How ICTs are used for community development?

There plenty of debates on how Information and Communication Technologies are used to help the communities  for better self reliance. The power of technologies as well as education can change the world.  I am here once again to bring you a topic on ICTs and community development.

There are debates of how can poor communities and those are at risk can use effectively the growing benefit of ICTs? There are plenty of cases, however, I would bring it down the the use of technologies such as mobile phones and radio, as internet in the rural areas are mostly not available or not accessible given the electronic matter, language barriers and the economic power to fully utilize them, etc…

My recent research in rural Ratanakiri province showed that mobile phones and radios are pretty much useful in the recent context of rural areas which they provide great benefits.  Here I discuss mobile phone and radio and also challenge idea of paying more attention about social aspect of the community structure.

-Mobile phone for agriculture purpose: Communities had accessed to mobile phone and used it to check the price of cashew nut in the market. And they organize their community members via mobile phones and social networks to sell their crops. In rice planting seasons, they even use mobile phones to check the rice price and other fertilizers methodologies as well as technical aspect.

-Mobile phone and radio for early warning system: Communities used their mobile and radio to access and receive early information notice regarding food, storms, water level rising and the potential alert on the issues of flood. With these combination of technologies, even though little was used, was found useful in flood management and recovery where heavily the use of mobile was for connecting authorities and families for supports. Without such, it leaves the communities less information and less chances of being prepared and responded.

A key note to remember also that even in the condition where technologies are used with limited options, but there is a reference that communities also relied heavily on their social network among friends,relatives and local authorities. To ignore these aspects even further marginalizing the social cohesion which build on the use of technologies. Therefore, effectiveness and sustainability, technologies require a great understanding on the communities needs and their social benefits. And that is where technologies can greatly complement the socially acceptable norms, which both may enhance the better development of a rural communities.

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About pheapgds

Development practitioner, with interests in gender studies, sexuality, local planning, research and capacity building andDRR/Climate Change.
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