National ICT Policy:
National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper
Published By: Ministry of Communications
Date: January 24, 2014
Ministry of Communications
SIMPill Medication Adherence System
Agency: SIMPill, in partnership with Tellumat
Time Frame: June 2006 to April 2007.
Understanding What is Happening with ICT in South Africa
Authors: Alison Gillwald, Mpho Moyo and Christoph Stork
Organization: International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada
This paper gives a great overview of ICT in South Africa, what areas have already improved, what challenges still exists and what efforts are currently being made. The executive summary gives a general overview and specific sections provide really useful and comprehensive information.
South Africa: Internet, Computers and ICT
Organization: Stanford University
This is a great compilation of useful and reliable resources regarding ICT in South Africa. The page has reports, articles and studies on everything from ICT in education to e-Business in South Africa. Includes titles, source information and hyperlinks.
In the fight against eliminating poverty worldwide, there is one tool that is the most effective – education. According to the Global Partnership for Education, if all students in developing countries completed school with basic reading skills, global poverty could be cut by 12%. A good education can also reduce infant mortality rates, improve life-expectency and improve nationwide stability. There is an undeniable link between education and poverty reduction, and its up to those in the development community to try and improve access to education worldwide.
Thankfully, there are many industrious and innovative professionals who have taken this call to arms. These individuals are using ICTs to close the education gap, especially in rural communities. In an article for Human IPO, an online news journal for African tech news, author Gabriella Mulligan details the impact that Kusile Labs & Technology has had on schools in rural South Africa.
Kusile Labs & Technology works to install mobile science and computer laboratories in rural schools in an attempt to better educate these communities in the areas of technology and innovation. These mobile laboratories work to teach students important science and ICT concepts through laboratories that can easily be implemented in any environment. With these mobile laboratories, students can perform experiments through using and learning ICT tools. Hopefully, more organizations will follow the lead of Kusile Labs and will continue to help in the fight to bring improved educational technologies to the rural communities that need it most.
Intersexions is a TV show from South Africa that deals with HIV. It looks at how the HIV virus affects people’s lives, either by contracting the virus or how their relationships are affected by it. The show is shown in the local language and also has English subtitles in order to allow to it. Intersexions is produced by Curious Pictures in partnership with USAID and Johns Hopkins Education South Africa.
In order to see the effect that Intersexions has had on the people of South Africa, a survey was conducted in 2012. In response to this survey, it was concluded that nine million South Africans watched Intersexions. The survey also found that Intersexions decreased positive attitudes towards having more than one partner, increased attitudes towards condom use, and increased discussion about HIV testing.
Intersexions is an example of a very positive health intervention. It is shown in the local language with English subtitles because of the diverse culture of South Africa. It also doesn’t feel like the producers are lecturing. Instead, information about HIV is included into a story that is engaging and keeps watchers entertained. While creating similar TV shows may be expensive, it is no denying that there have been positive results in South Africa. More countries should jump on the bandwagon (with South Africa, Gambia, etc) and create these interesting shows that teach about tough subjects!
Radio is the most effective ICT in the developing world. People don’t realize the importance of radio communication in the developing world. First world countries’ residents are accustomed to the Internet and often forget that billions of people living in remote rural communities around the world don’t have access to it. While browsing the Internet and reading about the critical role of radio communication in developing nations, I found a blog called ‘Radio for Development.’ The blog (http://goo.gl/d1eynT) is maintained by Sam Coley – Senior Lecturer and Radio Degree Leader at Birmingham City University, UK. It contains a series of blog posts that describe radio-related development projects, mostly in Africa. What I like the most about the blog is that the content is very short and to the point. Most blogs entries also contain a short video that complements the entry. I strongly recommend everyone to read all of the blog’s posts. My favorite entry is about the South Africa bush radio project .
After learning about OLPC and seeing their promotional videos I began to do a little more research upon the topic and found a great article from 2009 in the UK Guardian by Cory Doctorow that brought up many valid and positive points regarding OLPC and innovation of educational laptop use.
While there have been many set backs to OLPC like scale backs and product design failure, it does not mean this project should fail or not be taken seriously. The innovation of being able to connect people all over the world with each other, not just through mobile phones, but also through laptops is priceless. Mobile phones are wonderful and have had great (positive) effects on many communities (rural included) bringing in education, food, health, and democracy though are not useful in disastrous times and can have great long term costs. While lap tops are more costly they only have initial costs and almost no operating costs although similarly to mobile phones connectivity can be an issue. This is an issue that is only going to be fixed in time, but that does not mean OLPC is set up for failure. IT is in all social groups and a crucial part of many people’s lives. The OLPC project is straying from the old school approach of aid that enables more poverty by creating dependency, and instead focusing on creating capital and skills through education. By connecting the younger generation together and teaching them about technology OLPC is creating a first step to break the cycle of poverty. Many great things have had glitches before they turn into masterpieces and OLPC has great potential to become one.
After the 2003 World Summit on Information Society in Geneva the world saw a need to make the tools for measuring and monitoring progress using ICT indicators. The UN sent out a questionnaire that explored the “official information society” statistics to 179 developing countries, of which 86 answered completely. The results are organized in a report in the following seven sections: ICT household indicators, ICT indicators in the business sector, status of ICT indicators in Africa, status of ICT indicators in Central Asia and Central and Eastern European countries, status of ICT indicators in Western Asia, status of ICT indicators in Asia-Pacific, status of ICT indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean. The ICT household indicators section has information on the sources of information, the survey vehicles, availability of the 20 indictors, as well as the differences in social classifications for the ICT statistics. The business sector uses different methods of surveying and other information techniques to see how ICT indicators are in the business sector. While all the other sections above did not get as much as a response and further research and information is needed before more analysis. The actual questionnaire was divided in four main parts and mainly focused on the “institutional and technical systems established” for monitoring ICT statistics, ignoring details on key metadata on the indicator level. After all the different reports were presented regionally in different formats they were standardized and made into a common framework. The report is trying to help understand the ICT situation for different regions depending on their income and GDP levels. One of the goals was to get a consensus for a universal set of core ICT indictors, make a better statistical capacity in developing nations, and make a global database for core ICT indictors. These reports help as they make it easier for one it see progress in ICT use and availability as well as make inferences on poverty. It also allows nations to see where they are lacking and how they compare to others. A universal set of core indicators would also make it easier in general to monitor and evaluate the information society (and other things) and ICT capability. For instance Africa had a low response rate with only 19 out of 52 nations answering, a total of 42% of the regional population. South Africa is shown to have a lower middle income and medium access, which is higher than many of the other African nations, but still failed to answer much of the questionnaire. This shows that South Africa and the African region need to improve on answering such questionnaires so that universal core indicators can be set and monitored. Although not fully successful the report was very factual and is a good base for future research.