As many as 10 years ago, the term “ICT for Development” or ICT4D came into popular use. It was based on the premise that information and communication [ICT] technologies could be used as a cornerstone in economic and human development.
The efforts have been rangy — from the “One Laptop per Child” project to projects where cellular (phone) technologies would be used to bring health education and services to remote communities. (See also OLPC on Wikipedia.) OLPC is a particularly good example of the ICT4D genre because over the years it has brought a large number of its computers to children, but has not achieved the broad success sought for the project by its founder, Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the M.I.T. Media Lab. i’ve written
Why do we do this? Here’s my story, based on personal experience:
As youngsters we like building things. This leads many of us to learn about technology, and to build careers or central interests in tech endeavors. We want to help people. It is frequently easiest for us to help people by leveraging the things we know best. So we start using technology to help people. In our own way(s).
I know that there have been hundreds of conferences and meetings in the ICT4D area. I’ve been to lots of them. But I also notice them more directly right now, because more of my friends are discovering ICT4D and are thinking of running their own events.
So I’m going to take note of a few of these as they come to light. Typically, my articles will be short, like this one, so please follow links and read more elsewhere — and do some reflection of your own.