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Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 - 21:47

I recently ran a session on Digital Development here at IDS for staff from two bilateral donors. Preparing for that session amid news revelations about the abuse of social media by governments and corporations in countries across Africa & Asia turned my thinking on Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) on its head.

 

ICT4D can be quite narrow in its technical focus on ICT use in development projects. Assessing the impacts of drones and mobile apps suddenly felt insignificant when compared to the revelations that shady corporations like Cambridge Analytica were distorting elections in Kenya, India and the Philippines, and PR companies like Bell Pottinger were profiting from fanning the flames of ethnic tensions in...

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A is for Access

Our practice of applying ICT for Development (ICT4D) is often concerned with access issues: trying to ensure that even the most marginalised communities, in the most remote locations, have equitable access to the tools that they require for development.

Vapourware

There was a lot of media coverage this weekend about the unveiling in India of the the world’s cheapest ‘laptop’ which, media reports say, will cost $35 and is ‘likely’ to go down to $10. http://bit.ly/bqngWZ

Designed by the respected Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi the device is not a laptop at all but rather an iPad-like touchscreen slate.

10 million first steps

How do you measure the value of being able to save lives with telemedicine?
Or of being able to provide the training that means a young women gets her first job as a network engineer?

The eWaste Billions

Our love for the latest gadgets & gismos puts the planet in peril.

More precisely the problem is toxic design & manufacture, rapid obsolescence & replacement cycles, and inadequate reuse & recycling.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

The axing by the government of the WEEE Advisory Board is a matter of real concern, coming as it does on the back of decisions to cut the budgets of DEFRA and of the Environment Agency.

The new government says it wants to bring the responsibilities of the WEEE Advisory Board ‘back into government’ where there is more accountability.

ICT Against Apartheid

One of the people who played a key role in establishing Computer Aid had previously spent 22 years in jail for treason.

Denis Goldberg was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, and amongst his other duties he organised the supply logistics for the ANC camps in Zambia, Zimbabwe and other ‘Frontline States’.

Enough Email Already

When old-timers like myself first began applying information and communication technology to development there was no such thing as ICT4D, no world wide web, no broadband, and no SMS.

Working in the Nicaraguan parliament after the Sandinista revolution, my first assignment was training staff to use WordPerfect for MS-DOS on a pre-hard-disk IBM PC.

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