A couple of months ago I was asked by somebody at the Global South Forum to give a talk about some technology related topic. My initial idea was to talk about Taarifa but after some thought I decided to open it up more and talk about the wider ICT4D field. In particular related to my own experiences and assumptions.
I have been wrestling with the whole concept of ICT4D for some time and thought it would be a good opportunity to engage with “the experts”.
My slides are below. Though they contain very little text the narrative should be clear from the pictures. As background reading I strongly suggest Can Technology end Poverty from Kentaro Toyama and The Subtle Condescension of “ICT4D” by Erik Hersman.
The talk itself went very well and there was some good discussion afterwards. I’m still grappling with what I should do next & how I should spend my (limited) time in this area in the future. Tips welcome 🙂
My take home from the discussion is that the potential for impact (realizing change) is inversely proportional to the geographic & social distance of the group you are targetting and the dominance of technology in your solution.
Working very closely with “people on the ground” or “real users” can help bridge this gap but it’s very difficult to do.
So the message to me seems to be: think local.