Author Archives: pkrause439

Chile National ICT Resources

  • National Policy/Strategy documents/guides
  • Chile Digital Development Strategy Produced by the Chilean Ministry of Economics provides description of/details of/timeline of the most recent ICT strategy in the country (ran from 2007-present) English
  • Chile Agenda Digital Strategy Produced by Deputy Minister of the Economy of Chile in 2005, provides insight to the digital plan that preceded the Chile Digital Development Strategy English

 

 

  • Non-Government/Outside Sources
  • PROIDEAL document provides an inside look at the current ICT and general technology status in Chile. Published in 2011 so pretty up to date. PROIDEAL is a EU department that works to promote ICT development between Europe and Latin America. English.
  • FORESTA document provides an analysis of ICT policies in five countries, including Chile. FORESTA is the “Fostering the Research Dimension of Science and Technology Agreements” and is funded by the EU

I hope this helps with your research on Chile! It was not a hard country to find sources for, especially about current policy implementation. Chile’s participation in many programs between Latin America and the US and EU means that it is selected as the case study for many programs run by these organizations. Also, Chile’s status as a regional leader in ICT implementation and policy has encouraged the strong documentation of programs and plans by the government. Good luck and best wishes!


Technology as a Tool not a Solution

One of my largest insights learned from this ICT4D course was the idea that technology does not necessarily provide a complete solution to a development problem. One of the most important aspects of this that I learned was that the more successful ICT4D initiatives tend to rely on existing technology that people are comfortable with already, instead of the use of completely new platforms. An example of this idea was seen in the One Laptop Per Child projects that are still active in the realm of ICT4D project initiatives. This program has suffered mixed results, many of which stem from cost, context of the OLPC laptop technology compared to traditional computing technology, and a failure to truly adapt the program for the multitude of regions the initiative targeted. I much preferred and saw more robust success in programs that refurbished old laptops from more developed countries and send them to schools and public buildings in developing countries. This type of program, versus OLPC, used existing technology that was compatible with the traditional computers of the rest of the world, which allowed participants in the program to gain real transferable skills in the use of ICT tools.

Another important take-away I learned from this course was the necessity to evaluate and comprehend the cultural context of a community and how this will influence the implementation of a specific ICT4D initiative within that community. This is a point that has been stressed in every year of my International Development education, and is one of the most important components to remember in my opinion when beginning the process of planning a project. One of the most interesting questions I was asked in the course was related to what you would have prepared before you got on a plane to go to the country you were about to start a project in. To me that ideal of truly taking into account the differences in cultural attitudes towards different technologies, which local institutions and leaders you should team up with in order to promote your new program, and different boundaries that exist to that specific populations that may hinder or deter your work and how to best overcome these obstacles is the most important pre-implementation step in order to enact a successful ICT4D program. I saw this in action through my studies of the implementation of ICT4D programs by the Chilean government. For example, in their first attempt to create an e-government by digitizing many government social services and record-keeping programs, Chile only saw moderate success in the use of the new programs because the government failed to address the issue of the rural/urban digital divide and access to ICT’s in order to utilize the new initiatives they had put forth. In following years Chile began its most recent Digital Agenda and sought to correct the main issues of access they had learned about from their first initiative. However, if the government had taken into account and seriously considered these issues in the first place, the first push for e-government adoption may have been much more successful.

Overall, I found this course to be extremely informative and practical should I ever go into program implementation and design in the IDEV community. The combination of learning about how different technologies are being used and adapted to enhance the ability of communities to link into the interconnected ICT web that is forming around the world with traditional development theory relating to ICT4D provided an excellent context to truly understand how successful, and unsuccessful, ICT4D projects are being conducted around the world. I now truly understand how the provision of ICT tools without consideration of cultural context and other factors such as access to services and connectivity is unproductive and generally results in failure. The background and context is really in the foreground of all successful ICT4D initiatives, with the actual technology or software merely serving as a tool that must be adapted in order to successfully accomplish a programs goals. I feel that in the future the continuance of looking at real-world ICT4D initiatives and the reasons for their failure/success provides the most useful means of conveying true understanding of the components of successful ICT4D programs.


Cell Phone Proliferation in India has Significant Ramifications on Health of Sex Workers

Click here to view NYTimes article on how mobile phone proliferation in India has been correlated with a rise in HIV/AIDS among sex workers.

There have been great efforts recently to help promote the proliferation of cell phone technology in poorer Indian populations. This policy has led to decreased costs and increased availability of cell phone technology, but ramifications of this increased access and use of cell phones are just being discovered. Policy has lagged behind the emergence of mobile technology, and thus, organizations find themselves struggling to keep up with updating their programs which have been becoming increasingly ineffective in many cases.

This article discusses a particular health issue within the population of sex workers in India. Cell phones have allowed prostitutes to branch out from traditional brothels and start their own business ventures. More individuals are also entering prostitution because the ease of access to mobile phones makes this a viable way for women in difficult economic situations to increase family income. Healthcare organizations have found this new technology very difficult to react to, STD and HIV prevention campaigns have become less effective as tracking and identifying sex workers has become more difficult due to the proliferation of mobile phones.

I found this an interesting case study demonstrating the need for new policy and ideas for combatting STD levels among sex workers in India. This example also provides an insight into the detrimental effects of technology proliferation if context and culture is not taken into account before widespread adoption of a technology by a population.


US Government Informs and Readies Citizens to Thwart Cyber Attacks

Click here to go to FEMA Ready.gov website page and view how this government agency hopes to educate US residents to thwart cyber attacks by terrorist organizations.

Cyberterrorism and cyber-attacks are not a new development, but, have been evolving recently into an increasingly volatile and serious threat to many countries. While searching for information about cyber attacks for this blog post I came across the United State’s FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) page in which it hopes to educate and inform residents of the US about the nature of cyber attacks, what some of the greatest possible risks are, how they can affect the average resident, and what one should do before, during, and after a cyber attack event.

I found this page very informational. While many have a bad taste in their mouth after saying FEMA, I think they are being very proactive and forward thinking by trying to inform the general population of the risks of cyber attacks. Cyber attacks are not something that many individuals have in the forefront of their minds, and some may not even be aware of the concept at all. By making it clear that all are at risk for cyber attacks and that even someone who thinks that they do not have important information or connections can be at risk and put others at risk through the use of their computer to infiltrate other computer networks remotely.

I also think how FEMA chose to organize its page, with tabs for what to do before (preparation), during (reaction), and after (assessment) a cyber attack, is very smart. They provide not only information that might cause fear in some or nervousness (the possible effects of an attack), but, also how to mitigate and prevent these attacks from happening. As I have learned in Public Health, whenever fear is used as a way to influence people, it is important to provide ways in which individuals can react to that fear in order to have a project which has impact, and FEMA does just that.

FEMA goes one step further by providing additional information and ways in which individuals can stay connected and ahead on this issue by signing up for listserv’s about cyber security. As cyber attacks become more and more common and destructive it will be interesting to see what additional measures government agencies take to inform their populations about the threat.


Restaurants in NYC Adopt New ICT Management Technologies

Hurricane Sandy recently caused immense destruction to the eastern seaboard of the US, especially in New York and New Jersey. The epicenter of restaurant culture in the USA, New York City was especially hard hit by the storm. Restaurant owners found themselves reeling from the impact, loosing thousands of tons product, having issues with workers unable to get to their jobs, infrastructure, and loss of power.

During this disaster restaurant owners and managers found themselves reliant on a major ICT technology, their mobile smartphones, to assess, report, and react to destruction and issues that arose from the storm. Although this worked to some extent, many are looking at the storm as a message that they must update and revise their emergency plans. One of the major areas mentioned was figuring out a new line of communication non-reliant on mobile phone towers, which while they did not fail during Sandy, were an area of worry for owners.

While many restaurants may not be able to reopen because of costs and damages experienced by the storm, many will use this as a learning lesson to fix issues that they encountered. The inclusion of new ICTs in managing their restaurants during disasters to avoid loosing revenue and product. One manager, who was running operations over his mobile phone in the gym bathroom, was resolved to create a communication center for emergencies for all of his restaurants.

Click here for the link to the NYT article on NYC restaurant’s managers reactions to Hurricane Sandy destruction.


Mobile Phones, Good Prevention Agents to Ward Off Another Gulf Coast Disaster

Click here to see PCMag’s article about how mobile phones are good tools in disaster prevention and management in more ways than one!

I found this article while searching for how mobile technology contributed to mitigation of the possible disaster as Hurricane Isaac loomed in the gulf this past fall. Some of the points that this article touched on I found to be very interesting and insightful on how the Isaac impact was different than the Katrina impact in terms of technology readiness on a mass scale. The article notes that today close to 50% of all American adults not only have mobile phone technology, but on top of this have the smart phone variant. The article notes how these smart phones, which include features like internet access, GPS, video and picture capabilities, and application abilities change how phones function as tools during a disaster situation. The internet provides up-to-the-minute updates on storm track and details, GPS provides rescuers and individuals with more data about where they are and describing locations, video and photos provide a format by which individuals can easily document the situation and also aids in insurance claims etc., and applications can provide news and information like what stores are open. All of these utilities would be extremely useful in a disaster type situation.

While reading this I also thought how this new demographic of the population with smart phone access.This could provide a new digital divide, between those with regular mobile phones and those with smart phones and what information and services they would each have or not have access to. The article states that in Katrina one of the issues was that the demographic breakdown of those who were most likely to have stayed and planned on weathering the storm, due to personal choice or lack of ability to evacuate, were also the same portion of the population who were least likely to have mobile phones. This population is the older, the poor, and the minorities. This is less of an issue now (90% of Americans have mobile phones now in comparison to 70% in 2005) but, the smart phone/regular mobile phone could provide a smaller disparity in a future disaster on the scale of Katrina.

The article also noted the benefit of a mobile phone simply for its ability to enhance communication of an individual and their support network. This additional connection to one’s family and friends can provide that extra push to encourage people to make the decision to evacuate ahead of the storm. Through text messages and phone calls the rate of influence of one’s social network increases.


Chile: Donated Reused Computers for Isolated Indigenous Communities

Click here to go to article about organization that started a computer donation program to aid isolated indigenous communities in Chile.

After the 2010 earthquake in Chile in the Alto Bíobío region in the southern Andes found themselves disconnected from the national communication network unable to send and receive reports on the regions status after the major disaster. This article discusses this challenge along with the many other challenges faced by a Mapuche indigenous community in Southern Chile because of a lack of connection to communication methods. Having traveled extensively in Chile, and having studied with the Mapuche communities in the south of the country, I definitely agree that many of these communities are at a disadvantage to much of the rest of the country in terms of technology access, a digital divide. The article states that while the region has internet connection ability (they are connected) there are no points of access for the common person, people typically do not have internet in their houses, there are no internet cafes, and only a very small number of institutions have access points.

The InterConnection organization is a US based non-profit that provides points of access to the internet and has provided recycled computers to the Alto Biobio region in Chile. Similar to One Laptop Per Chile organization (OLPC) which is a nonprofit that constructs new computers to sell to developing countries, the InterConnection organization aims to provide computer technology to underserved regions. However, InterConnection uses donations of people’s old computers to serve their target communities. In Alto BioBio they donated computers to several schools and a fire station.

I really like the InterConnection model versus the OLPC model. The technology they are providing can be applied in various settings, not only primary schools. The communities being aided also are not responsible for buying computers, as in OLPC, which lowers the financial burden. The organization also states that they provide high-quality refurbished computers, so the ones being delivered worked well. I believe this InterConnection represents a flexible and sustainable way to bring computer technology to underserved regions.