Unlikely Actors: Religious Organizations as Intermediaries in Indonesia
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The 11th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (The IFIP WG9.4 Conference 2011), Kathmandu, Nepal, 22-25 May 2011

The 11th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (The IFIP WG9.4 Conference 2011), Kathmandu, Nepal, 22-25 May 2011

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Unlikely Actors: Religious Organizations as Intermediaries in Indonesia Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Unlikely Actors: ReligiousOrganizations as Intermediaries inIndonesiaFathul Wahida, b, Maung K. Seina, Bjørn Furuholtaa Department of Information Systems, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norwayb Department of Informatics, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia11th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries,Kathmandu, Nepal, May 2011
  • 2. Introduction• For ICT4D initiatives to succeed actors/intermediaries play a vital role • Individuals • Organizations• Previous literature reported various actors (such as one-stop shop, telecenters, or even friends and family members)• Who are the possible actors/intermediaries in Indonesia? 2
  • 3. ICT4D in Indonesia• The worlds fourth most populous country (population ≈ 238 million)• The worlds largest population of Muslims INDONESIA• Consists of 17,508 scattered islands that demand for a good transportation and communication infrastructure, including ICT• Low Internet penetration (12.1% of the population)• Digital divide within the country is huge 3
  • 4. Data• Informal discussion with ICT4D players• Authors’ previous research in Indonesia on relevant topics• Secondary data• The literature 4
  • 5. Possible intermediaries in Indonesia• Internet cafes • 40% of users access the Internet from 10,000 Internet cafes• One-stop services • E.g., to improve their public services and transparency• Private sectors • E.g., increasing Internet accessibility and developing e-Government application• Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) • E.g., providing ICT training, taking part in emergency responses during natural disasters• Post offices • Pos Indonesia runs ISP, operates Internet cafes, and manages 30,000 payment points for various services• Religious organizations (ROs) 5
  • 6. The current picture of ROs in Indonesia• ROs have embarked on using ICT to support their operations in giving services to the society • Some masjids (mosques) provide free Internet connection to their jamaah (constituents) • Telecenters or Internet cafes in pesantren (Islamic boarding house) • Madrasahs, schools, and universities are powerful channels to disseminate ICT related awareness, knowledge, and skills 6
  • 7. Evaluating ROs: possible rolesRoles Example in the Indonesian contextFacilitating/providing Pesantrens run Internet cafes; masjids provide freeaccess Internet access to their jamaah.Transforming Schools/madrasahs and universities run by ROs include ICT in their curricula. Masjids organize ICT training to their jamaah.Information Pesantrens run their websites to provide aggregatedprocessing information and consultation. Internet in many cases is also a source of information for face-to-face Islamic teaching/preaching.Provide help and Operators in Internet cafes and telecenters run by ROssupport usually are very keen to help the users to access the services provided. 7
  • 8. Evaluating ROs: sustainability• Majority of ROs have a steady flow of financing• ROs providing services (including ICT related ones) that are useful and fulfill the need of the society has attained the trust from the society• Most ROs are strongly attached to the local societies that make the offered service are highly localized and contextual (e.g., telecenter, Internet training)• ROs envelop any offering around socio-religious as well as educational aspects where ICT is simply a means of achieving their larger goal – propagating the faith Based on the framework developed by Sein et al. (2008) 8
  • 9. Examining ROs as intermediaries (1)• ROs as development and socio-political organizations• The two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia, namely Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah are good illustrations• NU (established in 1926) has 35 million followers and manages 7,000 pesantrens and other schools/madrasahs or universities• Muhammadiyah (established in 1912) manages 7,000 schools/madrasahs, 67 pesantrens, 150 universities, and 900 hospitals, orphanage houses, and elderly houses 9
  • 10. Examining ROs as intermediaries (2)• Islamic values are used as an instrument of modernization • The pesantrens have been serving both as places for religious teaching and as community centres (Rao, 2004) • Local ROs, i.e., masjids, have played significant role in culture and community-driven development in Indonesia (Bebbington et al., 2004) 10
  • 11. The “other side” of ROs as intermediaries• Intermediaries do not operate in vacuum and are not value free• An example: the recent Moluccan conflict between Muslim and Christian communities provides evidence that ROs can use the Internet to propagate hate, where both Muslim and Christian ROs used the Internet to disseminate their one-sided opinions, often by insulting each other• ROs may also manifest as illegal or terrorist organizations  ICTs become a powerful weapon in the hand of trained and highly skilled terrorists 11
  • 12. Contribution• Identifying the possible actors/intermediaries in Indonesia • Internet cafes, one-stop services, private sectors, NGOs, post offices, ROs• Examining ROs as ICT4D intermediaries which has not received much attention in the literature• Identifying trust as an important character for ICT4D intermediaries, and ROs seem to fulfill this role 12
  • 13. Future research directions• Empirical verifying and validating of the concepts and postulations made from our analysis• Investigating the balance between the positive and negative aspects of ROs as intermediaries• Grounding the conceptualizations on theoretical premises 13
  • 14. Thank you for the attention!Questions and [hopefully] answers 14