Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (X). Inclusion and Remote Communities

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.

Inclusion through e-Learning in remote Northern areas of Pakistan
Alamdar Khan Sahiar

Project focused in training teachers and trainers, raising awareness through ICT tools (i.e. e-Learning) about basic issues like Health, Education, Sanitation or Micro Credit.

Goals are to create a community action plan through e-learning and awareness raising in a remote location, using local languages (i.e. neither English nor Urdu), ICT infrastructures and ICT awareness, and delivering content.

As even dial-up connections are difficult to attain, content is delivered offline through memory sticks.

The focus in e-learning — instead of face-to-face or traditional learning — is due to the difficulty for teachers to travel from small villages to the capital and the territorial dispersion of these teachers.

Analysis of ICT Policies and Plans in 23 Muslim countries — level of women considerations
Salma Abbasi

Main goal: Development framework for holistic inclusion of women in the Knowledge Society in Pakistan. “Women” and not “Gender” because there are many details that get obscured when talking about “gender” in general.

Research questions

  • How do women use ICTs and what’s the impact
  • What are the cultural and social barriers and constraing faced by Muslim women?
  • What recommendations from the field can we do?
  • What level of women considerations can be or are included in ICT policies?

The methodology followed was to conduct interviews to elite women in 23 Muslim countries + 72 focus groups in Pakistan. Then, a keyword search was performed to analyse texts on ICT policies and see, for instance, whether the word “woman/women” was used in these policies. For each policy that did considerate women, a second analysis was done by using 17 elements of considerations: employment in ICT, job opportunities, economic impact, remote tele-working… In other words: the idea was, in out of 17 “topics” or subjects dealt with in ICT policies, to find in which of them the woman factor was directly addressed.

Results show that the main elements with the woman factor are related to employment in ICT, education, economic impact, the values of social engagement, etc.

Then, 51 women specific barriers (identified in fieldwork, e.g. sexist language) were also identified in ICT policies. Most countries do not touch any of the barriers.

Third part of the research deals with the policy formulation process: the influence of the women’s involvement, the consultative process, the guidelines and toolkits, and the benchmarking.

In general, we see that there’s no focus in “women” in ICT policies, and no “ICT” focus in gender policies. Same with disabled people and most collectives in risk of exclusion.

Better integration of immigrants in Swedish local society through ICTs
Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan & Sayed Wakar Naqvi

Immigrants use Internet to search information, but information is limited in tghe municipality websitges, specially in Swedish, English and just sometimes other languages. The amount of information varies from language to language and there is a lack of information about the job market.

The aim of this research is to identify the communication gap and to maximize the usages of ICT for better integration.

Research questions:

  • What is the immigrant’s potential in terms of ICT usage, specially in Internet usage?
  • What is the immigrant’s desire towards Swedish culture and social values
  • What are the present facilities and resources for the immigrant?
  • How ICT could be used for better integration?

The theoretical framework is Hiller and Belanger’s (2001) e-Government Teleology to frame a survey to new immigrants learning Swedish language, and interviews to administrative staffs, teachers and students to know existing integration system and in what extent ICTs are used.

From the 61 persons that took part in the survey, we can see that most of them have computer and Internet at home, and more than half of them have a Bachelors degree or more and have a good level of English [this profile, along with the fact that they are following courses on Swedish language, makes us think that it is not the typical collective that comes to mind when thinking about “immigrants”, but instead, white collar high income immigrants].

One of the main conclusions is that these immigrants need awareness and support to cover their information needs, and it seems that there’s still room for improvement in how the government (state and local) fulfils these needs through their websites.



Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2009)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (X). Inclusion and Remote Communities” In ICTlogy, #72, September 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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