28 May 2008

ICT for rural livelihoods 'knowledge map'

Between 2006 and 2007, ODI and partners were commissioned by the World Bank Information for Development Program (infoDev) to produce a Knowledge Map of ICTs and rural livelihoods.

Written up in wiki format, the Map is designed to answer the following questions: How can the full range of information and communication technologies (ICTs), appropriately adapted, help to improve the livelihoods of poor individuals, families and communities in rural areas and increase their income opportunities, thereby improving their chances of escaping from persistent poverty? What do we know already, both from research and from experience in the field, and what do donor staff and their country counterparts most urgently need to know about these issues? How should we think about the role of ICT in enhancing the livelihoods of the rural poor? What elements most urgently require further research and analysis in order to lay the basis for informed policy and investment by donors, governments and others?

The wiki gives access to several country and project case studies and it summarises where we are with regard to several key topics:
  • Enabling Environment - national policies, laws, physical infrastructure (roads, electricity, etc), and other infrastructure (access to education, access to banks, etc) that need to be in place for people to be able to use ICTs to their advantage.

  • Evaluation - how we can evaluate the impact of ICTs on rural livelihoods.

  • Partnerships - how partnerships can be used in the most appropriate and effective way in the area of ICTs-for-rural-livelihoods.

  • Sustainability - how ICTs-for-rural-livelihood projects and programmes can be set up in ways that continue to support livelihoods strategies in the longer term.

  • Scalability - how successful ICT for rural livelihood projects or programmes can be scaled up in the same context, or adopted in other contexts in order to create the same positive effects.

  • Local Innovation - how local innovation can be encouraged in the area of ICTs-for-rural-livelihoods, including how to foster the use of local content and locally appropriate technologies.
It provides recommendations for five groups: international donors, donor staff in-country, policymakers, private sector actors, and CSOs and other intermediaries to the rural poor.

It provides access to a large bibliography of recent literature, useful web portals and sites, and key organisations.

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