I really enjoyed learning about ICT4D this semester. Before our class, I had no idea what ICT even stood for. As a graduating senior, it was a pleasant surprise to be learning some completely new concepts. After college, I hope to go to graduate school for a Masters of Public Policy, and eventually work in policy making and analysis. Reflecting back on this semester, I think many of the things we learned will be useful for a career in public policy.
I have a lot of areas of passion when it comes to public policy, including education reform, foreign policy, national security policy, and even social policy. I think that this class will be useful to me in many of these areas, since most of them involve ICT in some way or another. My ideal job right now would be to work in intelligence, a field where knowledge of ICT is a necessary skill. I hope that I can take more classes to further study computer science and ICT to use in a professional setting. I really enjoyed the two guest speaker days where several ICT4D professionals came and spoke about their work with technology. They showed me how many different types of jobs there are in IDEV that involve a high level of technological knowledge. I hope that after graduate school I can find a job that plays to my skills in IDEV and passion for ICT development.
In ICT4D Unwin discusses the extent to which ICTs are present in today’s world and how they are present in almost every aspect of our daily life. Furthermore, Unwin also points out their role as tools in the development and improvement of communities. Personally I believe that Unwin makes a very important point, ICTs are now present in areas that would not traditionally be associated with this kind of technology and are functioning as an aid to improve these fields. One such case is agriculture and the use it has given to ICTs particularly in developing countries. In the report titled “The Importance of ICTs in the provision of Information for Improving Agricultural Productivity and Rural Incomes in Africa” published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) it is proposed that access to technology will help farmers in Africa “improve agricultural productivity, practices and farmers livelihood”. The study argues that through the spread of information and knowledge farmers have the ability to improve the techniques they currently use and adopt new technologies. Furthermore, the report advocates for the spread of technology in the region particularly at schools to expose future generations to the power of technology. Despite the current increase in usage of ICTs in Africa and the potential they have for the agricultural development of the region certain barriers impede the spread in their usage. Particularly the report warns against two of them: high costs and monopolies. The report proposes that countries in Africa “cooperate in rolling out ICT platforms in terms of equipment and content”. This would reduce the costs of implementing new technologies and will allow for the cooperation in solving problems that exists throughout the whole region. In addition, to avoid monopolies and increase efficiency it suggests that governments in the region encourage competition between technology providers. In my opinion the impact that ICT can have in fields such as agriculture will serve as a stepping stone in the development of countries; however, governments of underdeveloped countries should create policies that facilitate the spread and use of these technologies in order to get the most out of them.