ICT4D - Linking Policy to Community Outcomes
Type of work: Article (outreach)
Abstract:This article discusses the link between national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy in developing countries and the effectiveness of ICT for development (ICT4D) initiatives at a community level. It is based on a Doctoral research project, currently in progress, which has the primary goal of determining determine whether, by adopting a Community Informatics (CI) approach to community based ICT4D projects, which leverages existing social capital in the communities, the sustainability of such projects can be significantly improved so that ICT4D is more inclusive in reach and its overall contribution to development is enhanced. The research has a secondary goal to develop a framework for national ICT policy which is anchored in this social paradigm as distinct from the purely techno-economic paradigm that currently prevails.
This article reviews the current policy paradigm and framework as reflected in the literature, elaborates on the central research question relating to CI, social capital and sustainability, and hypothesises on what an alternative ICT policy development framework might look like. The intention of the article is to generate discussion. The research project itself is still in the early stages.