Author Archives: skagan2016

Senegal ICT4D Resources

Senegal National ICT Policy – Created by IST Africa, written in English

Plan for Promotion of ICT Use – July 2012, Created by the Government of Senegal, written in French

Website for Monsieur Cheikh Abiboulaye Diéye – Minister of Communications, written in French

Case Study in Senegal of EpiSurveyor for Maternal Health – Ministry of Health of Senegal and WHO used EpiSurveyor for a 6 month pilot project in 2008

Senegal ICT Sector Performance Review 2009/2010 – Created by Research ICT, written in English

Guide to ICT Policy in IST-Africa Partner Countries – Created by IST Africa, written in English

The Global Information Technology Report 2013 – Created by The World Economic Forum, written in English

 

I found it very hard to find documents written by the Senegalese government. Nearly all of the documents and reports were from external sources.


Know Your Audience: Success in ICT4D

I think one of the most important lessons in ICT4D is to look more at the people than the technology. Someone can invent the most brilliant piece of technology that could save the world, but if it is not implemented in a place that has the technological capability to fully apply the invention, or where there is not a need for that technology then the project will not see success. Knowing the culture, people, and current technological status of a community can drastically affect the success of an ICT4D project. Some examples of this are OLPC and different cell phone projects where people haven’t been able to charge their phone.

The second example is one of the best to show how the technological infrastructure needs to be in place before an ICT4D project can truly make a difference. All of the people in the mobile phone study stated that they used their phone a lot and that it made a large difference, but their biggest problem was that they didn’t have a reliable way to charge their phone. Without the capability to charge their phone in their house or a place to charge the battery the phone, and ultimately the ICT4D project, is unsuccessful. One Laptop Per Child is another example. Some of the ideals behind this project were spot on: creating a more durable laptop that is easy to use. However, with such a large blanketed approach it was nearly impossible to address the country/area specific concerns that arose, and forced them all to fall on the government of those nations who may not have known the different aspects that needed to be addressed or may not have been capable of solving them. Of course that was not the only problem with OLPC, but the ‘one size fits all’ approach that is part of the framework with the program did contribute to specific failures in different countries.


about.me

About.me is best described as an all inclusive page about yourself. On about.me you can upload your resume, your business card, and connect it to pretty much any other social media website that you use. I would compare about.me to myspace for business professionals. This is because with about.me your home page is very visual. Unlike on facebook or linkedin, about.me has the ability to edit a background picture and control all of the different fonts, so that when people are viewing your page they are not only seeing the content that you are putting up, but they are also seeing all of the different visual aspects to make your page yours and visually appealing. About.me is used a lot by different freelance workers as a way to promote themselves and is used instead of making an entire website. On your about.me homepage you see different people popping up in a similar fashion to the facebook newsfeed. The picture of the person is the largest thing, taking up nearly the entire page, again emphasizing the visual aspect of the website. Underneath the picture you can see the person’s name and the beginning of their bio. When clicking on their page you can be connected to all of the social media websites that the person is connected to, along with a big background picture and fun fonts. Returning to the homepage, when looking at different people you can view their profile, compliment them, or add them to a collection. All in all about.me is essentially a mini website for business individuals looking for work or just to put themselves out there.


Argentina’s Version of OLPC

In 2010 the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that she was going to implement a program so that every high school student in Argentina would be given a small laptop. César Dergarabedian in this article further explains the plans for this program and also compares this program to the OLPC program that had previously been implemented in Uruguay.  After seeing the results of the OLPC program in Uruguay, the president of Argentina decide to implement a similar program, but with a few changes. One of the major changes was that rather than using the OLPC laptops to give to all of the students, a similar, small durable computer was manufactured in Argentina. On the computers would also come all of the necessary programs that a student may need while using the laptop in the classroom. Along with the program, Fernández de Kirchner said that the internet capabilities of high school buildings would be increased. The program was very ambitious, hoping to have 3 million students in over 4,800 public schools receive these computers within the following 3 years.

Although the program may have been ambitious, there are many distinctions between this program and the OLPC program that make a considerable difference, and make it more plausible for the success of the program in a country. Primarily, the fact that Argentina was manufacturing the computers itself made it so that the program was not only increasing the computer use in the country, but also the money that was being spent on the laptops (nearly 1,052 million dollars) was being put back into the Argentine economy. The other part of the program that put it on track to be more successful is that since the government decided to implement this program in public schools they were also able to help provide the schools with the infrastructure needed so that the students can utilize this technology.

By no means was this program flawless, but it does give a different approach to look at when discussing the OLPC program. It also can be a case study to be compared to the OLPC program, and used for other countries looking to implement a similar program as a model.


Real Life ICT Successes with Disaster Management

In class we have been talking a lot about different technologies and different ways that they can help not only in development, but in different aspects of our lives. Last week we also talked about a lot of failures that ICT projects have faced, so I wanted to find some examples of where ICTs made a huge difference in helping, or where ICTs could have helped and made it even better. The ITU released a report in 2008 that outlined the role of Telecommunications and ICTs in disaster management. This report was originally made for a conference in Southern and Eastern Africa to outline the benefits of ICTs in disaster management.

One of the examples highlighted in the report was the importance of ICTs during the reconstruction after the floods in Zambia. After the floods the ITU set up 25 satellite terminals to help restore communication in Zambia after houses, schools, and roads were destroyed. These satellite terminals were integral in the rebuilding and relief efforts because without them communication between different effected areas would have been nearly impossible.

The report also outlines how ICTs can help with different early warning systems for disasters. Two different examples presented in the article are Alertnet and even the importance of online media. The report also discusses how ICTs can be helpful in the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery phases of disaster preparedness. In all of these different phases ICTs are a vital part of communication and can be integral in saving lives.


A Second Look at the Views of Richard Heeks

In our last class we dedicated a good majority of the time talking about Richard Heeks’s article ICTs and the MDGs: On the Wrong Track? We discussed whether the conclusions he made in this article are fair, and which parts we agree and disagree with. We definitely came to a consensus that Heeks has some good points, but also that not all of the conclusions he came to are problems that we see with the MDGs. I decided to dig a little deeper to find more of his comments on the MDGs and I stumbled upon his blog. In his most recent blog post Analyzing the Post-2015 Development Agenda he looks at three different articles that outline a lot of the development goals post the 2015 MDG deadline. He analyzed the documents in two different ways. One was simpler, a tag cloud, which is defined by Google as “a visual depiction of the word content… to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.” In the tag cloud on this blog post the largest word was “development.” The next largest words were “sustainable,” “global” and “countries.” Of course it makes sense that these four words are the most frequent words seen in the reports considering that they are talking about sustainable  development of countries all around the world. The other way that Heeks analyzed the data was using a chart and he calculated the frequency of the term seen every 10,000 words. The term “sustanib” was seen 94.6 times every 10,000 which was more than twice frequency of any other word in the report. The next three most frequent words were system, partnership and environment, all with the frequency of 33-38 times every 10,000 words.

When analyzing this data Heeks came up with 10 main points within the documents. One of the points addresses that sustainable development seems to be the consensus as the core model that needs to be achieved when making strides after the MDGs. Another point that he made was that the two most important items on the agenda for development are addressing poverty and the environment. The next point that he made was that there are three main categories of development; social, economic and environmental, which do have some overlap. Heeks also noted that the majority of the ideas seen in the new development plan relate to the main ideas that are in the MDGs. He remarks that the main ones that are focused on are the first six goals; poverty, women (women’s rights and health), access to food or hunger, and education just to name a few.

Within the post Heeks never expresses what his opinions are on the documents. While in class and discussing whether or not the MDGs have a purpose and are promoting development, or actually inhibiting it. I agree that the MDGs aren’t perfect and that there are ways that they could be seen as deterring development, however, when I look at the MDGs I see them for what they are: Goals. Goals are something you strive for and may not fully reach, however, they give the community something to work for and push towards. For me, these new documents talking about development after the MDGs supports this ideology. Clearly not everything is yet solved in our world, but since so many of the improvements that need to be made are the same as the MDGs it means that the MDGs were on the right path. They may not have been reached by the goal of 2015, but now that the international community knows what needs to be worked on to improve conditions and development we can keep working towards this goal. The MDGs have shown us different tools that work, and different tools that don’t work. It is now time for the international community to keep working at them until there is no longer a need .


Measuring ICT Development

A lot of the indicators that we looked at in the different reports including, the ITU Measuring Info Society, the UN ICT Task Force, the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report, and the Economist Intelligence Unit Digital Economy Rankings all have different ways to classify the changes in ICT development. Since there is no universal way to measure ICT usage it is impossible to measure ICT development. This directly relates to what we are discussing in class because when discussing how ICTs can impact development, and looking at the development in different countries, there needs to be a universal way to classify and measure ICT development. Without a universal way to measure ICT development and ICT usage, it is impossible to compare countries ICT capacities. Similarly, without a universal way to measure ICT usage and development there is no way to clearly quantify the progress or changes a country has made.

In this class we are looking at technological capabilities of different countries and looking at how technology can be used for development. Without a universal indicator how will we really be able to compare the different progress between countries? We can’t decipher how technology can help a country or improve development if there is no clear way to measure the technological capabilities. The international community or UN body, needs to decide the best ways to measure ICT usage. This can be either subscribers or users or even by the amount of cell towers that a country has. By creating a solid definition, we then will be able to compare ICT usage of different nations in a way where they are being measured in the same way. If nations don’t know exactly what they need to report, then all of the reports will be different.

The report that has come closest with measuring ICT development is the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report. This is because the way they calculated the rankings was the most comprehensive. The report consists of 10 different pillars, each with at least 4 sub pillars. However, the problem with this ranking system is that the majority of the information in this report is provided by each individual country. For example, one of the sub pillars is the number of individuals using the internet. Since there is not a clear definition of what this means (whether it means subscriptions, or accounts, or households etc.) how is indicator properly showing which countries have better developed ICTs? Every country could be using a different set of criteria to calculate these numbers, and this is where the inherent problem lies.