ICT4D Vincent Shaw
What I found in exploring the topic • The D of ICT4D is very under-developed • The ISR literature has not paid much attention to the D • That the ISDC literature is not really engaging the development world
The focus of this presentation • Defining ICT and Development • Development as conceptualised currently by the • Development practitioners • ISR literature • Framework based on Sen’s work • Explore the use of the framework • Implications for future research
1.1 Defining ICT • ICT is an umbrella term that covers all technical means for processing & communicating information. • radio and television services, and • other digital technologies including • methods for communication protocols, • transmission techniques, • communications equipment, • techniques for storing & processing information using computers, & similar devices like handheld palmtops and PDA’s.
Comparing mobile penetration across Africa Implications for use of mobiles: • % penetration • Expected growth
Gaining some perspective • The languages spoken across the world and language of internet content
Gaining some perspective • Only 15% of rural households in sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity
What should we be tracking? Coverage or Use?
Defining Development: Sen’s Capability Approach • Sen defines development as a “process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy”. • A substantially different approach to that of using GNP or incomes • Focus on freedoms shifts the emphasis towards the ends rather than the means of development
The Capability Approach:Functionings and Capabilities • Functionings are the things we can do – the beings and doings of our lives • They are our actual achievements • Functionings provide us with a “capability set” • This represents our potential achievements – or the opportunities we have • Commodities are goods and services that are the means to achieve
2. Development as empowerment Empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to • participate in, • negotiate with, • influence, • control, and • hold accountable institutions that affect their lives. (World Bank, 2002)
Development as Empowerment Agency Iterative Relationship Degree of Empowerment Development Outcomes Opportunity Structure Alsop, 2006
Development as Empowerment • Agency and Assets • Assets provide power – a combination of resources and rules • Interaction takes place between the assets and opportunity structures • Examples include: • Psychological – capacity to envision • Human – skills of various kinds, literacy • Informational • Organizational • Material • Social • Financial Agency Iterative Relationship Degree of Empowerment Development Outcomes Opportunity Structure Alsop, 2006
Development as Empowerment Agency • Opportunity Structure • Institutions that govern people’s behavior, and which influence the success or failure of people’s choices • The rules of society that shape human interactions and peoples’ choices • Formal institutions • Informal institutions – unofficial rules, cultural practices and value systems Iterative Relationship Degree of Empowerment Development Outcomes Opportunity Structure Alsop, 2006
Development as Empowerment Agency Iterative Relationship Degree of Empowerment Development Outcomes Opportunity Structure • Degrees of Empowerment • The opportunity to make a choice exists • The opportunity is used • The choice brings about the desired effect Alsop, 2006
Surprise finding: Mobile use in rural Nigeria • “Self-developed” report format • Self-funded from “free sms’s”
Degrees of Empowerment • Improvement in mobile coverage created “opportunity structures” for Bahati and the CHEW in Gagure HC • They both utilised a variety of personal skills (functionings) to obtain cell phones, and use them • Their use of their agency, and the opportunity structure (free sms) to enhance their productivity and efficiency • Despite the lack of material benefit (for Gagure CHEW), they were empowered
3. A Framework for Evaluating Empowerment:Domains and Sub-domains • State • Justice • Politics • Public service delivery • Market • Labour • Goods • Services • Society • Intra-household • Intra-community • Which can be applied in a framework to assess agency and opportunity structures across a number of levels: • Micro (local, household) • Intermediate (Regional, State, Provincial) • Macro (National)
Four Key Points • Empowerment is a relational concept • it emerges from the interaction between people and their environment; • it plays out through the rights, rules, norms, behaviours and processes governing poor people and powerful actors; • the relationship plays out at multiple levels, and in different domains;
Four Key Points 2. Usually, marginalized/poor people capabilities and attributes are conceptualized as individual attributes, but where they are disempowered, they often find a voice through collective action/organizations; 3. Empowerment requires both top-down and bottom-up approaches • Top-down processes are required to change structures and organizational processes • Bottom-up for awakening individual assets
4 Key Points 4. Intervention points vary, depending on the • Constraints and barriers • What is feasible • The developmental outcome desired Intervention points can also change over time
Summary so far • ICT has been defined, and we have drawn attention to the relatively superficial “bean counting” strategies that track expansion so far • We have suggested that more sophisticated measures are required to monitor the use of ICT, and how this contributes to development • Defined development using Sen’s Capability Approach • Explored a framework used in the development domain to track empowerment
Early ISR views on Development • Development was seen as the antithesis of poverty, and poverty could be addressed by • funding for economic development • transfer of economic and technological policies from the “developed world” to the “developing world” • Failure due to instrumentalist view of social life and people which ignores the various factors that influence the well-being of individuals and groups (Critiqued by Escobar, 1995).
Development and ISR The Offending Reports Human Dev Report 2001, Human Dev Report 2002, Porter Global Competitiveness Report (2001/2002), Global Information Technology Report • Avgerou (2003) has critiqued simplistic views drawing on narrow economic theory that links ICT’s to development, arguing that complex interactions govern whether ICT make a meaningful impact on development.
Avgerou argues that institutional intervention (in the form of government and networked organizations as watchdogs) are required to regulate market dynamics. • She concludes that emulation of western based practices in developing economies hardly ever succeeds, and suggest that “situated action appropriate to formative contexts” should be prioritized. The reports suggest that a virtuous cycle gets established that can be left to market forces to develop Technological innovation Human capabilities Economic growth
Development and ISR • The effect of internet expansion has been assessed by exploring the impact in specific areas • Economic productivity • Health • Education • Poverty alleviation and empowerment • Democracy • Sustainable development • Useful study: • Clear description of development initiatives over time • Highlights the role of intermediary institutions in linking local and global conditions in creating knowledge, disseminating knowledge, and in human resource development Madon (2000)
Development and ISR • Papers assessed according to the areas of contribution • Public infrastructure (e.g. health) • Governance, accountability and civil society (e.g. educational provision) • Entrepreneurialism and economic activity • Access to global markets and resources. Thompson and Walsham (undated) Papers reviewed in: • Walsham and Sahay (2006), • Avgerou (2008), • Walsham et al (2007) Reference to Development • only 5 made an explicit attempt to address development issues
Summary • While there have been significant calls for an increased focus on the role of ICT’s in development, the ISR literature has responded mainly by • Describing the areas in which developmental contributions have been effected • Warning against overly simplistic views on the link between ICT diffusion and development; • Highlighting the complex interactions that are required to effect productivity gains related to ICT diffusion • Most views on development continue to look at the extent of access to ICT’s rather than their actual use • There are a few articles that draw on Sen’s Capability Approach
Capability Approach and ISR • Madon 2004 framework for assessing eGov project in Kerala: • Range of ICT-generated applications • What functionings are enabled • What people do with the opportunities • Barriers to achieving functionings
Development and ISR Contd • Zheng and Walsham 2008 • Commodities: • What type of technology? • What characteristics of technology are relevant to local conditions? • Conversion factors: • Personal factors • Social factors • Environmental factors • Agents: • Whose capabilities are deprived • Capabilities: • What capabilities are deprived? • Well-being freedom • Agency freedom
4. Adapting the Framework • State • Policy and regulatory framework • Public service delivery, such as health, education, democracy • Governance and accountability • Market • Entrepreneurialism and economic activity/productivity • Goods • Services • Access to global markets and resources • Organisational (non-governmental organizations) • Society • Intra-household • Intra-community
Value of the framework: • Assess progress over time • Comparative across time and space • Different view to “failure” of IS projects, or the paradox of ongoing “unsuccessful” interventions
5. Implications for further research: • Emergent themes: • South vs North – the framework enables local priorities to be set, and a range of OS and agency tasks to be determined which are understood to contribute to developmental outcomes • Longitudinal studies
Implications for further research contd • Use of particular theories: • Complexity theory – • non-linearity • role of self-organizing groups • Co-evolution • Structuration theory • Use of particular methodologies: • Critical emancipatory action research
Concluding Remarks • The “Capability Approach” is a useful philosophical and analytical framework; • Advantage to be gained from combining perspectives from the “development domain” with those from the ISR domain; • Shift in thinking about ISR in DC, in particular to consider different research approaches, and the use of theory.