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Uses of ICTs for Development. Devyani Mani, UNCRD. Is there sufficient knowledge on ICTs for Development?. Focus on need for incorporation of ICTs but… Limited documentation of best practices Documentation does not include political, cultural, and social concerns. ICTs and Human Security.

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Uses of ICTs for Development

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Uses of icts for development

Uses of ICTs for Development

Devyani Mani, UNCRD

Is there sufficient knowledge on icts for development

Is there sufficient knowledge on ICTs for Development?

  • Focus on need for incorporation of ICTs but…

  • Limited documentation of best practices

  • Documentation does not include political, cultural, and social concerns

Icts and human security

ICTs and Human Security

  • Economic development of poor communities

  • Social development, empowerment, and social capital

  • Environmental management

  • Cultural preservation

  • Accountability and good governance

Economic development of poor

Economic development of poor

  • Creation of new economic activities and opportunities

  • Increasing efficiency in existing activities

    • Productivity

    • Access to markets

    • E-commerce

Constraints in using icts for the poor

Constraints in using ICTs for the Poor

  • Heeks:

    • Source proximity

    • Trust

    • Knowledge

    • Confidence and security

What do the poor need

What do the poor need?

  • Ability to assess and apply information

  • Locally relevant information

  • ICTs to give them voice

  • Intelligent and dedicated intermediaries

    • Poor and development agents, markets

  • Community intermediaries

  • Control over technology

Social development

Social development

  • Education

    • Teachers vs. computers

    • Topic-specific education

    • Adult education

    • Radio, TV

  • Health

    • Health related information dissemination

Impacts on women

Impacts on Women

  • Access to information for empowerment and participation in economic, community, and household activities

  • Grameen mobile phones

  • Women as sources of information

  • Child care, crops, nutrition, local indigenous medicine

Empowerment and social capital

Empowerment and Social Capital

  • Strengthening of communities for participation in development

  • Liberation of marginalized groups

  • Linking diverse communities (bridging)

  • Linking communities with government (linking)

Environmental management

Environmental Management

  • Natural resources management

  • Disaster mitigation

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

  • Information dissemination

  • Communication between stakeholders

Cultural preservation

Cultural Preservation

  • Cultural heritage and diversity

  • Fundamentalism and ethnocentricity

Good governance transparency and accountability

Good governance, transparency, and accountability

  • “The right to information has often been described as one of the most effective tools in the hands of citizens not only to fight corruption and the arbitrary exercise of power in the structures of government, but also to participate in governance.”

Good governance

Good governance

  • Efficiency

  • Decision-making

  • Coordination

  • Information dissemination

  • Multi-stakeholder participation

  • Reduced corruption

Risks in using icts for improving governance and service delivery

Risks in using ICTs for improving governance and service delivery

  • Acceptance of concerned agency

  • Reform agenda

  • Identification of information systems requirements

  • Evolutionary approach

  • Prioritization

  • Consultation and participation of stakeholders

Experiments in narrowing the digital divide

Experiments in Narrowing the Digital Divide

Two best practices

Two best practices

  • Gyandoot, Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh, India

    • Initiated 2000

    • Stockholm Challenge Award 2000

  • Village Knowledge Centres, Pondicherry, India

    • Initiated 1998

    • Stockholm Challenge Award 2001

Icts for the rural poor

ICTs for the rural poor:

  • Increase economic activity

  • Provide social services

  • Empowerment

  • Both best practices have been replicated successfully throughout their regions

The gyandoot project

The Gyandoot Project

  • Aim: Establishment of

    • Community owned

    • Innovative and

    • Sustainable IT project

    • In a very poor and backward area (income < US$ 250/year).

  • Social and economic development needs

  • E-governance, e-commerce, e-education

Information demand from villagers

Information Demand from Villagers

  • Participatory Rural Appraisals Results

    • Information on agricultural produce auction rates

    • Land records

    • Complaints and redressal – government services

Services provided

Services provided

  • Agriculture produce auction centres

  • Copies of land records

  • On-line registration of applications

  • On-line public grievance redressal

  • Information on government programmes

  • Rural e-mail

  • Village auction

  • On-line matrimonial site

  • Ask the expert

  • Free e-mail facility on social issues

Project reach

Project Reach

  • 31 village information kiosks

  • Covering > 600 villages (1 kiosk for 25-30 villages)

  • Population 500,000 people (60% poor)

  • Kiosks are located in village committee buildings, schools, or markets

Mode of operation

Mode of Operation

  • Operator – Soochak

  • Selected by village committee and local community after preliminary training

  • Soochak is trained by District Council

  • The kiosk is run on commercial lines

  • Soochak is an entrepreneur and earns from user charges

  • 10% of income is commission to District for maintenance of network

Setting up a kiosk

Setting up a kiosk

  • Cost of a kiosk US$ 1500

    • Private investment

    • Bank loan

    • Community

  • Entrepreneur pays US$ 100/year as license fees

  • Operational cost US$ 20 per month

  • Recovery from user fees

  • Income > US$ 800/ year

Funding of project

Funding of Project

  • Network Cost US$ 55,000

  • No burden on government

  • Sources of project funding

    • Private investment

    • Village Committee

    • Community



  • Role of kiosk manager

    • Familiarize users with the technology;

    • Manage the kiosk; and

    • Collect and send feedback from the user to the main office at the district level that develops the content of the system.

  • Empowerment with information

  • Accountability and transparency in government

  • Resistance overcome by people’s demand

Issues to be overcome

Issues to be overcome

  • Low participation of women

  • Low community involvement in content creation

  • Need for multimedia content

  • High dependence on kiosk managers

  • Increasing usage of systems

    • Number of users

    • Number of uses

Village knowledge centres

Village Knowledge Centres

  • Initiated by an NGO

  • Initial 10 telecentres established with donations from private group in Japan and Motorola Corporation

  • Adopted by Union Territory Government for replication in all villages in jurisdiction



  • Pro-poor, pro-women, pro-environment

  • Community ownership of technology

  • Collective action

  • Local knowledge with value addition by experts

  • Demand-driven content

  • 50% of population in this area poor (income < US$25/month)



  • Agricultural inputs- and outputs-related

  • Market information

  • Entitlements

  • Healthcare

  • Livestock care

  • Transport information

  • Weather



  • Information gathered by local people, mostly women and fed into the intranet

  • Value addition to raw information by local volunteers

  • Content in local language and multimedia

  • All volunteers are trained

  • Active participation of villagers

  • Culture-specific aspects

Issues to be overcome1

Issues to be overcome

  • Financial sustainability

  • Introduction of user charges

  • Increasing usage of systems

    • Number of users

    • Number of uses

  • Connection to government machinery

    • Efficiency of Service Delivery and Accountability

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