The Claim: Wireless Technologies Help Alleviate Poverty in Indonesia

Title: The Claim: Wireless Technologies Help Alleviate Poverty in Indonesia
Authors: Susan Nickbarg
Source: BCLCL Blog
Date (published): 16/12/2010
Date (accessed): 22/04/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"...The claim that wireless technology can improve people’s lives across the developing world in this alliance makes the phrase "all boats rise" a truism as people get lifted out of poverty. “What’s startling is that after 4 months, 47% of the people enrolled in the Village Phone Microfranchising initiative, (in which local entrepreneurs sell cell phone airtime to villagers), moved above the poverty line,” according to Cheri Mitchell, Director of Institutional Relations, Grameen Foundation.

Sad to say, poverty alleviation has been going on for decades.

Yet, here is a showcase of breakthrough innovation whereby Qualcomm, Incorporated, a NASDAQ-listed company in the business of developing and delivering innovative digital wireless technologies, and Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit formed to help lift people out of poverty through microfinance and technology, partnered and scaled the Village Phone Microfranchising program with contributions from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative...."
via http://www.grameenfoundation.applab.org/

Information and Communication Technologies for Cultural Transmission among Indigenous Peoples

Title: Information and Communication Technologies for Cultural Transmission among Indigenous Peoples
Authors: Charlotte A Harris, Roger W Harris
Pages: 19 pp.
ISSN: 1681-4835
Source: Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (2011) 45, 2, 1-19
Publisher: www.ejisdc.org
Date (published): 20/12/2010
Date (accessed): 22/04/2011
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML/pdf)
Abstract:
"The global digital divide threatens to exclude millions of people from the potential benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially computers and the Internet. Many of these people live in rural, isolated and remote places of developing countries and are unlikely to be able to afford the cost of owning their own computers. However, NGOs, international aid agencies and governments are becoming increasingly aware of the potential that ICTs offer for rural development and poverty reduction and are creating more opportunities for providing wider access to them. This paper looks at how ICTs have contributed to the social development of a rural indigenous ethnic community. It focuses on the benefits of ICTs in recording and passing on their unique culture and traditions, something that is of considerable importance to the community. The research builds an understanding of the nature of cultural transmission within an indigenous community in East Malaysia and demonstrates how ICTs can bridge the digital divide by accentuating the importance of family, friends and other social interactions within a community in strengthening the processes of cultural transmission. Based on the findings, suggestions are offered for reinforcing social processes of cultural transmission with ICTs, in the form of a virtual museum and a community radio station."

Technology Is Not the Answer

Title: Technology Is Not the Answer
Author: Kentaro Toyama
Source: The Atlantic
Date (published): 28/03/2011
Date (accessed): 01/04/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Technology is not the answer.

That's the conclusion I came to after five years in India trying to find ways to apply electronic technologies to international development. I was the co-founder and assistant director of Microsoft Research India, a Bangalore computer-science lab, where one of our objectives was to research ways in which information and communication technologies could support the socio-economic development of poor communities, both rural and urban...

In one of our early projects, we worked with a rural sugarcane cooperative a few hours outside of Mumbai. They had a network of village personal computers that allowed the cooperative to report sales results to farmers. To reduce costs, we experimented with a mobile-phone-based system that replaced some of the PCs. Our system was faster, cheaper and better liked by farmers, but when it came time to expand the pilot, we were stymied by internal political dysfunction at the cooperative.

In several projects to design educational technology for schools, we found that teacher and administrator attitudes were the real keys to success. Then, when we connected low-income slum residents with potential employers, limited education and training posed critical barriers. And again, when we used gadgets for microfinance operations, a capable institutional ally was indispensable.

Our successes were due more to effective partners, and less to our technology.

In project after project, the lesson was the same: information technology amplified the intent and capacity of human and institutional stakeholders, but it didn't substitute for their deficiencies. If we collaborated with a self-confident community or a competent non-profit, things went well. But, if we worked with a corrupt organization or an indifferent group, no amount of well-designed technology was helpful. Ironically, although we looked to technology to attain large-scale impact into places where circumstances were most dire, technology by itself was unable to improve situations where well-intentioned competence was absent. What mattered most was individual and institutional intent and capacity"

Updated: African Nations with Active National ICT Plans

Title: Updated: African Nations with Active National ICT Plans
Source: Online Africa
Date (published): 31/03/2011
Date (accessed): 01/04/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The successful implementation of a national ICT (NICT) plan, also known as national information and communication infrastructure (NICI) plan, requires a great deal of planning on the part of the government. National ICT plans face an array of challenges including costs, stubborn government leaders, lack of infrastructure (ie. electricity), and a limited number of trained consultants. The initial process of deciding to create a plan, researching the best options for a plan, collaborating with experts and leaders, and approving the plan often takes years in itself. At that time, the country is perhaps in a different social and economic state. Plus, the government may or may not have seen drastic shifts in power. Additionally, if a plan is enacted, it can lose government support, face corruption, or lack adequate funding.
...
Below you will find a list of African nations with relatively current and well-publicized ICT plans. Plans that are known to be current within the past 3 years have the greatest chance at still being effective"

Malaysia's New Govt ICT Masterplan

Title: Malaysia's New Govt ICT Masterplan
Author: Jianggan Li
Source: FutureGov
Date (published): 24/03/2011
Date (accessed): 24/03/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:

"Four strategic thrusts have been identified in order for the government to realise its vision for 2020. That includes: “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now”; Government Transformation Programme (GTP); Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Various programmes are developed to address the ICT requirements for the government in the above-mentioned areas over the next five years.
...
The public sector ICT blueprint, under which all agencies and departments will work towards the common goal, incorporates four key concepts: Information strategy which “enhances information sharing”, “ICT Governance”, “Managing Knowledge Effectively”, as well as “Strengthening the infrastructure architecture”.

For information architecture blueprint aims to achieve a whole-of-government by providing connected service delivery. The government will identify the business architecture components and map it into the information architecture components. The goal is to enhance public facing delivery channels, provide a common architecture standard for information sharing as well as enhance collaboration by identifying common, shareable and reusable information.

The phases will include building the foundation, achieving connected service delivery and finally seamless sharing of information by 2015.

In the area of governance, Dr Nor Aliah says of strengthening the governance structure is to “support and align with the national strategic priorities and initiatives by creating a more responsive governance environement to improve speed of decision-making and delivery”.

The strategy to build an informed knowledge environment includes the building of a Knowledge foundation programme, knowledge practitioner development programme as well as rewards & recognition programme. In addition to inculcating the culture of knowledge management, the government will also strengthen knowledge management initiative in the public sector through development of high impact knowledge management projects and intelligence hub programme. The objective is for an “Existence of a Centralized Knowledge Management Hub for the public sector” in five years’ time.

Dr Nor Aliah highlights the concern that currently “public sector ICT infrastructures are currently not fully optimised due to redundancies and inefficiencies resulting from disparate ICT infrastructure”. To increase the productivity, the government plans to consolidate public sector network, data centres & disaster recovery centres, establish public sector cloud computing infrastructure, standardise end user computing infrastructure, develop common security infrastructure, deploy mobile computing solutions and increase the usage of open source applications.

The public sector ICT framework has been developed, which include ICT governance and change management components.

“In many areas, the government services are available but the usage rate is very low,” says Dr Nor Aliah, who adds that one of the objectives is to make sure more people use government services. Seven strategic objectives have been identified as part of the business strategy plan; these include streamlining ICT architecture; consolidating ICT operations; intensifying inter-agency collaboration; rationalising ICT governance structures; attracting, developing and retaining top talent in the public service; strengthening the performance culture and fostering knowledge culture.

Numerous KPIs have been set in the areas including online services, paperless government, sharing of information and shared services."

eMOCHA: Android Data Collection for mHealth

Title: eMOCHA: Android Data Collection for mHealth
Author: Anne-Ryan Heatwole
Source: MobileActive.org
Date (published): 21/03/2011
Date (accessed): 22/03/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Using mobiles for data collection is increasingly common, particularly in the area of mobile health and with a focus on community health workers. eMOCHA is a program using a smartphone Android application for storing and transmitting data easily.

Developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, eMOCHA (which stands for “Electronic Mobile Open-source Comprehensive Health Application”) uses video, audio, touchscreen quizzes, GPS and SMS to collect and analyze large amounts of data. Larry William Chang, director of field evaluations for eMOCHA, explains in an interview with MobileActive.org that the inspiration for developing the tool came out of researchers’ experiences in the field and their desire to build solutions to gaps in health care data collection systems.
...
eMOCHA is an open-source Android application, and runs on all current versions of Android phones...One of the most important features that eMOCHA offers is increased security – the servers and data sent from the phones are encrypted, and data stored on the phones is password protected and stored in the phones’ internal databases. The interactive nature of eMOCHA means that community health workers and researchers can use it not only as a means of data collection, but also for educational purposes.

Another key feature of eMOCHA is its integration with SMS. Chang explains that although the usual method of using eMOCHA in the field is for a community health worker to use the provided smartphone as a demonstration tool, the team realized they also needed to be able to communicate with larger, non-smartphone owning populations. The eMOCHA team added the ability for the application to receive SMSs from patients and to send out SMSs in order to directly target large numbers of users. "

Using Mobile Money, Mobile Banking to Enhance Agriculture in Africa

Title: Using Mobile Money, Mobile Banking to Enhance Agriculture in Africa
Author: Judy Payne, Krish Kumar
Pages: 4 pp.
Publisher: USAID
Date (published): 20/12/2010
Date (accessed): 18/03/2011
Type of information: briefing paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This is one of a series of briefing papers to help USAID missions and their implementing partners in sub-Saharan Africa use information and communications technology (ICT) more successfully — via sustainable and scalable approaches—to improve the impact of their agriculture related development projects including Feed the Future projects.1
In this context, this paper provides a brief overview of mobile money and mobile banking services. As the resource list at the end of this paper illustrates, there are many other sources of information available to inform the reader regarding the many aspects of m-money and m-banking related to security, risks, legal and regulatory issues, and key challenges for implementers. In contrast, the paper explains the basics of such services; their current and potential use for agriculture related projects; a few lessons learned to date related to such usage; and a few issues to consider when looking ahead."
via http://www.ictworks.org/

The International Digital Divide

Title: The International Digital Divide
Source: ScienceDaily
Date (published): 08/02/2011
Date (accessed): 11/02/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The developed nations must invest in information and communications technologies (ICT) in the developing world not only the close the so-called digital divide but to encourage sustainable economic development and to create new markets for international commerce.
...
Many observers have suggested that the gap between those with access to ICT and those without it is growing.
...
While the concept of a global digital divide is intuitively understood by academics, politicians and public policymakers, there is little empirical data that considers the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" at a level beyond measures of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and its effect on the spread of ICT across a nation.

D. Steven White and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth have now developed a contemporary map of the global digital divide, which they say provides a baseline measure of the investment in ICTs needed on a per country basis in order to close the gap as it currently exists. However, they point out that because ICT is constantly changing and developing, each new technology can widen the global digital divide so it is important that any investment takes into account the diffusion of new ICT technologies.

The researchers used a model-based cluster analysis to determine cohorts of countries based on three variables: personal computers per 100 population, internet users per 100 population and internet bandwidth per person. The results indicate that the global digital divide consists of four tiers rather than the simplistic two of the rich-poor, have-have nots."

“Simple but not easy” – Why strategic integration of ICTs into development programmes is simply not easy

Title: “Simple but not easy” – Why strategic integration of ICTs into development programmes is simply not easy
Author: Patrick Kalas
Source: SDC Learning and Networking Blog
Publisher: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - SDC
Date (published): 08/12/2010
Date (accessed): 11/02/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"This personal learning reflection and contribution is based on 7 years of engagement within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development sphere, including with non-governmental organizations, multilateral and bilateral donor organizations. It aims to spark a critical reflection on initial lessons to be learned exploring (a) why the strategic integration of ICTs is simply not easy while (b) formulating 3 critical lessons learned."

Product Innovation Knowledge for Developing Economies, Towards a Systematic Transfer Approach

Title: Product Innovation Knowledge for Developing Economies, Towards a Systematic Transfer Approach
Author: Johan Carel Diehl
Pages: 303 pp.
ISBN: 978-90-5155-068-9
Source: Design for Sustainability program publication nr. 22
Publisher: University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
Date (published): 26/11/2010
Date (accessed): 10/02/2011
Type of information: PhD Thesis
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"There are different strategies towards economical development for developing countries. One of them is to increase the local capacity and implementation of product innovation. According to the World Bank, OECD, and other financial and research institutions, the transfer of product innovation knowledge to developing countries is expected to be one of the key drivers for competitiveness and economical growth, and part of the solution to environmental and social challenges. However, at the moment, the majority of this knowledge is generated in developed countries. Because of the local deficiency in the coming decade in regional knowledge on product innovation, companies and universities in these countries have to (partly) rely on the acquisition of knowledge from outside sources until sufficient local capacity has been built up. The current transfer of product innovation knowledge is considerably finance and staff intensive and its content and transfer mechanisms do not always fit the needs and characteristics of the knowledge recipients in developing countries. Subsequently, in order to answer this increased need for knowledge on product innovation in developing countries, more efficient and appropriate knowledge transfer methods will be needed. Although interest in the transfer of product innovation knowledge to firms and universities in developing countries is increasing significantly, there is a general lack of systematic interest of knowledge institutions and international organisations in how the current transfer takes place and how it can be improved. The present study focuses on this underexplored research area."
via https://twitter.com/#!/jnndbr

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