Combatting Poverty (and ICT fads)

December 15, 2005

I've been reading an excellent report from Eldis (an incredible clearinghouse of development information) about the implementation of ICT programs in developing countries. In part the report seeks to question some conventional wisdom about the necessity of trendy technologies. On the whole it is a great synopsis of practical research with a clearheaded focus on poverty elimination. I recommend the full text pdf, and here's a bit from the executive report:

Man with radio

This report reviews the evidence on how (or if) ICTs should be used in support of poverty reduction exercises.

There is one characteristic that is common to most of the ICT-related poverty alleviation programs. It finds that the most effective ICTs used are typically basic ones‚ telephone and radio are most common, and when computers or the Internet are involved, they are for restricted, targeted uses.

It finds several common characteristics of successful projects:

* the focus is on poverty alleviation and not on ICT use
* ICT components are kept as simple as practical
* ICT practitioners are involved in the design of the ICT components
* there is significant community involvement
* there is a focus on training to ensure success and sustainability
* there is consideration of a plan for success; how to replicate and scale project if it is successful</blockquote>

View the original page: Eldis - ICT for Development