This week, we will be having a very important guest speaker leading our class discussion, Wayan Vota. As one of the prominent experts in the field of information and communication technologies for development, Vota is currently the Communications Manager at Development Gateway. However, he has also worked as the senior director of Inveneo, and as a consultant for infoDev, which will be the focus of this post.
infoDev, which is short for Information for Development Program, is “a global partnership program within the World Bank Group which works at the intersection of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship to create opportunities for inclusive growth, job creation, and poverty reduction” (http://goo.gl/gRVQZ). Since its founding in 1996, infoDev has been infiltrating various markets in over 50 developing nations around the world by providing them with the technological innovations and support needed to solve their toughest problems. Partnering with governments, non-profits, other World Bank programs, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), infoDev works as coordinator between donors and local stakeholders in order to ensure effective creation and implementation of ICT4D programs. In 2004, infoDev transformed to become more of a “think tank” on ICT4D issues, utilizing their sponsorship of research and analysis in order to advise best practices. The program operates on three main themes: innovate, connect, and transform.
By supporting ICT-focused innovation by investors and social entrepreneurs, infoDev seeks to amplify the impact of those looking to do make one. The program accomplishes this tier through their network of incubators in developing countries, where partners can brainstorm innovative solutions and models.
infoDev acts a resource for both developing nations, and the agencies looking to work with them. The program also serves as support system to connect these two entities, and ensure that any progress that is made will be sustainable. infoDev places a huge emphasis on enabling access to “information infrastructure, applications, and services” for all in a way that can be maintained in the long run.
This partnership program conducts work in all sectors associated with ICT4D, be it health, education, business, or agriculture. infoDev acts as a consultant to stakeholders, guiding them through the best practices associated with deploying ICTs effectively. The program gains this knowledge through extensive field-based experimentation, evaluation, and research.
While I’m sure Vota will mention, even if only briefly, his work with infoDev, I would like to open up discussion about the context of a comment made about him on the infoDev website:
“Wayan is critical of the historical impact of technology on education for two reasons: First, the expense of piloting a new technology, and second, the major emphasis on the technology.”
Sound familiar? For some reason, the case study on One Laptop Per Child came to mind when I read this, what do you guys think about Vota’s supposed critiques on ICT for education?