Vol 2: ICTs and Sustainable Solutions for the Digital Divide: Practical Approaches

Development Informatics and Regional Information Technologies:
Theory, Practice and the Digital Divide

Editors: Jacques Steyn, Jean-Paul van Belle, Eduardo Mansilla Villanueva


Foreword


Prof Sospeter Muhango
ICSU Regional Office for Africa Pretoria, South.

The Foreword


Introduction

The Introduction.


A. Public access to ICT and telecentres

  1. Re-thinking methodology through the e-Bario Project. From Participatory methods to a relational approach to ICT for Rural Development in Sarawak, East Malaysia
    Poline Bala
  2. Bringing the internet to the rural area: a case study of the 'Kedaikom' project in Malaysia
    Zulkefli bin Ibrahim, Ainin Sulaiman, Tengku M. Faziharudean
  3. The Siyakhula living lab: a holistic approach to rural development through ICT in rural South Africa
    Caroline Pade Khene, Ingrid Siebörger, Hannah Thinyane, Lorenzo Dalvit
  4. Does IT Help or Not? Computers for Development in the Andes
    Antonio Díaz Andrade
  5. Digital Doorways
    Kim Gush, Ruth de Villiers, Ronel Smith, Grant Cambridge
  6. Information and Communication Technologies in Administrative Reform for Development: Exploring the Case of Property Tax Systems in Karnataka, India
    Shefali Virkar

B. Cultural and social matters

  1. Localisation of Indigenous Content: Libraries and Knowledge Centres and the Our Story Database in the Northern Territory
    Jason Gibson, Brian Lloyd and Cate Richmond
  2. Mobile phones, diasporas and developing countries; a case study of connectedness among Chinese in Italy
    Graeme Johanson, Tom Denison
  3. "The men never say that they do not know" - Telecentres as gendered spaces
    Dorothea Kleine

C. Mixed media and localization

  1. Reducing digitial divide. The case of the ‘People First Network’ (PFNet) in the Solomon Islands
    Anand Chand
  2. Stronger Voices? Experiences in Paraguay with Interactive ICTs
    Claire E. Buré

D. Managing ICT4D

  1. Donor Project funded ICT Initiatives in the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) Sector of Asian Developing Countries: A Systems Approach to Managing Project Intervention Processes
    Channa Gunawardena, David Brown
  2. iREACH: Lessons from a Community Owned ICT Network in Cambodia
    Helena Grunfeld, Seán Ó Siochrú, Brian Unger, Sarun Im

E. Informed planning and cooperation

  1. Why Institutional Partnerships Matter: A Regional Innovation Systems Approach to Making the ICT for Development Projects More Successful and Sustainable
    Rajendra Kumar
  2. Developed in the South" – an evolutionary and prototyping approach to developing scalable and sustainable health information systems
    Vincent Shaw, Jorn Braa
  3. The role of statistics in Development Informatics
    Jacques Steyn

Authors


A. Public access to ICT and telecentres

1. Re-thinking methodology through the e-Bario Project. From Participatory methods to a relational approach to ICT for Rural Development in Sarawak, East Malaysia


Poline Bala

Abstract

This chapter highlights the value and limitations of participative development employed in the implementation of an ICT-based research and development project in the Kelabit Highlands of Central Borneo. The first section describes the reasons for e-Bario project and why participative development, with a strong emphasis on the anthropological methods of immersion and Participatory Action Research (PAR), has been adopted as development approach in Bario. In the second section I interrogate participatory development as practiced in the e-Bario by bringing to light a number of problematic aspects of the participative technique, in which conflicts have arisen over the development process, and the interpretation of participation itself has been vigorously questioned. Later, I propose a relational view of the participative process, which suggests a shift of focus from technology to people and social relations. My argument is that a relational perspective of participative process can open up a social space for local people and developers to identify, cultivate and establish social relationships both within and beyond a project’s framework. It is these bonds of trust and obligation, developed and sustained over the longer term, that have allowed the Kelabit and the researchers to work out their social relationships to one another in matters concerning e-Bario.

Author

Dr. Poline Bala is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). She is also the Deputy Director of Centre of Excellence in Rural Informatics at University Malaysia Sarawak. Her area of interest and research includes examining the impacts of political boundary lines on the formation of cultural, political and economic units at the border regions of Borneo. Most recently her research explores the role of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) on development activities in rural Sarawak. Looking specifically at the e-Bario project which she and a team of researchers initiated in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak in 1998, she examines social change that is connected to the use of ICT in Bario of Central Borneo.


2. Bringing the internet to the rural area: a case study of the 'Kedaikom' project in Malaysia

Zulkefli bin Ibrahim Ainin Sulaiman Tengku M. Faziharudean

Abstract

Malaysia is among the most aggressive developing countries in the world that promotes the usage of ICT to its population through the support by the government policies and programs targeting its mass population. Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation study shows that Malaysia’s e-readiness level is relatively high compared to other ASEAN countries (Tung et al., 2002s by the year 2007, the penetration rate for the population with Internet dial-up connection is 14.3 as compared to only a mere 7.1 in 2000 (SKMM, 2008). Meanwhile, the penetration rate for broadband connection has jumped from only 0.08 in the year 2002 (when the service was introduced in Malaysia) to 5.0 in 2007 (SKMM, 2008). The growth in the broadband connection penetration rate among Malaysian is very important, as most of the “meaningful” used of ICT applications could be accessed only by having the broadband Internet connection. However, with the uneven distribution of the basic “infostructure” (such fixed telephony line or Internet connection) between the urban and rural area, the cost to be connected to the Internet that is still considered to be high by its rural population, as had been reflected by their low “Willingness-to-Pay” (T M Faziharudean & Mitomo, 2006); and the lack of local contents that suit their needs, it is still a challenge for Malaysia to achieve its Vision 2020 Agenda moving the nation towards an information society by the year 2020, unless the rural populations get involved and participating actively in using the ICT. It is also expected that the gap of digital divide that exist between the urban and rural population of Malaysia will get wider without government, private sectors and the community itself intervenes with programs that will encourage the usage of ICT, specifically Internet to the rural population. Among the existing programs that have been carried out by the government to encourage the usage of ICT by the rural population include InfoDesa and Kedaikom, with the general aim is to engage the community to get exposed and to use the ICT, encouraging the diffusion of the ICT technology to the rural population or the underserved community. The research investigated by using a questionnaire survey of how Kedaikom, as a community telecenter could play a role in encouraging the rural or underserved community to use the ICT. The result from the survey will be able to provide a guideline on how the government could implement a community telecenter that could bridge the digital divide between the underserved rural population and the well-accessed urban population in Malaysia.

Authors

Zulkefli bin Ibrahim

Dr Zulkefli bin Ibrahim is the Director at Management Development Division, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation & Management Planning Unit, Kuala Lumpur

Ainin Sulaiman

Prof Dr Ainin Sulaiman obtained her PhD from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. She is currently attached to the Operations and Management Information Systems Department, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her research interest includes technology adoption and diffusion, digital divide, electronic commerce and performance evaluation.

Tengku M. Faziharudean

Dr Tengku Mohamed Faziharudean obtained his doctorate from Global Information & Telecommunication Studies, Waseda University, Japan. He is currently attached to the Operations and Management Information Systems Department, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His research interest includes the issues related to digital divide, technology adoption and diffusion and in area of Internet banking.


3. The Siyakhula living lab: a holistic approach to rural development through the development and deployment of an ICT communication platform in rural South Africa

Caroline Pade Khene Ingrid Siebörger Hannah Thinyane Lorenzo Dalvit

Abstract

Rural development and poverty alleviation are a priority for development in South Africa. Information and knowledge are key strategic resources for social and economic development, as they empower rural communities with the ability to expand their choices through knowing what works best in their communities. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) act as tools which enable existing rural development activities. The Siyakhula living lab (SLL) aims to develop and field-test a distributed, multifunctional community communication platform, using localization through innovation, to deploy in marginalized communities in South Africa. The project exists as research collaboration between the Telkom Centres of Excellence at the University of Fort Hare and Rhodes University. Its current pilot operates in the Mbashe municipal area, which is a deep rural area located along the wild coast of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The Dwesa-Cweba Nature Reserve acts as a chief asset in the community, which contributes to tourism development. However, the community is currently not actively involved in tourism development; but potential exists in local arts, crafts, and authentic heritage tourism. Therefore, the SLL aspires to empower the community with appropriate communication technology skills to actively support tourism development and other complementary development activities, such as, education. The lessons learned and applied in the project’s current pilot stage identify techniques and approaches that aim to promote the effectiveness and sustainability of the ICT project in a rural context. These approaches and techniques are viewed and described from social-cultural, institutional, economic, and technological perspectives.

Authors

Caroline Pade Khene

Caroline Pade Khene is a PhD research candidate in the Department of Information Systems at Rhodes University, South Africa. She also holds a Masters in Information Systems (2005-2006), and a Bachelor of Business Science in Information Systems and Mathematical Statistics (2001-2004) from Rhodes University. Her current research is on the development and implementation of an evaluation framework for rural ICT projects in developing countries. This research was inspired by her Masters research on an investigation of ICT project management techniques for sustainable ICT projects in rural development. Her involvement in the Siyakhula Living Lab since inception has provided her with the opportunity to experience and research the realities and context of rural ICT projects. She has participated as a Baseline Study researcher for the Siyakhula Living Lab from 2008-2009; to assess the existing socio-economic and readiness status of the community the ICT project aims to support. In 2008, she acted as a Baseline Study collaborator between the Siyakhula Living Lab and the Moutse Living Lab of the Meraka Institute. She continues to evaluate other key aspects of rural ICT projects. Her research interests include ICT for development, project management, requirements elicitation, and project evaluation.

Ingrid Siebörger

Ingrid Siebörger has a Masters degree in Computer Science from Rhodes University (2006 with Distinction), where she investigated Models of Internet connectivity for secondary schools. She is currently working towards a PhD in Computer Science focusing on ICT architectures that are pedagogically suitable and cost effective for secondary schools in South Africa. She has been the research assistant for the Telkom Centre of Excellence (an industry sponsored research group) in the Computer Science Department at Rhodes University since 2006 and is involved in a number of ICT4D projects within the Centre of Excellence, focusing on network provision in rural or peri-urban green field environments and the use of technology in and for education.

Hannah Thinyane

Hannah Thinyane has a PhD in Computer Science from University of South Australia, where she investigated human computer interaction techniques in ubiquitous computing environments.  She is currently employed as a lecturer in Computer Science at Rhodes University.  Her field of research is in human computer interaction, particularly within a development context.  She is involved in a number of ICT4D projects within the Telkom Centre of Excellence at Rhodes University, including the Siyakhula Living Lab.

Lorenzo Dalvit

Lorenzo Dalvit holds a Laurea in Sociology from the University of Trento (Italy), an MA in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies from Rhodes University (South Africa) and a PhD in ICT Education from Rhodes University (South Africa). He is a Lecturer in ICT Education in the Education Department at Rhodes University. He is also the Research and ICT coordinator of the South Africa – Norway Tertiary Education Development (SANTED) programme within the African Studies Section of the School of Languages at Rhodes University. He has been a researcher in Multilingualism and ICT for many years within the Telkom Centre of Excellence in the Computer Science Department at Rhodes University and at the University of Fort Hare (South Africa). Dr Dalvit has published extensively across disciplines on issues related to ICT, language and cultural issues and their impact on social development and access to education. His contributions range from edited collections, textbooks and book chapters to articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. He has organised and presented at a local and international conferences, and presented work at institutions in South Africa and overseas. Dr Dalvit has initiated and contributed to various ICT for development projects. He conducts and supervises research within the Siyakhula project in rural South Africa. He initiated a stream of accredited ICT qualifications in Dwesa, a rural area in the marginalised and economically impoverished region of Transkei. His vision is to turn the area in a centre for ICT education, capable of attracting students from the whole of Transkei. Dr Dalvit is also involved in outreach ICT for development projects in marginalised suburbs of Grahamstown, where Rhodes University is based. He is an associate of Translate.org.za, and NGO committed to making open-source software accessible in all 11 South African languages.


4. Does IT Help or Not? Computers for Development in the Andes


Antonio Díaz Andrade

Abstract

The number of information and communication technology (ICT) projects aimed to contributing to development has increased around the globe. Most of the calls for providing ICT tools to poor, and isolated, communities share the implicit assumption that ICT provision per se will contribute in improving people’s living conditions. However, an enthusiastic stance is not enough to achieve such goals as this chapter illustrates through an examination of the existent conditions in Huanico, a remote village in the northern Peruvian Andes. Using an interpretive case study design and grounded theory method in a combined fashion, the author discovers, analyses and explains why under circumstances of severe scarcity and isolation computers can do little in helping local people, even if they were willing to embrace the new available technology. Through an inductive approach, this chapter reveals that the only computer available at the local telecentre in Huanico, one of the eight communities where an extensive ICT initiative in the region was deployed, has been hardly noticed for most of local people. Instead, villagers make explicit their enjoyment of having a satellite public telephone available at the telecentre. Those few individuals who anticipated the benefits computers may bring to the community express their feelings of frustration of which was supposed to be an essential tool for development. The findings challenge the sometimes over-optimistic stances on ICT benefits adopted by international development agencies, national governments, non-governmental organisations and donors. Conversely, it confirms the need to take into account infrastructural, socio-political and cultural issues and stresses the relevance of establishing the correct priorities before launching any ICT for development initiative.

Author

Antonio Díaz Andrade is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand. Antonio has accumulated more than 13,000 hours of work in projects and became a Project Management Professional (PMP) in 2009. He obtained his doctoral degree (PhD) in Management Science and Information Systems from The University of Auckland in 2007, under the sponsorship of The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. His main research interest is in the transmission of computer-mediated information, especially in underserved communities, through existing face-to-face networks. His work has been published in the Information Technology for Development journal, The Qualitative Report, the Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries and a number of book chapters. Antonio has also presented at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Working Group 9.4 “Computers in Developing Countries”, among other prestigious forums.


5. Digital Doorways

Kim Gush Ruth de Villiers Ronel Smith Grant Cambridge

Abstract

The Digital Doorway is a joint initiative between the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and South Africa's Department of Science and Technology (DST), with a vision of making a fundamental difference to computer literacy and associated skills in the South African population. Underpinning the project is the idea of people’s inherent cognitive ability to teach themselves computer skills with minimal external intervention. For this to happen, computers must be easily accessible to potential learners in an environment conducive to experimentation. Given the low percentage of communities in disadvantaged areas in South Africa with access to computer infrastructure, Digital Doorways are installed in communities where the need is greatest. The systems are extremely robust and employ open source content.

The project team has moved from an action research to a design-based research paradigm, simultaneously deploying and improving the systems over the past six years. The novel method of instruction (unassisted learning) and the challenging operating environment call for both innovation and careful engineering of all aspects of the system. User interaction at the sites has been carefully observed. Numerous challenges, complexities and controversies, both social and technological, have surfaced and continue to surface as the project progresses. Valuable learning has been acquired around community engagement, ownership and site acquisition and numerous ‘soft’ issues that ultimately determine a project's success or failure.

Both qualitative and quantitative research have been conducted. Feedback from users has been mostly positive and there is a demand both from government and private sector companies for many more Digital Doorways to be deployed throughout South Africa and worldwide. Sustainability, community ownership and maintenance remain the greatest challenges to the long-term success of the project. Despite the challenges, unassisted learning can be effectively used to provide basic computer literacy training in rural and impoverished communities in South Africa.

Authors

Kim Gush

Kim Gush studied electronic engineering and computer science at UCT, completing his Bsc Eng in 1996. He has been working in development and research at the Counsel for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa since 1998. He has been involved in the Digital Doorway 'Unassisted Learning' project since 2002. He is involved with system design and open source software implementation on the Digital Doorway systems.

Ruth de Villiers

Ruth de Villiers is a professor in the School of Computing at the University of South Africa (UNISA), one of the world’s mega-universities. UNISA is a distance-teaching institution, which emphasizes the role of research into open distance learning and educational technology. Ruth has a PhD and also holds masters degrees in the domains of Information Systems and Computer-integrated Education, respectively. For more than twenty five years, she has taught Computer Science and Informatics. Her major current research interests and teaching areas are Human-Computer Interaction and e-Learning. She has combined these areas by undertaking research and development in the usability and usability evaluation of a broad variety of e-learning applications and environments, including systems targeting users across the Digital Divide. She has also published in the focus area of meta-research, involving work on various research designs and methodologies. Ruth supervises masters and doctoral students in the fields mentioned above.

Ronel Smith

Ronel Smith is a project manager at the Counsel for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She has been closely involved with the Digital Doorway project since 2002.

Grant Cambridge

Grant Cambridge has been working as a researcher at the Counsel for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) since 1997. He has been involved in the Digital Doorway 'Unassisted Learning' project since 2002. He is involved in the system design, manufacturing process and deployment of the Digital Doorways.


6. Information and Communication Technologies in Administrative Reform for Development: Exploring the Case of Property Tax Systems in Karnataka, India


Shefali Virkar

Abstract

This chapter critically examines the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in governmental reform processes in development through a case study of the Indian State of Karnataka. This study explores the increasing use of ICTs for property taxation and itsimpact on municipal government reform processes within this developing world context. The case study is focused on a collaboration between the government of the Indian state of Karnataka and the eGovernments Foundation (a non-profit private sector organisation) between 2002 and 2006. This collaboration was designed to reform existing methods of property tax collection by establishing an online system across the municipalities of 56 towns and cities within the state. The case study describes the interactions between new technologies and changing information flows in the complexities of public administration reform. In doing so, this paper examines the interplay of local and external factors shaping the project’s implementation. On the basis of this analysis, this case study suggests that disjunctions in these local and external relationships have inhibited more effective exploitation of ICTs in this development context.

Author

Shefali Virkar is research student at the University of Oxford, U K, currently reading for a D.Phil. in Politics. Her doctoral research seeks to explore the growing use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to promote better governance in the developing world, with special focus on the political and institutional impacts of ICTs on local public administration reform in India. Shefali holds an MA in Globalisation, Governance and Development from the University of Warwick, UK. Her Master’s thesis analysed the concept of the Digital Divide in a globalising world, its impact developing countries and the ensuing policy implications. At Oxford, Shefali is a member of Keble College.


B. Cultural and social matters

7. Localisation of Indigenous Content: Libraries and Knowledge Centres and the Our Story Database in the Northern Territory

Jason Gibson Brian Lloyd Cate Richmond

Abstract

The Northern Territory Library's (NTL) Libraries and Knowledge Centres (LKC) program is one of a number of programs across Australia designed to bring ICTs and Indigenous people together within an appropriate technology / community-networking framework. A center-piece is the use of the Our Story database to hold and display both repatriated and contemporary, including born-digital, cultural material relevant to local communities. The LKC model is distinctive in that it is fully implemented, uses proven technology, has a consistent framework of program delivery, and a clear business case. However there continues to be fundamental questions on striking a balance between technical innovation and sustainability; the capacity of the program to expand while maintaining support in geographically remote areas; and the challenge of maintaining a relationship of trust with local communities. Reviewing the challenges of the Our Story / LKC program sheds light on key reasons why ICT-based community-networking projects succeed or fail.

Authors

Jason Gibson

Jason has ten years of experience conducting research and working collaboratively with Aboriginal people in Central Australia. For the past three years, he has assisted a number of remote Aboriginal communities to establish digital archives of cultural and historical materials as a part of the Northern Territory Library’s Libraries and Knowledge Centres Program. Jason’s work history includes research consultancies with both the University and government sectors regarding the design of cultural heritage services for Indigenous communities, the management of Indigenous knowledge in digital environments, and the indexing the field diaries of the seminal anthropologist and linguist TGH Strehlow. He has also been periodically engaged as a specialist documenter of Indigenous cultural knowledge, mythology and social histories in the Arandic language region. Jason holds a Masters degree from Swinburne University of Technology. His thesis investigated Indigenous uses of online technologies following the popularisation of the Internet and other digital technologies in the late 1990s. He has published a number writings on the interface between digital media technologies and Indigenous culture for both a scholarly and popular audience. He is currently a researcher with the Australian National Universities 'Reconstructing the Spencer and Gillen Collection: Museums, Indigenous Perspectives and Production of Cultural Knowledge’ ARC Linkage project and is based at Museum Victoria.

Brian Lloyd

Brian Lloyd has been a professional writer / researcher for the past five years. He currently works at Australian Parliament House, Canberra. Before this he held research, teaching and information roles in universities and, for a time, with a software company. He holds a Ph.D. in English and a Masters in Business Information Technology. Brian has written on a variety of subjects, including: nuclear policy; Indigenous affairs; alcohol and other drugs; Defence; trade; ICTs; libraries; and the literary avant-garde.

Cate Richmond

Cate Richmond is Assistant Director, Public Libraries and Knowledge Centres, Northern Territory Library. Cate has held this position since 2004 and has overseen the implementation of the Libraries and Knowledge Centres Program: a new model for library services to remote Indigenous communities in the Territory. Cate has more than 30 years of library experience and has worked in the academic, government and public library sectors. Cate has a Bachelor of Arts from Flinders University and a Graduate Diploma of Librarianship from Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education.

Since joining Northern Territory Library, Cate has published several papers on Indigenous library services and is the Northern Territory representative on the National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) Indigenous Library Services and Collections Working Group. She is committed to ensuring that all Territorians, no matter where they live, have access to relevant library services, with opportunities to preserve and access their cultural heritage.


Jason Gibson, Brian Lloyd and Cate Richmond


8. Mobile phones, diasporas and developing countries; a case study of connectedness among Chinese in Italy

 
Graeme Johanson   Tom Denison

Abstract

It is no coincidence that the migrant worker and the phone are both highly mobile. Research into the role of mobile or cell phones by Chinese migrant labourers, migrating within and outside China, show that the phones are a survival device, a means to perpetuate an important sense of belonging to a community in virtual form, and a method of transferring resources back to poor parts of the homeland. Mobiles help to cope in a foreign culture and to find work and ethnic solidarity. Above all, they provide connectedness. This chapter summarises the findings of a survey of 74 Chinese migrants living in Prato, Italy, as an example of Chinese migrants in Europe. It was administered in late 2008. Prato as a province has the largest Chinese migrant population in Italy, numbering about 30,000. The research aimed to understand the usefulness of mobile phones to migrant residents who need to keep in touch with their friends and families, in China and Italy, and their other communication needs, and whether mobiles satisfy their expectations. Participants in this study are well-served by mobiles. The typical participant in the study was a recently-arrived young single male from Zhejiang, China, speaking Wenzhouese, but with proficiency in other languages, experiencing the novelty of using a recently-purchased ‘Nokia’ phone, and who, whilst spending more than 10 Euros a month on the phone for keeping in touch with friends in China, was very aware of mobile running costs. More research is planned to flesh out the findings further.

Authors

Graeme Johanson

Graeme Johanson began professional life as a librarian, moving into academia after a decade of work experience. ICTs were in their infancy. His first academic qualifications were in history and law. His PhD research dealt with the hegemonic cultural and economic exchange of books around the British Empire, and their contributions to particular forms of development. In different universities he has taught and researched about disciplinary territories, information management, knowledge management, community informatics, community networks, learning commons, knowledge preservation, development informatics, e-research, migrant diasporas, and related themes. He has worked in faculties of Arts, Humanities, Communications Studies, Business, Education, and Information Technology. Multidisciplinarity has become a way of life!

Tom Denison

Dr. Tom Denison is a Research Associate with the Centre for Community Networking Research (CCNR) within Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology. His main research focus is in the areas of social and community informatics, focusing on the take-up and sustainable use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) by non-profit organisations, and the use of ICTs by migrants and migrant support organisations. With a background in library automation and electronic publishing, Tom has also consulted widely in Australia and Vietnam.


9. "The men never say that they do not know" - Telecentres as gendered spaces


Dorothea Kleine

Abstract

There have been many case studies in the literature on telecentres, often seeking to analyse the usage of these facilities via surveys and covering gender issues by “counting women”. This chapter presents a more qualitative and ethnographic account, exploring one particular telecentre in a small town in rural Chile and comparing it with the seven local commercial cybercafés. This local reality is situated in the context of Chile’s national ICT strategy, the Agenda Digital, and linked to interviews with policymakers at the national level. The first section of the chapter will introduce the Chilean telecentre strategy, in particular the BiblioRedes programme, and will cover the points raised in the editor’s checklist. The primary research included a short survey at the telecentre, on users’ age, gender, occupation, education, access habits and usages, but even more revealing is six months’ participant observation and interviews with users. The analysis confirmed availability, affordability and skills as important factors in determining internet usage, but also uncovered two other key issues: social norms around the use of time and of space. These social norms are heavily gendered. Social norms around time usage mean that married women struggle to fit in IT trainings with household duties. As far as space is concerned, it is far more socially acceptable for women to spend time in the telecentre than in cybercafés. In the commercial cybercafés, computers are placed in narrow cabins and screens are not publicly visible. There is little interaction between users, who are almost exclusively young men. The telecentre is situated in the local library, run by a female librarian and used as a social space by women of different ages. The space is wide enough for prams and wheelchairs and the screens are publicly visible. Users, often less affluent members of the community and/or women, are socially in a position to ask the staff questions, while men’s higher social status makes it harder for them to seek help with their IT skills learning. The chapter concludes with some practical recommendations for designing access spaces and IT training courses in a gender-sensitive way which may apply to rural Chile and other heavily gendered societies. It also calls for a more nuanced analysis of gender aspects in ICT4D research, one that goes beyond simply “counting women”.

Author

Dr Dorothea Kleine is Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and a member of the ICT4D Collective/UNESCO Chair in ICT4D. Her research interests include: theoretical approaches to ICT4D; the capability approach; globalisation and trade; Fair Trade; ethical consumption; gender; and local economic development. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and is author of Surfen in Birkenstocks (Oekom, 2005). From 2004-2007 she was Managing Editor of the journal Information Technologies and International Development (MIT Press). She served as Project Manager of the EPSRC FairTracing Project (2006-2009, www.fairtracing.org), seeking to empower UK ethical consumers as well as producers in India and Chile. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG) and has worked as a consultant/advisor to EuropeAid, GTZ, InWent and to NGOs. Before joining Royal Holloway, she was a Research Associate at Cambridge University. She holds a Staatsexamen from Munich University (LMU) and a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


C. Mixed media and localization

10. Reducing digitial divide. The case of the ‘People First Network’ (PFNet) in the Solomon Islands


Anand Chand

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of People First Network (PFnet) services in enhancing information and communication and contributing to sustainable rural development and poverty reduction in Solomon Islands. More specifically, it examines two main issues. First, it examines the uptake and appropriation of PFnet services by rural Solomon Islanders. Second, it examines the impact of PFnet services on sustainable rural development and poverty reduction in Solomon Islands. This chapter is based on a empirical research conducted in Solomon Islands between January-May 2004. The chapter is organised as follows: Section one provides an overview of PFnet Project. Section two states the main aims of the study. Section three outlines the methodology used for the research. The Section four reports the main research findings. Section five discusses some problems and finally section six provides the conclusion.

Author

Dr Anand Chand is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and Public Administration in the Faculty of Business and Economics at University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He has a BA (Tasmania, Australia), Post-Graduate Diploma in HRM and Industrial Relations (USP), Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Canterbury, NZ), MA in Industrial Relations/ HRM (USP), MA in Social Science Research Methods (Manchester, UK), PhD (Wales, UK). He has been teaching and researching at USP for the last 24 years and also whilst in UK, he taught at Cardiff University for six month. Furthermore, Anand has extensive experience in conducting primary large-scale base-line surveys for national and international agencies in Fiji and other South Pacific Islands. For example he has conducted research for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Suva and Bangkok offices, Japanese Institute of Labour (JIL), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF-UK), New Zealand Save the Children Fund (NZSCF), Fiji Save the Children Fund (FSCF), and for the EU/USP Employment and Labour Market Programme. He has visited and taught in a number of South Pacific Islands countries. Anand has presented 30 papers at international conferences and published 25 articles and few book chapters. He teachers and does research in the area of Employment Relations, Industrial Relations, HRM and Global Supply Chains.


11. Stronger Voices? Experiences from Paraguay with Interactive ICTs


Claire E. Buré

Abstract

This comparative case study explores the effects of the convergence of technologies and services within two community development organizations, each of which operate community radio and telecentre initiatives. The first case focuses on El Encuentro, a multi-service community organization that runs a telecentre and community radio under the same roof in a suburb of Santiago, Chile. The second case looks at Radio Viva, a ‘citizens’ radio station connected with a small telecentre network in the outskirts of Asunción, Paraguay. By drawing a comparison between these two cases, it is found that when development organizations combine the provision of services through both telecentres and community radio (rather than as insular activities), it may strengthen organizational services as ‘development’ tools. However, successful convergence of services through telecentres and community radio is found to require financial stability and significant amounts of human and time resources.

Author

Claire Buré is a program coordinator with the Zoltner Consulting Group in Santiago, Chile, where she is currently leading a project that uses SMS messaging for low-income people working in the agricultural industry. Prior to this position, Claire worked as a researcher both at telecentre.org at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, Canada; and at the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) at the University of Edinburgh. Her key research interests concentrate on the local use and appropriation of mobile phones, community radio and the internet, as well as on gender perspectives in science and technology. Claire holds a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh, UK.


D. Managing ICT4D

12. Donor Project funded ICT Initiatives in the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) Sector of Asian Developing Countries: A Systems Approach to Managing Project Intervention Processes

Channa Gunawardena David Brown

Abstract

This chapter is set against a background of national ICT initiatives implemented in the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) sectors of developing Asian countries through donor agency funded projects. This research is based on a ten year research study of ICT initiatives implemented in nine VTE sector donor funded projects covering Laos, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The empirical data was gathered through contextual observations, action research and a review of project documentation. The ICT initiatives studied focussed on MIS (management information systems) aiding strategy formulation and management in the VTE sector and computer based training (CBT). The research reveals that the projects studied were designed by host governments and donor agencies in response to perceived problems in the VTE sector. The research also reveals that process of managing donor projects, which is largely based on hard approaches, is problematic. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is based on a learning and enquiring cycle. The research uses SSM to learn about the nature and scope of the selected donor projects in VTE, which can be conceptualised as Project Intervention Processes (PIPs).

Authors

Channa Gunawardena

Channa is a Project Management and Management Systems specialist, with over 12 years experience in international development consulting focusing on Information Society and ICT measures for sustainable development. He is currently Director at Megaskills Limited an UK based development consulting company focused on Emerging Markets. He has worked on consultancy assignments across over 25 countries covering much of Europe, South Asia and South-East Asia. He has worked in over 30 major projects funded by International Funding Agencies (IFAs) including the European Commission (EC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and UN agencies providing expertise in project management, management systems, benefit monitoring & evaluation (BME), sustainability measures, multiplier effects, value chain analysis and information systems. He recently completed a part-time PhD in “Donor project funded ICT Initiatives in the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) Sector of Asian Developing Countries: A Systems Study” focussed on his area of practice at the Lancaster University Management School, UK.

David Brown

David is Professor of Strategy and Information Systems at the Department of Management Science and Director of the Lancaster China Management Centre at Lancaster University Management School. His research interests have two separate but linked strands. Firstly, strategic studies including strategic information systems and e-business, and secondly the application of these strands internationally, especially in transitional economies. Current research includes: SMEs and e-business, e-business policy in developing economies and strategic information systems. He has authored over 40 research articles, and has co-authored and edited three books on management transition in China. In 1998 he was appointed Fellow Professor in Management Science at Renmin University of China, and in 2008 he received the Greater China Recognition Award from UKTI (UK Trade and Investment Department) for his personal contribution in building partnerships and fostering Sino-UK relationships.


13. iREACH: Lessons from a Community Owned ICT Network in Cambodia

Helena Grunfeld Seán Ó Siochrú Brian Unger Sarun Im

Abstract

Cambodia is for various reasons a challenging environment for ICT development. This did not deter IDRC (Canada) from funding an ambitious and ground-breaking project designed ultimately to influence ICT policy in Cambodia but initially to establish two pilot community-owned networks in poor rural areas. Each comprises both a cluster of local telecentres (10 in each area), and a mini telecoms enterprise run by the communities. Begun in May 2006, with initial funding of USD1.3 million the project runs to May 2010 when the question of sustainability comes to the fore. Additional support is likely to be needed. iREACH' experiences are being fully documented and lessons are emerging around community capacity building and empowerment; technical challenges in a rural environments; developing relevant and appropriate services; creating a community based enterprise; deploying a range of participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches; and working within a centralised and fluid political context.

Authors

Helena Grunfeld

Helena Grunfeld has over 30 years experience in the ICT sector in Australia, working for the incumbent telecommunications operator Telstra, and participating in the establishment of a new carrier, Uecomm. She has also completed numerous consulting assignments for various organisations, including co-authoring a book on number portability with Ovum and developing a costing and pricing model for ARCOM, the regulatory authority in Timor-Leste, through an assignment with the International Telecommunication Union. Helena has an undergraduate degree from the School for Social Work and Public Administration in Lund, Sweden and completed a Master of Business Administration at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1989. She is now a research scholar at the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Seán Ó Siochrú

Seán Ó Siochrú has twenty five years experience in programme design, evaluation and implementation in over fifty countries and for a variety of international organisations. His main themes are community empowerment and communication rights, as well as media, and information and communication technologies (ICTs). He has worked extensively with UNDP (headquarters, as well as with a dozen or so County Offices), leading the final evaluation of the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) that had been implemented over a decade in dozens of countries; and evaluating, designing and supporting the implementation of projects at national level in Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Guyana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Uganda. He has also worked for UNECA, IDRC, IFAD, World Bank Institute, ITU, UNESCO and the European Union on a variety of missions and locations. He collaborates closely with NGOs, and was on the Civil Society Bureau of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where he played an active part in mobilising civil society. He has had a leading role in various NGOs, including the MacBride Round Table and CRIS (Communication Rights in the Information Society), and was member of a pre-WSIS Human Rights mission to Tunis in 2003. He is Research Director at NEXUS Research in Dublin, a non-profit research institutions, and founder and Chair of Dublin Community Television.

Brian Unger

Dr. Unger is currently Interim President and CEO of Cybera Inc. (www.cybera.ca).  He is also Professor Emeritus and the Executive Director of the Grid Research Centre (grid.ucalgary.ca) at the University of Calgary, and is the Special Advisor for iREACH ("informatics for rural empowerment and community health"), a research project supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC), and by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce (ireach.org.kh). He was the founding President of the Netera Alliance which is now Cybera Inc. and the founding President of iCORE (the “informatics circle of research excellence”) from 1999 through 2004 (www.icore.ca). Cybera Inc. is a not-for-profit consortium that builds cyberinfrastructure (advanced networking, computing and data management) in support of industry and academic research in Alberta and iCORE is a not-for-profit corporation aimed at recruiting exceptional ICT researchers to Alberta universities.  In its first five years iCORE invested $43 million in 17 research chairs and professorships that now support over 500 faculty, graduate students and research staff.  Dr Unger was the founding board chair of C3.ca Inc. (www.c3.ca), a national consortium aimed at building Canada’s infrastructure in high performance computation.  C3.ca was one of the originators of the current Compute Canada initiative. He was a Co-Principal Investigator of WestGrid (www.westgrid.ca), 2002-2008, which raised $48 million to provide research infrastructure for Western Canada universities; and was the founding president and CEO of a for-profit startup company, Jade Simulations, that developed and marketed parallel simulation software products from 1988 through 1993. Dr. Unger was named a Canada Pioneer of Computing at the IBM CASCON conference, Toronto, October, 2005, and received the IWAY Public Leadership award for outstanding contributions to Canada’s information society in 2004, and the 1993 ASTech award for “Innovation in Alberta Technology” for research in parallel simulation and distributed computation.

Sarun Im

Im Sarun graduated from Cambodia’s University of Health Science as Medical Doctor in 1996 and obtained a Master Degree of Public Health in 2004 from St. Louis University, Missouri, USA, specializing in International Community Health Education under William J. Fulbright scholarship. He has been a public health professional for more than ten years with government and non-governmental organizations in Cambodia and USA in the area of reproductive and child health, HIV/AIDS and Malaria. His professional skills include project design, planning, management, monitoring & evaluation, research and communication. He is now Research Manager for iREACH. He is also a vice president of Board of Directors of PSP non-governmental organization.


E. Informed planning and cooperation

14. Why Institutional Partnerships Matter: A Regional Innovation Systems Approach to Making the ICT for Development Projects More Successful and Sustainable


Rajendra Kumar

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of institutional partnerships in making the ICT for development projects more successful and sustainable in developing countries. Employing a regional innovation systems (RIS) perspective, I examine this issue in the context of lessons drawn from the failure of telecenters in Melur taluka of Tamil Nadu under the Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI) project. These telecenters aimed at delivering a host of services such as email, voice chat, health, e-government, and agricultural and veterinary services to the rural community. They were operated by two sets of operators: self-employed local entrepreneurs and a local NGO. After operating for nearly three years, most of the kiosks run by the self-employed entrepreneurs had closed down by mid-2005, whereas those run by the NGO were still operating. Using primary data from interviews with the kiosk owners and operators, I argue that the failure of the kiosks to sustain themselves was due to weak institutional linkages and networking among actors in the local and regional innovation systems, and the inability of the RIS to evolve and respond effectively and quickly to the changing preferences and needs of the rural community. I conclude that ensuring a project’s success and sustainability requires the presence of an effective regional innovation system with strong but flexible and dynamic linkages among the relevant actors such as the state, universities, private sector, civil society organizations, the user community, and the funding organizations.

Author

Dr. Rajendra Kumar, I.A.S., is a senior officer in the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) and is currently working as a Director in the office of the Union Minister of Shipping in the Government of India in New Delhi. His current research interests are in examining how the potential of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be harnessed for greater social, economic, and political development in developing countries. His focus is on examining how science, technology, and innovation policies can help in achieving this goal. He has conducted research on assessing the social, economic, and governance impacts of ICT for development projects in India and has examined how these projects can help in social and economic development of poor rural communities. At a macro level, he has focused his research on the role of the state in promoting innovations in the ICT industries to make them globally competitive. Specifically, he has examined the role of the state in three southern states in India in attracting and making their software and software services industries internationally competitive. Dr. Kumar holds a PhD in international economic development and regional planning and an MCP from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MTech from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, and a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He has published a book and several articles in international journals.


15. "Developed in the South" – an evolutionary and prototyping approach to developing scalable and sustainable health information systems

Vincent Shaw Jørn Braa

Abstract

The expansion of ICT across Africa is influenced by many factors including political imperatives, donor priorities, private sector and NGO needs, and economic interests and as a result takes place in a haphazard and largely uncontrolled fashion. The health sector is no exception. The challenge, as in many developing countries, is to provide a robust and reliable health information system while effecting a transition between paper-based systems and computerized systems. The transition involves not only the introduction of new ICT, and the accompanying social and educational transformations of people and processes that accompany the introduction of ICT, but also the development of scalable health information systems that can facilitate a smooth transition as ICT expansion and development takes place. This chapter draws on 10 years of experience of the Health information Systems Programme, an action research orientated network of public health practitioners and academics who initiated a pilot project in health information systems development in the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa, and which has subsequently had a profound effect on the development of health information systems in Africa and Asia. Through an exploration of health information systems development in numerous countries in Africa, we highlight insights into approaches and methodologies that contribute to successful and sustainable health information systems in resource constrained settings.

Authors

Vincent Shaw

Vincent Shaw is a medical doctor with a Masters in Family Medicine and a PhD in Information Management. He has extensive experience in health management having served in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa at facility, district, regional and provincial levels for many years. He has been involved in the development of hospital information systems, and has led the revamping of the HMIS in Zambia. He has over the last 4 years worked extensively in northern Nigeria, developing health information systems in contexts characterized by low levels of access to technology and power, and low computer literacy. His research interests relate to the development of HIS in resource constrained settings, and to the development of organizations such as HISP to provide ongoing support to the public sector in Africa. He has published numerous articles and book chapters related to health information systems development in resource constrained contexts.

Jørn Braa

Jørn Braa is associate professor at the Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Norway. Since 1993 he has worked extensively with national and local health authorities on assessing and developing HIS and human and institutional capacity in a number of countries. He has been heavily involved in the establishment and expansion of the HISP project for over 10 years. His research interests focus on strategies and conditions for action research, Open Source Software development and application and health information systems in developing countries. He is currently engaged in collaboration with WHO & Health Metrics Network on the development of Open Source “public health country toolkit” an integrated data warehouse application for country HIS including DHISv2 and the new web based WHO application Open HealthMapper.


16. The role of statistics in Development Informatics


Jacques Steyn

Abstract

ICT4D and Development Informatics literature and media reports often use statistics offered by the World Bank, ITU or CIA to make a case for the introduction of ICTs in developing contexts. Arguably the most widely used statistic is the claim of World Bank statistics that a very large proportion of the global population live on less than USD2 per day. When scrutinized, such claims are not based on solid methodology or logic. Such overgeneralized statistics seem to ride on media hype, and appeal to empathy rather than good science. Yet ICT4D evangelists, who present ICT as the holy grail to transform underdeveloped regions into global economic powerhouses, appeal to such statistics for justification of their cases. Here a brief analysis of some problems with statistics, such as ICT4D data, is presented. Claims and policy-making based on such data should be approached critically and interpreted with a large dose of skepticism. A consolidated table of CIA Yearbook data on the global penetration of landline phones, internet access and mobile phones is presented as an appendix.



Jacques Steyn - Editor in Chief

Jacques Steyn (PhD) is Editor in Chief of the volume set. He is Director of IDIA, and Head of the School of IT at the South African campus of Monash University.

In 1983 he received an award for excellence in science from the South African Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) for his Masters Degree obtained from the University of Pretoria.

He was lecturer at UNISA from 1984 to 1986, then Deputy Director / Senior Teaching Advisor (i.e. consultant) also at UNISA until 1995.

From 1995 to 2003 he was a self-employed information and knowledge consultant operating in the fields of the New Media, such as Web Technologies and Multimedia.

During 1999 and 2000, in addition to consulting, he was Associate Professor at the School of Information Technology of the University of Pretoria, assisting in developing a new B.IS (Multimedia) degree.

He wrote an e-book on markup languages (HTML 4 Web Builders). In 1999 he developed the first XML-based general music markup language (http://www.musicmarkup.info).

As the sole South African representative, through the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS), he was member of the international ISO/MPEG-7 standards workgroup on metadata for interactive-TV and Multimedia. He was also member of the ISO/MPEG-4 extension workgroup for music notation (i.e. symbolic music representation).

In August 2003 he joined the School of IT at Monash South Africa as senior lecturer. Since February 2005 served as Head of the School of IT.

Jean-Paul van Belle

Jean-Paul Van Belle joined the Department of Information Systems of UCT in 1997 and became an associate professor in 2006. He is currently Head of the Department. He obtained a licentiate in 1983 (Rijksuniversiteit Gent, Belgium), an MBA in 1988 (GSB, Stellenbosch University, South Africa) and his PhD in 2004 (UCT, South Africa). In the last 8 years, he has authored or co-authored about 15 books/chapters, 15 journal articles and more than 60 peer-reviewed published conference papers. His key research area is the social and organisational adoption of emerging information technologies in a developing world context. The key technologies researched include e-commerce, M-commerce, e-government and, more recently, open source software. He has considerable experience with both quantitative survey approaches as well as qualitative case study research. His main research focus for the near future will be on small organisations i.e. small and micro-businesses as well as NGOs.

Eduardo Mansilla Villanueva

Eduardo Mansilla Villanueva
Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
Board Member of IDIA.

Eduardo Mansilla Villanueva holds a B.A. in Library Science and a M.A. in Communication Studies both by PUCP. After working as systems librarian and webmaster of his University, since 2005 is a full-time faculty member at the Communications department, where he conducts research and teaches on subjects related with ICT and communications, including information society, media and new media policy.

From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Latin American and Caribbean standing committee, as well as a corresponding member of the information technology committee; in 2002 he acted as Senior Policy Advisor for the vice minister of communications of Peru, as well as advisor for to the President of Peru’s National Science, Technology and Innovation Council.

His multiple publications, in Spanish and English, led to his current position as associate editor of the Journal of Community Informatics (www.ci-journal.net).


Publisher

The volumes are published by IGI as