Moving ICTD research beyond bungee jumping: practical case studies and recommendations
Tucker, William David
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The global spread of Internet and mobile communications has been accompanied by a growing interest in how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can contribute to social and economic development. There are a considerable number of such examples in developing countries. For example, M-Pesa in Kenya allows workers in the cities to send money back to families living in the countryside using SMS messages on basic mobile phones. In Ghana, the Motech project allows community health workers to use feature phones and network services to track ante-natal (and post-natal) care with the objective of improving outcomes for both mothers and babies. Other examples include Gram Vaani’s (GRINS) open-source software for community radio stations, or Ushahidi’s initiatives, which began with tracking post-electoral violence in Kenya in 2008 using mobile phones and Google maps. These examples illustrate different ways of leveraging ICT to improve lives and livelihoods worldwide. Such stories are inspiring many young (and not so young) researchers and innovators alike to explore how technology might support social and economic development and inclusion in global knowledge exchange.