09 June 2009

ICTs for development - Avoid technology-led solutions

A new IIED Briefing - Village voice: towards inclusive information technologies - argues that "by gaining a toehold in affordable ICTs, the poor can access the knowledge and services they need, such as real-time market prices, to boost their livelihoods. But to be sustainable, technologies need to factor in social realities."

Concerned about'technology-led solutions', the author concludes that "approaches that keep development concerns at their core and people as their central focus are key."

Other key messages:
  • Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are on the rise in poor countries, but work best when tailored to community needs and
    ways of working
  • ICT projects for development often fail, as they are designed as technology-led service provision rather than development-led, peoplecentred initiatives
  • ICTs are key strategic tools for improving livelihoods and should be integrated into mainstream development thinking
  • Existing frameworks for understanding ICTs for development, such as the ICT for Rural Livelihoods knowledge map, must be developed and shared more widely
  • New approaches such as social network analysis can clarify how ICTs affect sociocultural interactions.

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