Development as Freedom in a Digital Age : Experiences from the Rural Poor in Bolivia

Title: Development as Freedom in a Digital Age : Experiences from the Rural Poor in Bolivia
Authors: Björn-Sören Gigler
Source: The World Bank
Date (published): 01/04/2015
Date (accessed): 15/04/2015
Type of information: book
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Under what conditions can new technologies enhance the well-being of poor communities? The study designs an alternative evaluation framework (AEF) that applies Amartya Sen’s capability approach to the study of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in order to place people’s well-being, rather than technology, at the center of the study. The AEF develops an impact chain that examines the mechanisms by which access to, and meaningful use of, ICTs can enhance people’s “informational capabilities” and improve people’s human and social capabilities. This approach thus uses people’s individual and collective capabilities, rather than measures of access or use, as its principal evaluative space. Based on empirical evidence from indigenous communities’ use of new technologies in rural Bolivia, the study concludes that enhancing poor people’s informational capabilities is the most critical factor determining the impact of ICTs on their well-being. Improved informational capabilities, like literacy, do enhance the human capabilities of poor and marginalized peoples to make strategic life choices and achieve the lifestyle they value. Evaluating the impact of ICTs in terms of capabilities thus reveals no direct relationship between improved access to, and use of, ICTs and enhanced well-being; ICTs lead to improvements in people’s lives only when informational capabilities are transformed into expanded human and social capabilities in the economic, political, social, organizational, and cultural dimensions of their lives. The study concludes that intermediaries are bound to play a central, even fundamental, role in this process. They help poor communities to enact and appropriate ICTs to their local socio-cultural context so that their use becomes meaningful for people’s daily lives, enhances their informational capabilities, and ultimately improves their human and social capabilities.

It Took India Almost 10 Years To Realise That Women Empowerment Is Possible Through ICT

Title: It Took India Almost 10 Years To Realise That Women Empowerment Is Possible Through ICT
Author: Ram Kaushik
Source: GroundReport
Date (published): 15/03/2015
Date (accessed): 15/04/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The year was 2006 when Praveen Dalal suggested the use of ICT for Women Empowerment in India (PDF). However, it took almost 10 years for India to realise that women empowerment is possible though ICT. Narendra Modi government has finally appreciated this fact and has introduced the Digital India project covering this aspect as well. However, there are many limitations and shortcomings of Digital India project of India as on date and with these limitations and shortcomings the effect of Digital India would not be as conducive as anticipated.

Why a mobile-technology revolution needs teachers

Title: Why a mobile-technology revolution needs teachers
Author: Caroline Schmitt
Source: Deutsche Welle
Date (published): 02/04/2015
Date (accessed): 15/04/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Mobile tech is revolutionizing banking and farming in Africa. But when it comes to education, it's increasing the gap between rural and urban communities. When it comes to education, it's rural Sub-Saharan Africa that needs a revolution most: 56 million people aged 15-24 in haven't completed primary school, while 774 million people - two-thirds of them women - cannot read or write. With an estimated 635 million mobile phone subscriptions currently in the region, many are pinning their hopes on mobile technologies such as free online learning materials, math apps and offline encyclopedias to help tackle the problems.

22 innovative library projects and more

Libraries all over the world are innovating and developing new methods to improve access to information in the digital age. They are usually doing this with limited financial resources. Earlier this year, the Knight Foundation awarded $3 million to innovative library projects to support them with this development. Let us have a quick look at the winners.

Libraries need to create new ways of services, or restructure existing service fitting into the digital environment. 22 innovative library projects got support from the Knight Foundation to this process: eight main winners (they will receive between $130,000 and $600,000), and 14 early-stage pilots (funding: $35,000 each).

If we take a look on the list of the winners, we see a wide range of topics, including digital rights and privacy, history and digital preservation, the maker movement and open data. One of the most interesting project may be the Library for All: Digital Library for the Developing World. The aim of the projects is to promote responsive digital solutions for low-bandwidth communities by scaling a digital library platform that makes robust educational content available for libraries and schools in the developing world. The planned platform will leverage mobile technology and be accessible on all devices, including low-cost tablets and $30 feature phones. According to the plans, the content will be culturally relevant and available in local languages.

Another notable main projects:

- Online Learning @ The Public Library (Making open online courses easier to access and complete for diverse members of the community by organizing in-person study groups for patrons in Chicago Public Library branch libraries)
- Culture in Transit (creating a mobile kit that will scan and digitize print materials for public archiving)
- The Internet Archive (Helping people create and share global collections of cultural treasures on the Internet Archive, one of the world’s largest public libraries.)
- Open Data to Open Knowledge (Making Boston’s open data accessible)
- Space/Time Directory (Working with local communities and technologists to turn historical maps and other library collections into an interactive directory for the exploration of New York across time periods)

A relating story also emphasize the importance of digitalization and the use of new technology for making information widely available to everybody. The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) has just won three Ireland E-Government Awards last month. The Digital Repository of Ireland is the national trusted digital repository for Ireland's social and cultural data. The repository links together and preserves both historical and contemporary data held by Irish institutions, providing a central internet access point and interactive multimedia tools. The DRI’s Inspiring Ireland project is building a centralized, curated online portal to Ireland’s cultural heritage with the aim of bringing Ireland’s cultural treasures (including paintings, letters, sculpture, manuscripts, historical objects, music, photography) to a national and international audience.

Information and knowledge is more important than ever, and these projects will help to make it more available to a wide range of people. We only can hope, the projects will finish with success and solve a good examples for more similar projects to come.

Information Society Observatory Newsletter, March 2015

Table of contents

In focus: Measuring the digital world: new indexes and more available data
Measuring the digital world is always a challenging task, because of the fact that it needs to collect, interpret and also to visualize a large amount of data. From the quality of data sources to the methodology of different indexes - aiming to summarize the different datasets into easy-to-understand and easy-to-use aggregated indicators - , there are a lot of factors affecting the information gathering process, while policy makers, businesses and third sector organizations all need this information to plan their work. From time to time there are new initiatives, sources and indexes in the making and in this post, we present some new solution from the past months.

Highlighted articles
- Digital Inclusion Report 2014
- Six innovations revolutionizing farming
- MOOC for development report ICT4D
- Changing Education Through ICT in Developing Countries
- Integrating Mobiles into Development Projects
- Gender and Information Communication Technologies (ICTS) in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects
- Technology-enabled Public Libraries Can Help Improve the Quality of Life of the Rural
- Elderly Big Data in Action for Development

New documents in the Observatory
In this chapter you can find a list of every new item which has been added to the Observatory in the last period.

The downloadable newsletter in pdf format:
Newsletter

Why developing nations love and hate the internet

Title: Why developing nations love and hate the internet
Source: The Times of India
Date (published): 20/03/2015
Date (accessed): 02/04/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: People in emerging economies see the internet as a good thing for education and the economy, but worry about its impact on morality, a global survey showed. The Pew Research Center survey showed a median of 64% of respondents in 32 emerging and developing nations say the internet is a positive for education. A majority also see the internet as a good influence on personal relationships and the economy, but offer a mixed view on other impacts.

How mHealth is Evolving into Phone Extensions and Wearables

Title: How mHealth is Evolving into Phone Extensions and Wearables
Authors: Samita Thapa, Kendra Keith
Source: TechChange
Date (published): 27/03/2015
Date (accessed): 02/04/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Mobile phones – especially smartphones – have been revolutionary in health care, especially in developing countries. With budding industries like add-ons to smartphones and wearable tech, the mHealth landscape is evolving. Here are 5 digital health tools that extend beyond the mobile phone.

Facebook’s Aquila Drone Will Beam Down Internet Access With Lasers

Title: Facebook’s Aquila Drone Will Beam Down Internet Access With Lasers
Author: Kyle Russel
Source: TechCrunch
Date (published): 26/03/2015
Date (accessed): 02/04/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: As the second day of its F8 conference began here at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world.

Information Economy Report 2015

Title: Information Economy Report 2015
Source: unctad.org - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Date (accessed): 31/03/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Information Economy Report examines electronic commerce, and shows in detail how information and communications technologies can be harnessed to support economic growth and sustainable development. The Information Economy Report 2015 highlights how some of the greatest dynamism in electronic commerce can be found in developing countries, but that potential is far from fully realised. The report examines opportunities and challenges faced by enterprises in developing countries that wish to access and use e-commerce. It highlights that latest market trends, benchmarks country performances with the UNCTAD E-commerce index, reviews examples of e-commerce in rural areas and low-income countries, addresses relevant legal issues and provides policy recommendations.

Can standardised hashtags be effective in emergency responses?

Title: Can standardised hashtags be effective in emergency responses?
Author: Jessica MacLean
Source: ReliefWeb
Date (published): 24/03/2015
Date (accessed): 31/03/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: After the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, a study found that social media platforms, especially Twitter, were extremely beneficial during the disaster to citizens and widely used by most directly affected individuals. While the Japanese Government was not as active on Twitter during the 2011 disaster, relief and volunteer organisations were and found social media to the most reliable source of information during the disaster. The Government of the Philippines was one of the first governments to standardise and use hashtags on Twitter to disseminate information and respond to urgent needs during Typhoon Bopha in 2012. Standardised hashtags can be used by governments and aid organisations to distribute information to the public, and respond to urgent needs and requests. The hashtags should be used interactively, coordinated and collaborated with between the sectors. Twitter users then tweet with the respective hashtags to notify governments and aid agencies about needs of affected communities and urgent requests.

Syndicate content