we build software to span your digital divide
Home Blog Partners Technology Wiki Jobs About Us Contact

Dog eat dog.

The Meraka Institute is a development innovator with several innovative projects and concepts and they are very well positioned as concerns up-and-coming projects in Southern Africa. That's why I just had to stop by to visit them and chat about our ideas regarding rural marginalised areas and what one can do with ICTs to improve conditions in these areas.

In this post I want to just talk about one concern that came up, namely the fractured ICT4D landscape. This echoes strongly Jeff's comment last week on my post 27 (see my most frequently commented post), as well as comments in an email I got from Alfredo this morning.

Basically the problem is that most people guard their ideas jealously in order to prevent others from stealing them, while they are busily looking for pots of money to plunder. There are clearly limited amounts of money and one has to compete to get them. Now there are some relatively easy ideas, which have short time scales and involve a lot of "safe" lab work and few projects that really look at applications in the field - the difficult part. Also collaboration complicates projects, lowering the chances of success - because often in the background people are chasing their own research agendas. So it's really not in one's interest to work together with others, if one can avoid it. The result is a fractured landscape with 1001 pilot projects and 1001 wikis and information centres.

This is terrible from the point of view of the persons in marginalised areas living in poverty, who could use some co-operative assistance!

On the other hand, however, ICT4D is a new research field and claims are being staked out by the new miners. The field will settle and the most influential (not necessarily best, but good enough) projects will gain so much influence that they will become de-facto concentrators allowing better use of synergies and forcing more standardisation in the field.

As this process continues, eKhaya ICT will hopefully be able to play the role of intermediary and agent - as not bound to any research goals - trying out new techniques and making real headway for the people who need help the most by making and crossing bridges between research programmes, cultures and sides of the digital divide.

Obviously the competition will also start in the commercial sector, soon (I am not talking about VoIP, I am talking about innovative ICT technologies). But I think we have a head start in terms of technological know-how and quality standards. And if someone else does a better job, we'll try join them - after all the goal is to help.

Posted: June 25th 2007 09:05
[permalink]


(no comments at present)





aw-profile
Ron Wertlen Ron Wertlen
[chat]
Tablet Face Recognition Login
New technologies are solving common denominator problems, so of course they are also applicable in developing countries.  awarenet's picture login [1] is a fairly low security but effective way of allowing school children with low levels of literacy to log in and use the csocial network...
by: Ron Wertlen
[permalink]
Node.js stays close to its roots: Ultra-fast.
Recently one of the big node.js community stars, creator of the express middleware framework, the jade templating language and koa -- TJ Holowaychuk -- announced that he was no longer going to be using node.js [1]. The main reason that he cited is the reason why we find node.js so compelling...
by: Ron Wertlen
[permalink]
Javascript Platforms for Development
Node.js is a new-comer on the Internet Web Server block. It is programmed in Javascript, and it is something worth watching in the ICT4D arena for these reasons: It runs on light-weight hardware, like the Raspberry Pi and requires much fewer hardware resources than traditional systems like apache, ...
by: Ron Wertlen
[permalink]
Innovation Made in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
A brand new 2012 CSIR research project into Technologies for Rural Education will make use of awareNet technology. The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) is South Africa's first and largest technology innovation institution and very active in the development and rural development ...
by: Ron Wertlen
[permalink]
eKhaya ICT - Recalibration
eKhaya ICT has unveiled a new direction - as reflected in our current web site changes. What's changing?ICT for development -- our research over the past 5 years shows that this topic belongs firmly in the sociological and anthropological drawer and has nothing to do with software development! ...
by: Ron Wertlen
[permalink]



eKhaya ICT is an Eastern Cape based software company, specialising in quality solutions and software components of ICT4D.

Contact:
9 Florence Street
Grahamstown
6139
South Africa
Tel: +27 79 4354681
Fax: +27 46 6227507
www: ekhayaict.com
Products:
awarenet
Discontinued:
Reed House Systems
Site Links:
About Us
Jobs
Contact
Log In



--- (c) 2014, eKhaya ICT ---