A quick guide to implementing ICT for development projects

From iCommons A quick guide to implementing ICT for development projects:

Pre-project best practices

  1. Conduct a needs assessment
  2. Ensure ownership, get local buy-in and find a champion
  3. Identify key external challenges

Project rollout best practices

  1. Avoid duplication of efforts
  2. Take small achievable steps and stay focussed
  3. Stay Focussed
  4. Critically evaluate efforts and adapt as needed

Post-project best practices

  1. Final project evaluation
  2. Disseminate information
  3. Make it sustainable

Master in e-Administration

I’m proud to announce the launching of the new Master in e-Administration (link in Spanish) by the Open University of Catalonia [Barcelona, Spain], in which I am both author and teacher of the first part devoted to the technological ground of electronic Administration.

The structure of the master is as follows:

  1. Technological grounds of the e-Administration
  2. Juridical grounds of the e-Administration
  3. Politic and organizational grounds of the e-Administration
  4. e-Administration design, implementation and evaluation
  5. ICT applications in the public framework
  6. Analysis of the e-Administration

The master (actually, a one year post-degree) is directed by Dr. Agustí Cerrillo, expert in e-Administration and e-Governance, and begins in March 2007. There’s the option to follow two consecutive one-semester post-degrees too.

NGO-in-a-box: Open Publishing Edition

The Open Publishing Edition of NGO-in-a-box is a toolkit of Free and Open Source software, tutorials and guides for producing, publishing and distributing content. The Edition, produced by Tactical Tech in collaboration with iCommons, is aimed at small to medium sized non-profits, independent media organisations, free culture creators and grassroots journalists with a particular emphasis on those in developing and transition countries.

Good compilation of resources to, as said before, publish content and do it on a free/open basis. The compilation has three main sections:

  • Tools, with the main free software applications to manage your content, be it text be it images, on your desktop or online, etc.
  • Projects – How To…, with concrete, practical examples on how to carry on the most common tasks
  • Resources, with outlinks to Tactical Tech guides for content diffusion

Besides this main navigation architecture, there’s still room for an Introduction to Open Publishing, other resources and live CDs. A very good work… and reference.

Elasticity of ICTs and high-tech digital divide

John Daly has posted a great article entitled Can the Digital Divide be Closed?

His most impacting statement is not that not only the digital divide is growing — which I agree with, specially under a qualitative approach — but that developed countries do not want it to narrow — which is something we’ve been seeing for the last 150 years.

The key point in John’s article is approaching his arguments from a microeconomic point of view, distinguishing two different levels of technology — low tech and high tech — and how the different elasticities of their respective demands impact on the low and high tech digital divides.

Summing up: low tech is desirable in less developed countries at its efficiency (benefit vs. cost) to reduce powerty is bigger. On the other hand, less developed countries just cannot afford higher technology. But as basic (technological) needs are already covered in developed countries, they do demand more high tech. Both issues (less developed countries demanding low tech, developed countries demanding high tech) do widen the high tech gap, which is, indeed, the one that counts to keep international competitiveness. So, same scheme feeds itself and the system perpetuates.

Thus, how to break this Möbius loop? Surely grassroots divides (food, health, education) should come first… and honestly.