Author Archives: whosgoingtostopme

Profile: Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy is an Indian political activist who has focused on environmental sustainability and human rights in her development career. She became famous for her book The God of Small Things, but became known more for her involvement in anti-neocolonial development, as well as pro-environmental sustainability and human rights. Roy has acted as an important advocate of development, particularly of India and Kashmir, outside of the pre-established Western pattern of development, namely at the expense of less developed economic nations. Arundhati as engaged in activism including public demonstrations against corrupt and pro-neoliberal governments in India. As far as her role in environmental sustainability goes, she worked on the Sardar Sarovar dam project, protesting the dam in the name of environmental sustainability, claiming this would end up being a backwards step for India’s development.
I chose Arundhati Roy because I identify with her mission and with her approach. I want to work to promote women’s rights in Islamist nations and Roy was also known for her ardent feminism. I want to do the same work with human rights that she has done as well as in the same way. I want to use political activism and political paradigms to affect change in International development. Also, I want to work to shatter the neocolonial paradigm that Roy herself condemns. I chose Roy for our ideological and methodological similarities. I found inspiration from her story.


So you want to be an International Developer?

When we sat down and took career aptitude tests in high school, nowhere on the chart was the choice of ‘International Developer’, in part because I made up the term. However, the fact remains that there is no pre-existing career path for those who want to pursue international development. Wayan Vota was incredibly helpful in giving a sort of how-to guide as far as pursuing a career in International Development. One thing he brought up that truly changed the way I was planning my future was not to attend grad school unless it’s paid for, and what truly matters is experience not achievements on a resume.That was huge. I love that International Development is based on getting your hands dirty not wasting years in institutions learning that the best way to make change is to go out and get your hands dirty! Honestly hearing Wayan Vota really inspired me to take the leap and go head first into the unknown. All in all, I think this is the main lesson I have taken away from International Development- the best way to help it is first to immerse yourself in it. Programs like One Laptop Per Child failed mostly because of lack of information on ICT, cultural and social infrastructure. Also, based on the disaster response work we did, it seems that we truly learn the best ways to help once we are in the situations ourselves. So, if I had to sum up ICT4D what would I say? ICT has unlimited development potential. The fishing Industry in India, voting in Jordan and radio in rural Africa are testaments to the amazing potential that ICT has to affect development. However, first things first, the infrastructure of the country must be known and research must be done. Knowing development on paper is crucial, but knowing development first hand is invaluable.

“Does my Sexiness Upset You? Does it Come as a Surprise?” Sexual Empowerment4D

This blog post will be written sort of in reverse, because instead of addressing what I *have* found in articles, I will be lamenting that which I have not been able to find: the sexual empowerment of women. ICT4D has been widely used to promote sexual health. For example, there have been initiatives to use social media, communication technologies such as cell phones and pagers, and increased internet access to raise awareness for women’s health issues and send out reminders for appointments, check ups or new health discoveries. While connecting women more directly to healthcare services is a great step forward for development, the reality is that ” the potential that ICT has for reaching the female population is still under recognized” (Gurumurthy 2004).


One of the ways I feel that the potential for ICT and female empowerment has not been realized is in the area of sexual empowerment. Women in many developing countries are still seen as sexual objects- insentient beings purely there to be used for the pleasure of the man and discarded once he has gotten his satisfaction. Even in developed countries, many women are not taught to value their own sexuality or prioritize their own sexual satisfaction in their relations. Honestly, women are not only not taught to prioritize their own sexual fulfillment, but aren’t even taught to rank their own sexual satisfaction at the same importance of that of their partner. In Western countries, particularly those where censorship is more lax, women can through social media, texting, blogs etc. learn how their bodies work sexually and generally have a starting point for how to derive true pleasure from sex. Giving a woman control over her sexuality, not making her a sexual plaything for her partner for him to please her when he feels like it, or truly, if he even can, but always get what he wants.

According to multiple sources, orgasms have far reaching health benefits including relieving stress, pain, and releasing oxytocin. Oxytocin is related to increased feelings of confidence, increased intuition, social skills and success ( Giving women the ability to take charge of and take pride in their own sexuality has untold benefits not only for each individual, but for the developing world.

We can’t truly have equality in the streets if we don’t have equality in the sheets.

Breaking Down Concept Mapping

In this publication a full coverage of concept mapping for ICT4D. It includes some very in depth definitions of ICT content-mapping and explanations of the various perspectives that go into the mapping process. Both local and global efforts can contribute to the mapping process thus offering many perspectives on the infrastructure of a particular area or nation. The authors refer to the ease of access to content mapping as one of the major reasons that content mapping is “proactive, expanding and transformative” in the world of ICT4D ( Content mapping encourages creativity, through the expression of thought, and thus shows new ways to think of opportunities for development.

However, the basis of this is a study into the efficacy of content mapping. Within a certain lens, “The goal of this study is to establish whether teaching interventions using ICT-based concept mapping techniques enhances creativity and impacts on writing achievement in 10–11 year old children in their school setting”. The study looked at concept mapping over 9 months with concept mapping done once a week. In conclusion, the study showed that content mapping greatly helped the students with their non-verbal skills.

“Harnessing the Power of the Crowd”

This article from The Guardian begins by referencing a topic we have previously discussed in ICT4D: the use of social media in disaster response. Rather than praising the quick-information system, the author criticizes it for the expected overflow of inherently useless information.Thus, researches have come up with a system of Micromapping to help coordinate mapping and social media efforts in response to disasters. Developed in Qatar, and exactly one month ago the U.N. called on them to test the program on the earthquake in Pakistan.They initially got the idea after crisis mapping Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Mappers used videos and pictures tweeted to compile their mapping information and accurately assess the damages.This article was great at showing the intertwined benefits and capabilities of using multiple ICTs. In particular, it uses the ability to map as a major factor in disaster response, that, combined with social media, is growing in importna.ce

One Unprotected? Laptop Per Child

As if we didn’t cover them enough in class, the One Laptop Per Child program has some major flaws. However, one glaring flaw of the program is its complete non-mention of safety guards for children on the internet. This article specifically sites that one of the OLPC leaders admitted that safety had been overlooked. Let that sink in. When creating a program to help children in developing countries what was overlooked?  Durability? No. Language Barriers? Of course not. Safety?…Oops.


Kids enrolled in the OLPC program and given the only semi user-friendly laptop are given the internet access with not only no previous exposure to the internet/internet culture, but no background in internet safety. In schools all across the U.S.A. children are taught in middle school about the dangers of chatrooms, giving out your personal information and meeting strangers online. When children in the OLPC program encounter these threats without previous knowledge of not only how to deal with them but the fact that a 40 year old man saying he wants to be “special friends” is in fact a threat!! This is not to say that “stranger danger” is a uniquely western concept, but the idea of internet safety should not be. Introducing internet services without safety training is introducing a new realm of threats for the children using these laptops and leaving them woefully unprepared.


Unfortunately, the OLPC leader did not say anything with regards to fixing the blatant incorporation of child safety in the program.

Climate Change & ICTs: A Double Edged Sword

According to this post from the World Summit on Information Society ICTs are starting to contribute to climate change and global warming. Ironically, ICTs are contributing to some of the disasters that they are also helping manage! I just thoroughly enjoyed this unique take on the relationship between ICTs and disasters! The presentation goes through the negative and positive effects ICTs have on the global climate change, however, the aspect of the publication most pertinent to ICT4D is the section entitled “Implications for Developing Countries”. However, this mostly explains how limited access to ICTs means limited benefits of ICTs when adapting to climate change.


Also, the climate focus gives an environmental lens to ICTs, and shows a whole new dimension to the downfalls of them which is truly not covered in any other intersectionality: carbon footprint.