economic classes.

Looking at the statistics on the GDP for Indonesia, their percentage of GDP in the information communications technology sector as of 2012, according to information found on http://www.gfmag.com/gdp-data-country-reports/254-indonesia-gdp-country-report.html#axzz2vgMeGGTN, says that out of the total population, 18% of people are active internet users. It seems as though the country is not including information about the amount of users who utilize Internet cafes as a source for Internet usage. For most of the population of Indonesia, they do not have in the infrastructure to adequately serve the amount of people that would or could use the Internet. The economic landscape of the country is one that requires more focus than is being afforded to the population. There are many problems that have been encountered in passing legislation to build the proper infrastructure to create more fiber optic lines and power lines. World Data indicators still show that Indonesia is far behind other countries.


Tulane’s Got the Money

I wanted to write a post about the available resources that Tulane offers to undergraduates for research and travel grants.

There is always discussion about how important primary sources are versus secondary sources, especially when it comes to data collection. Trusting one or even two sources (no matter how large the organization) to have the most accurate information is naive. Although technology helps us connect all parts of the world, its also technology that we can hide behind. It has become easy to fake information and skew numbers. Beyond educational experiences in the classroom, though necessary, going to the country for which you are trying to work with is essential in this field. Tulane was one of the first private research universities in the south. I didn’t know what that meant, until I became an IDEV major and became aware of the incredible opportunities Tulane offers. Besides spending a semester abroad for course credits, Tulane also offers students with the chance to win money to create your own trip abroad. This is an amazing door for IDEV students to open when it comes to innovative ideas for development. I applied for one of the listed grants and though by sharing this information, I am increasing my own competition, I think its important for students to know about them.

http://tulane.edu/college/programs/grants.cfm