Category Archives: Case Studies

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


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.


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. 


Muslim feminists online

While doing some general research on social media activism, I came across an article about social media platforms dedicated to the efforts of Muslim feminists. With images of Muslim women wearing burqas and the tragically inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai in my mind, I do not readily associate feminism with having a significant role in the Muslim religion. It turns out that there are numerous blogs written by Muslim women trying to reinterpret their religion with a feminist point of view. Sadia Ali wrote this blog post about her discovery of Muslim feminists online and how she went on to create pages on several social media platforms for these women to be able to collaboratively study the role of their gender within Islam. She reports that the conversations that ensued between women on these sites are harmonious, empathetic and genuinely curious. Some reject the idea that social roles should be based on gender while some do not. Most basically and most practically, ICTs contribute to development improving access to necessary information. However, I believe that  the ICT of social media can go beyond these basics. Allowing a marginalized population to virtually come together can redevelop cultural values and preconceived notions, with time potentially leading to a widespread lifestyle change. I know this sounds overly optimistic, bordering on naive (unless I’m already there), but a culture’s reconsideration of its treatment and perception of either gender must begin with an honest conversation, particularly revolving around the original source (whether it be a holy text, constitution, etc.). Although cyberactivism is not completely understood and is widely criticized for not making a significant impact, it does have the ability to open up such conversation, as exemplified by Ali’s Muslim Feminism Facebook page.


Spotlight on IMVU

In an effort to try to define social media in class we examined a social media landscape graphic. There were several sections, which showed us how diverse, and expansive social media can be past the frequented Facebook and Twitter. For example one of the least highlighted forms of social media is “virtual worlds”. There was a section for virtual worlds and one next to it for social games. I know next to nothing about either of these topics but one title did stick out to me. Recently I read Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup. Ries is one of the cofounders of a virtual listed on the landscape. I was extra fascinated to learn about what his business, IMVU, actually does more and it’s purpose as a social media instrument because I knew of it from the angle of a startup business.

IMVU is a social media because it is a platform allowing members to make 3D avatars in order to “meet new people, chat, create, and play games with their friends in various languages in the United States and internationally.” The way it works is you just sign up or you can chose to sign in through Facebook, Twitter, or your Google account and then you create an avatar. You get to choose a name and you must enter your email address. It is strictly social and essentially a way to pass the time. Through my investigation I find no other purpose for it in the way that social media can be used as communication tactics to the greater public. This would only be a communication tactic within members about the avatars and their actions within the site. If this is a fascinating and puzzling to you as it is to me check out this info video!

The most similar thing to these virtual worlds is a site we read about called Games for Change. Games for Change helps create similar “entertainment” games but these stimulate social impact. This forum elicits more purpose (in my humble opinion) than IMVU be because of its efforts to harness this tool for “humanitarian and education efforts.”


Security in a Box

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After Adam Hash’s talk on Tuesday, it seems that the only way to protect our personal information is to be, well, some hay in the haystack. In class we’ve been introduced to countless organizations that have conducted hundreds of studies. The plethora of information collected is incalculable. But where is all this information stored and how is it protected? NGO’s, socially-conscious organizations, and governments have collected sensitive data such as HIV status, sexual orientation, political preference, etc. that could compromise the privacy and safety of the individual if accessed by malicious users. However, cyber security is generally not a budgetary priority of NGOs. Unless there is a direct and easily identifiable adversary (such as Greenpeace and Japanese whalers), security measures are often seen as unnecessary overhead costs. Much such organizations are already structured to minimize overhead and administrative costs as much as possible. Yet, a security breach could seriously harm the beneficiaries of the organization/initiative, as well as the reputation and work of the organization itself

Fortunately, there are solutions out there. The Tactical Technology Cooperative, an international non-profit whose mission is to “advance the skills, tools, and techniques of rights advocates, empowering them to use information and communications to help marginalized communities understand and effect progressive social, environmental and political change”, has launched a project that directly addresses cyber security of human rights advocates and organizations. Security in a Box offers informative how-to booklets and guides which allow an organization to up their security measures, free of charge. Each of the guides includes free, open-source software as well as instructions on how to use it. Topics include “How to remain anonymous and bypass censorship on the internet” or “CCleaner – Secure File Deletion and Work Session Wiping”. They even offer special guides for mobile security. Perhaps most impressively, the information is available in 11 languages, including Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and Indonesian. 


Government-funded Laptop Project Faces Opposition… From Parents

This week in class we studied the One Laptop Per Child organization and had a lengthy discussion about its obvious flaws. As IDEV students, we often find ourselves criticizing the various projects and organizations we study; its rare, however, that we see the beneficiaries of these projects condemning them as well. This article from the Associated Press in July 2013 discussed why a group of Kenyan parens voiced their opposition to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s $615 million plan to give laptops to 1.2 million school children. Parents felt that the money for the computers should be put towards raising teachers’ salaries and feeding impoverished students.

As one member of the Kenya National Association of Parents explained, “the program is bound to fail in a country that lacks enough teachers and where others strike regularly for better pay”. In 2013, Kenya faced a shortfall of 40,000 teachers. Additionally, more than 200,000 teachers in public schools across the country went on strike to protest unpaid allowances that the government had promised 16 years earlier. These parents felt that current teachers did not have the capacity to implement laptops into the classroom due to lack of training and a government-developed curriculum for the project. Additionally, a previous incident where 70 million textbooks in a public primary-school went missing added to worries that many laptops would be lost, stolen, or sold for food money.

One government spokesman defended the laptop project, saying it was crucial to Kenya’s goal of training a digital-savvy workforce. The Consumer Federation of Kenya, on the other hand, said the project had noble intentions but was “not well thought out and was politicized beyond redemption.” Many parents also felt there were better alternatives to how the government’s money should be spent when it comes to public education. In order to meet the population’s education demands, Kenya needs 42,000 classrooms. The money used for the laptops could be put towards building more schools to expand the country’s education system. Alternatively, some of the money would be better used to fund more children in the nation-wide school food program, meant to help poor children to stay in school, improve their health, and encourage nutrition.