Core lessons in ICT4D
I think that the most important lesson we learned this semester throughout this course was best practices. I feel that all of the case studies we looked at were diverse in: problems the projects addressed, geographical regions, and ways it incorporated ICTs in the program. However, one key similarity between all of these case studies was that they demonstrated the best [either through example or through mistakes] ways to incorporate ICTs in development projects. It illustrates the fact that, no matter what type of development work you do, certain concepts are universal, such as: incorporating the population in decision making, gathering research and data on the population, and coming up with a good monitoring and evaluation system to have check points.
Personal Lessons Learned
I think on the personal level, alongside learning about best practices, I learned the most through the short papers that we wrote this semester. We had to focus on one country and both analyze ICTs and their national capacity, along with come up with our own solutions to problems we saw. I focused on the health sector and Egypt. I think that it was a challenging assignment because I learned how data collection works, and the issues that can arise through data collection. Having to come up with our own solutions made us think critically of real life issues that are happening right now in the developing world and ways to incorporate ICTs to solve them. These are two skills that I hopefully will continue to take with me as I further my education and pursue a career in development. The most useful theoretical framework that will help me accomplish this is the IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit. This work basically gives you the framework you need to design your own project that focuses on incorporating the ideas of the target population. It is definitely a kit that I plan to use for any project I wish to create.