Tag Archives: ICT

China ICT4D Resources

China is not a country that has explicitly laid out its plans for information and communications technologies development, but they have published a few documents that outline some of the ways they plan to improve these areas of development. The closest document they have to a ICT4D policy is called, “China’s Informatization Strategy and its Impact on Trade in ICT Goods and ICT services”, was published by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and General Office of the State Council of China in 2006. China’s 5 year plans published by the National People’s Congress, most recently published in 2010, also contain some information related to ICTs.

Government Publications:

China’s Informatization Strategy

China’s 12th 5-Year Plan can be found by searching for it, but is only available in downloadable .pdf files

Other Agency and Organization Publications:

Rural Informatization in China can be downloaded from the World Bank. This is a working paper, so new versions are published when major changes need to be made.

IDC’s Top 10 Predictions for China’s ICT Market in 2014 and Beyond is a press release from a data analysis company highlights some of the more important indicators and what they might mean for the future.

 

Remember that the Chinese government is not keen on publishing documents that are clear in their intentions or expectations. So, market trends, data indicators, and other sources of information are the best way to understand China’s relationship with ICT4D’s.


Kenya ICT4D Resources

1. National Information and Communication Policy,published by the Ministry of Communications in 2006 National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy by the Ministry of Information and Communications (2006) 

2. http://www.information.go.ke

3. The case study I examined was that of a project called eLimu, who delivered tablets and educational software to schools in Kenya in 2012. http://e-limu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27&Itemid=51

4. External Resources

Click to access InfodevDocuments_409.pdf

Click to access Vol%202%20Paper%2010%20-%20Kenya%20ICT%20Sector%20Performance%20Review%202010.pdf

Internal Resources-

Click to access ICT_policy_guidelines_July_2013_FV3_-_5th_July_2013.pdf

5.  It was relatively easy to find quantitative data on Kenya’s ICT usage, because there is a lot of statistical data available, however this does not give an extremely accurate picture of what the average Kenyan’s ICT usage looks like. More reports and case studies would be helpful, although the data available is a good start.


Honduras ICT4D Resources

  1. The Honduran National ICT Policy is a PDF file that I cannot attach here. It is the first result when Googleing “Honduras National ICT Plan.” The file is in both English and Spanish and was published by a coalition of Korean governmental agencies and universities on behalf of the Honduran government in 2012.
  2. The only official governmental mention of ICT that I could find was a presentation by the office of the vice president titled “ICT & e-Government in Honduras.” The entire presentation is in Spanish.
  3. Girls in ICT Day– An event hosted by La Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones- CONATEL in coordination with the ITU Area Office for Central America, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba. The most recent event took place on April 26, 2012.
  4. A 2010 ITU report briefly mentioned Honduras but mostly provided background information.
  5. It was quite difficult to gather information on the ICT sector of Honduras. The government posted virtually nothing online and outside sources, such as the ITU report listed above, did not provide much information about the situation in Honduras.

Mexico ICT4D Resources

1.  The National ICT policy written 2013 by President Nieto, the document was an important step in Mexico’s ICT development . It was written officially by the office of the president and is all in Spanish. Here is another great page about the plans expected effects.

There WAS also a very important project to increase the amount of ICT’s in use by Mexican citizens called compuapoyo . It was very successful and allowed mexican citizens to purchase ICT’s at reduced prices.  Here is a video explaining

2.  Mexico’s ICT policy is overseen by the office of the president here

3. There are important non- official programs and NGO’s in Mexico that are integral to the ICT process:

The NGO that is very involved is called CUDI, it is involved in connecting Mexico’s schools, research centers, cities, and libraries. This organizations is so far very successful and has already laid down 8,000 KM of cable.

Two great newspaper article sabout the new national policy here and here

4. The resources for Mexico are relatively easy to find but they all in Spanish.  Mexico is also an interesting country to pick because they are really taking their ICT development seriously

YOU MUST AT LEAST KNOW BASIC SPANISH (on at least the 2030 level). If you know Spanish but are not fluent I would recommend this website as the best translator that is free on the internet Spanish Translator

 


Lessons Learned

I think one of the most salient lessons I learned from ICT4D is that information and communication technology can be used as a tool to expedite process from developing nation to developed, when implemented properly. It is also important to remember that ICT is not necessarily complex, expensive software and programs but can be as basic as a mobile phone. ICTs that provide access to the internet hold vast knowledge and information that, when available to developing nations, holds the potential to educate those that lacks alternative, feasible access to education. ICTs can not only provide knowledge and information, but can be used as a tool for harnessing the knowledge of individuals through crowdsourcing.

Because of this, I think the most useful theoretical framework in ICT4D is the people-centered approach. I’ve discussed this approach in several blog posts and don’t think its importance can be stressed enough. In development, we deal with these complex, vast issues that face such large numbers of people. It is easy to get wrapped up in the statistics and logistics and forget that it is the people we are trying to serve. ICTs can be used to empower individuals and increase their capacity for economic and personal growth. While it is nice to consider the large-scale effects of programs, it important to remember that one empowered individual will create a positive rippling effect throughout the community.

For me, this class reinforced the importance of addressing the needs of a community and their cultural context in IDEV initiatives. The instillation of thousands of laptops to a community is meaningless if the people do not have the knowledge to utilize them or if there exists a cultural blockade that would hinder use. This applies to all development programs. Access, supplies, tools, and money are not enough on their own. At the beginning of the semester, I was a bit scared to take an ICT4D class when I’m technologically stunted. Being forced to use new platforms such as WordPress and Twitter empowered me, in a sense, to begin becoming familiar and utilizing other available platforms.

 


ICT4D Important Lessons

Throughout this semester as we have learned about and discussed ICT4D project a few reoccurring themes stuck out to me. First, that pre-planning is crucial for any successful project. This type of planning is often overlooked when top-down projects are implemented. You need to fully understand the area in which you plan to work and the resources, both human and physical, that it has. A project won’t succeed if the people they are aimed at helping do not have the resources to charge devices you give them, to access the Internet, or do not possess the skills of how to use the ICT. This idea goes hand in hand with avoiding one-size fits all solutions. Each project needs to be tailored to the community and account for the unique culture and structural needs.

Second, it is important to ensure that whatever ICT project you develop is sustainable. You need to ensure that you plan for what happens when devices break or technological changes occur. Sustainability is important for all projects but especially in ICT4D because of the high cost of equipment. When planning for a project you need to account for which technologies are effective today and will remain the most relevant in the future. It is not sustainable to develop a project that uses technologies that will not stay relevant.

Most importantly, whenever possible it is important to partner with both the local government and community organizations. This gives your project the best resources possible. It ensures that you have community support and that your project is relevant to the community at large while simultaneously working with the government to help accomplish larger development goals.


Lessons learned- Jackson Boleky

ICT4D is a very interesting topic and class to take as an international development major because it really drives some concepts and common mistakes home. The lesson that I think is the most powerful and useful thing we learned is the rule of implementation, this means the success of an initiative is based primarily on its implementation. At first this might seem obvious, but as development majors we too often forget this; that no matter how incredible the technology or idea is, implementation is key. And we saw time and time again that the technology in some instances does not have to be incredible, Farm radio is a great example, but with good implementation and a culturally specific plan it has been very successful.

Crowd sourcing development tasks is the thing that i thought was most interesting we learned this semester. And it comes in many shapes and sizes from GIS to social media in disasters. In many instances this crowd sourcing can take stakeholder participation to a whole new level. This allows seeming insurmountable tasks to be accomplished as well as getting even more instantaneous feedback and thus better response times.

Finally the most important concept is the empowerment that ICT’s can bring, having a stable income is certainly empowering and necessary but this doesn’t translate necessarily into increased political or social power. But ICT’s can do just that their power lies in being connected to everything, similar to economics but the difference in many cases is as simple as viable access. Increased health, political power and greater social security can all result from all access to an ICT. But as we have also reviewed in class Governments have been slow to adopt and similar to wealth disparity the technology gap is widening and in many ways the third world is falling behind. This whole paragraph right here has been the main point of the class and is so important for development professionals to recognize and appreciate the power of ICT’s

 

 


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.


Pros and Cons: Conflict Early Warning Systems

On the subject of ICT4Peace, an article by two Payson graduates, Phuong N. Pham and Patrick Vinck was written in August of 2013, and explains how early warning systems can be used as they are for disasters, but for peace. I am going to synthesize the key points made in this article because “conflict” early warning systems should be in place, and it is relevant to Joseph Kony or even Ukraine, for example, to trigger early intervention when Russian troops are on the attack. The authors compare public health early warning systems and conflict early warning systems, and one of the main problems is that public heath warnings trickle down to involve local stakeholders, while conflict warnings are generally only given to policy makers at the top. How can we use ICTs to increase the effectiveness of conflict early warning systems?

Actors and response order:

  • People-centered and community-based approaches (changing roles): changes in who generates information, how it is generated, and who accesses it changes how we respond to conflict situations and breaks up hierarchies, potentially even human rights offenders
  • Emerging principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P): the duty to respond to early warning s of conflict by concerned governments and policy makers, including the UN

Key Challenges: Quality, ethics and response:

  • Responsibility to provide unbiased information: acccuracy and reliability of information in question, unequal access to ICTs
  • Ensure action is taken: requireeffort to respond to/address issues
  • Security of information: repressive regimes create new opportunities for human rights offenders when they monitor their citizens—this sensitive information must be kept secure and managed well…or else!
  • Ethical principles in research: protect human research subjects—is conflict early warning research? Can early warning systems create their own human rights violations?

Conclusion: Changes in early warning systems in response to ICTs will fundamentally change what is done and how. However, new ICTs also bring new concerns and ethical challenges. We must continue to monitor the effectiveness of programs and create practical guidelines for ICT4Peace practitioners.


“Smart” Undies

In class on Tuesday, March 18, we spoke about the difference between front office and back office in terms of the potential for ICTs in education. On Thursday we spoke of ICTs for health.  This article is about technologies that keep you away from the office altogether—the doctor’s that is.  Most of these technologies are mHealth technologies, defined by Meredith on her blog here.  There are eight initiatives: “smart” pill bottles, health tracking briefs, ThriveOn for customized mental health help, wearable fall protection underwear, baby monitor clipped to clothes, smart footwear, smartphone thermometer, and Scandu Scout to analyze vitals on your smartphone.  These are all new concepts that were on display at a recent South by Southwest conference.  I am going to analyze the two types of technological underwear.  Pixie Scientific is the company that created the health tracking briefs, smart diapers that contain an indicator panel that tracks UTIs and monitors hydration to prevent disease.  These diapers sound like a great idea for public health, more so than the ActiveProtective underwear with 3-D motion sensors to detect falls.

smartdiapers

However, if Pixie Scientific and ActiveProtective could combine the two?  How amazing!  They would be preventing UTIs by tracking hydration, injury with micro-airbags in the underwear, and a call for help.  The cons to these undergarments would be cost—Pixie Scientifics briefs are disposable and the infant version has been around for a while.  ActiveProtective must be brand new, because there is not any information online yet, but I can’t imagine micro airbags and whatever “call for help” technology is, is cheap.  Pixie Scientific seems to still be in its research stage.  I found a funding project for the program on indiegogo.  The company claims they will use the $21,491 raised to “fund manufacturing, a data-gathering study at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and another study meant to collect data for FDA registration”.  Mainly these diapers will screen for: urinary tract infections, prolonged dehydration, and developing kidney problems.  According to UrologyHealth, approximately 40 percent of women and 12 percent of men will experience at least one UTI in their lifetimes.  I’m a big fan of these diapers because I’m a public health major, and if they can reach their stretch goals: to search for endemic diseases and screen for early signs of type 1diabetes, that would be a huge deal in terms of promoting higher quality of life through disease prevention.