Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IV). Rural Communities

Notes from the Fifth IPID ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium 2010, held at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, on September 9-10th, 2010. More notes on this event: ipid2010.

Sustainability Action Plan and Validation for ICT projects in rural areas of developing Countries
Inés Bebea González

Working in the framework of a huge ICT4D programme run by EHAS Foundation, mainly focused in e-Health for development, linking the primary healthcare system via Wi-Fi in the Amazon.

Measurement of ICT4D project results: appropriateness, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. Main hypothesis: Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) implementation will reduce sustainability failure risk of ICT project in Napo, turning this project into success also inters of sustainability.

Several parts of the plans were analyzed:

  • The institutional and financial plan, that should lead to institutional change management.
  • The operative maintenance plan, based on a historical knowledge of network status and a layered maintenance team.
  • The failure diagnosis and incidence management system, following (tech) monitoring protocol standards.
  • The continuous learning plan, with the goal to turn information into knowledge, and to avoid the drawbacks of high rotation within staff (see Batchelor, S. and Norrish, P. (2003) Sustainable information and communication technology (ICT). Reading: Gamos).

Data show a risk reduction between 33% and 65% of sustainability failure after application of the sustainability action plan.

Discussion

Q: Two suggestions. The first one, is to leverage the power of the community, especially students in higher education. The second one, is to include a security scheme, which seemed absent in the presentation. A: Definitely, volunteering programmes do apply in this kind of projects.

Usability testing of educational tool for secondary level children: A case of Sura ya UKIMWI
Barun Khanal

e-Learning platform in English and Swahili that has to be effective, efficient, engaging, error tolerant and easy to learn (the 5 E’s by Quesenberry, 2001).

Usability is not validation, it has to be embedded into the process, not put at the end. This means including real users and self-criticism

Educational tools deserve a special approach than business or commercial or work context tools.

In usability testing, it is as important as the feedback to analyze how the process itself has been perceived by the users. Many users are just not used to provide feedback, especially structured and formal feedback. Seeing how they react to usuability testing is also a way to test their skills, their perceptions, they cultural framework, how they behave in front of the technology, the usability of the test, etc.

Discussion

Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2010)

ICT4HD. Round Table. What is the role of Latin America on Research on ICT4D?

Notes from the I International Workshop on Research in ICT for Human Development, at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and held in Fuenlabrada, Spain, on May 13th and 14th, 2010. More notes on this event: ict4hd10.

Round Table: What is the role of Latin America on Research on ICT4D?

If you cannot see the slides please visit <a href="http://ictlogy.net/?p=3367">http://ictlogy.net/?p=3367</a>

Andrés Martínez, EHAS Foundation (Spain)

EHAS Foundation does research on what works and what does not work in the field of Health and ICTs in Latin America.

David Chávez Muñoz, Pontificia Universidad Católica (Peru)

Main problems in Latinamerica: poor, polarized, full with injustices, fragmented, multicultural, economically and technologically dependent from North America, Europe and North Asia, emigration, increasing destruction of the environment, etc.

ICTs are not the factor that lead to human development, but a catalyst. Can we nevertheless maximize the effect of ICTs in Latin America so that they contribute in achieving higher levels of development?

The problem is that the resources for R+D+i are not invested in these matters, but in other “strategic” issues.

A case study: the spread of broadband. While in developed countries the deployment of broadband has been successful for 99% of the population, in Latin America it has only succeeded in urban areas, but not in suburbs or in rural areas, where it has been a complete failure. The SDH/ATM + ADSL model is not viable in rural and marginal Latin America. We need R+D+i that produce other viable alternatives such as SDH/ATM + LMDS/MMDS, SDH/ATM + WiMAX, GSM/LTE, etc.

Structural problems to perform such kind of research:

  • Low articulation of actors, problems and scientific integration.
  • Education and training.
  • Methodologies, tools or infrastructures.
  • Funding.
  • Low articulation amongst social actors.

Temporal problems:

  • Duplicity of efforts.
  • Effectism, short-term planning.
  • Paradigmatic paralysis.

We have to build R+D+i networks: To reach a critical mass, to stop brain drain, etc.

Iván Hernández, Universidad del Cauca (Colombia)

Key factors for research in ICT4D in Latin America to be successful:

  • Multidisciplinarity.
  • Aim at economic development.
  • Identify opportunities.
  • Create businesses, build industry around ICTs.
  • Improve the quality of life.

Pablo Belzarena García, Universidad de la República (Uruguay)

Two main needs:

  • Policies to exclusively fund research aimed at human development;
  • Need for governments and other institutions to adopt the outcomes of research in development fields: research + development.

A good example: Plan Ceibal. Besides being a good applied project, the Plan Ceibal has become a good research engine, has it has triggered lots of research projects around it. Now the challenge is how to apply the outcomes of such research.

Fernando Balducci, Fundación Fundatel (Argentina)

ICTs can be a social inclusion tool.

Knowledge has to be transferred and appropriated by the target population of development research. If 90% (as it happens) of the outcomes remain within university walls, research is a failuer.

I International Workshop on Research in ICT for Human Development (2010)

Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IV). Thecnologies and mobile technologies

Notes from the Fourth IPID ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium 2009, held in the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, United Kingdom, on September 11-12th, 2009. More notes on this event: ict4d_symposium_2009.

Extrending WiMAX coverage for providing Quality of Service in wide rural areas of developing countries
Carlos Rey Moreno

EHAS Foundation promotes the use of wireless technologies for e-Health in Latin America.

Health Care Centres are the reference point of many Health Care Posts, but the later are very far from the former. So, how to coordinate action?

Characteristics of the target areas:

  • Isolated or hard to reach
  • Low income
  • Lack of constnat power supply
  • Trnsmission of voice is paramount

Solutions based on:

  • Wireless communications, as it is hard to wire the area
  • License-free frequencies
  • Low power consumption
  • Low cost of operation

Cellular technologies (e.g. 3G) can only be applied in urban areas due to coverage. Satellite is expensive. Thus why WiFi or WiMAX.

Though WiFi is quite low cost and easy to apply, the usage of voice does require higher quality technologies, hence the usage of WiMAX: allows for long distance links, grants quality of service, etc. The problem being that there are few experiences with WiMAX in developing countries. On the other hand, WiMAX is more expensive and difficult to implement than WiFi. So, how to improve quality while making the whole system sustainable?

The proposal is to build a hybrid architecture that takes the best of WiFi and WiMAX: 802.11e EDCA in the access tier, and 802.19-2009 in the backhaul tier. Another optino being the usage of WiMAX Relay Mode (IEEE 802.16j), which is compatible with fixed WiMAX devices.

There are parallel projects that focus in transferring not only the technology but in training the end-user in their management and, actually, its improvement. A network management system is also being developed so that the project improves in self-management, autonomy and sustainability. This knowledge transfer — besides technology transfer — is made in partnerships with local institutions like governments and the local health care system.

There’s also an ongoing work with simulations that enable testing before final implementation.

Factors influencing the adoption of mobile phones among the farmer in Bangladesh: theories and practices
Sirajul Islam

What is adoption? It is not diffusion, but the decision of a group or individual to make full use of an innovation. It is about the users deciding about how and when they will use a specific technology.

Research objectives: understand relevant theories and models of the technology adoption process, develop hypothetical model and test it, identify the adoption factors relating to other technology and mobiles inparticilar, and explain the factors pertinent to rural Bangladesh.

Relevant theories of technological adoption

  • Diffusion of Innovation, Rogers (1995)
  • Theory of Reasoned Action, Schiffman & Kanuk (2004)
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour
  • Technology acceptance model, Davis et al. (1989)

Factors of adoption of technology: age, gender, culture, income & household, occupation, education, agroecological…

Own model, specific for mobile phone adoption:

  • facilitating conditions
  • awareness, social influences
  • demographic factors
  • individual factors
  • perceived ease of use
  • tech-service attrributes
  • perceived usefulness
  • behavioural intentions
  • actual use

The use of mobile phones in education: Evidence from two pilot projects in Bangladesh
Ahmed T. Rashid & Mizan Rahman

The second millennium development goal as a background: the importance of education in development. ICTs a key solution?

Why mobile phones? m-Learning attractive because mobile phones:

  • Most ubiquitous
  • Specially good “leapfrogger”
  • Not juzt voice but data transfer

Theories of mobile learning:

  • The role of mobile in improving access to education, the basis of distance education. Rural and remote areas where communication is barrier; mobility/portability breaks barriers of time and space; reduction of substitution cost (e.g. less travel); flexibility.
  • The role of mobiles in promoting new learning, how mobile phones can transform education. Learner centred, because it is participatory, customizable; learning with understanding, accessing specific information; situated and constant learning that occurs outside classroom.

Investigate how mobile phones alone (no blended learning, though lab controlled) could be used to introduce interactivity, and copare it to face to face and sitance education with SMS enabled questions. Test outcomes similar, though some evidence of enthusiasm among.

Determine whether mobile phone supported distance education could serve as effective modality for teacher training. Findings indicate that there is very little evidence between study and control groups. Lack of English competency and technological problems being the main problems found. interaction between trainers and trainees which possibly facilitated new learning.

Conclusions are not conclusive. Mixed outcomes in terms of both facilitating access and promoting new learning, though there are signs that it could be possible.

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Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2009)