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Harris Ait Presentation
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Harris Ait Presentation

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Information and Communication Technologies for Poverty Reduction and Rural Development in Asia

Information and Communication Technologies for Poverty Reduction and Rural Development in Asia

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  • 1. Information and Communication Technologies for Poverty Reduction and Rural Development in Asia Roger Harris Associates Roger W. Harris PhD Roger Harris Associates Hong Kong Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok The Centre for Learning Innovation and Quality (CLIQ) 11 September, 2009
  • 2. • Promoting rural ICTs for poverty reduction since 1997 • Major aid agencies; UN, WB, ADB, IDRC, APEC… • Hands-on implementations – Individual telecentres – Programme implementations – Programme evaluations – Research • Knowledge sharing • Advocacy • Multi-country: •Malaysia •Nepal •Vietnam •Philippines •China •Sri-Lanka •Lao PDR •India •Thailand •Taiwan •Indonesia •Papua New Guinea •Mongolia •Bangladesh Introduction Roger Harris Associates INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION Roger W. Harris harris38@netvigator.com http://rogharris.org
  • 3. Current Projects • Communication for Empowerment of Asia’s Indigenous Peoples; UNDP • Support for Trans-Mongolia Sustainable Tourism; EU • Encounter Laos; GKP • eBorneo; Bario Radio • Research mentorship; SiRCA, Bangladesh
  • 4. Agenda • Poverty • The Digital Divide • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) • Examples • Some Issues • Teaching and Research
  • 5. Poverty “If we can imagine a world where nobody should be a poor person, we can create it”
  • 6. Global Population and Incomes Population Low Income Countries 2.33bn 37% High Income Countries 1.01bn 16% Middle Income Countries 3.02bn 47% High Income Countries e.g.; Europe North America Australasia Japan Some Middle East Middle Income Countries, e.g.; China Indonesia Philippines Thailand Mexico Russia Turkey Low Income Countries, e.g.; Bangladesh India Pakistan Viet Nam D.R. Congo Ethiopia Nigeria GDP Per Capita US$* High Income Countries US$28,480 Low Income Countries $US 2,110Middle Income Countries US$5,800 * GDP = Gross Domestic Product. It is the total value of goods and services produced by a nation. The GDP of a country divided by its total population yields per capita GDP
  • 7. The Consequences of Global Poverty • One third of deathsdeaths- some 18 million people a year or 50,00050,000per day - are due to poverty-related causes, the majority women and childrenwomen and children. • Every year more than 10 million10 millionchildren die of hunger and preventable diseases - that's over 30,000 per day and one every 3 seconds3 seconds. • Over 1 billion1 billionpeople live on less than $1 a day with nearly halfhalfthe world's population (2.8 billion) living on less than $2 a day. •• 600 million600 millionchildren live in absolute poverty. • The threethree richest people in the world control more wealth than all 600600 millionmillionpeople living in the world's poorest countries. • Income per person in the poorest countries in Africa has fallenfallenby a quarter in the last 20 years. •• 800 million800 millionpeople go to bed hungry every day. • Every year nearly 11 million11 millionchildren die before their fifthfifth birthday. •• ““ItIt’’s not their faults not their fault””
  • 8. What helps move people out of poverty? • Education • Employment • Enterprise development • Credit • Public services • Health care • Better agriculture • Information ….about all the above, …….and the Technology to deliver it.
  • 9. The Digital Divide
  • 10. Definitions The Digital Divide • The term digital divide refers to the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those without such access. E-Inclusion • e-Inclusion refers to the effective participation of individuals and communities in all dimensions of knowledge-based societies and economies through their use of ICTs. • Addresses the underlying socio-economic problems that are highlighted by the the digital divide • In Asia, references to the digital divide still dominate discussions and the concept of e-inclusion has yet to take hold.
  • 11. The Global Digital Divide 54.1 41.49 3.07 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 High Income Countries Middle Income Countries Low Income Countries Main Line Telephones per 100 population 77.14 72.67 4.13 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Mobile cellular subscribers per 100 population High Income Countries Middle Income Countries Low Income Countries 52.52 23.73 2.38 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Internet Users per 100 population. High Income Countries Middle Income Countries Low Income Countries 57.22 16.29 1.13 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 PCs Per 100 population. High Income Countries Middle Income Countries Low Income Countries
  • 12. Household access to ICTs % of BOP households TV Phone Radio Computer Bangladesh Pakistan India Sri Lanka Philippines Thailand 52 41 13 0 68 39 24 1 77 3 50 38 28 80 64 4 6463 50 52 1 75 70 6 • Telephones have overtaken radios in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India • India is the only country in the world to send and receive missed calls, used by 84% of users to minimize communication expenditures .
  • 13. ICTs - Access
  • 14. ICTs consist of:… • Computers • The internet • Telephones • Televisions • Radios • Loudspeakers • And… – PDAs, iPods, GPSs, etc…
  • 15. Internet Access in Asia • The number of internet subscribers in Asia amounts to around 8% of Asia’s population • Over 60% in some countries, less than 5% in others • Telecentres provide shared access to ICTs for the purpose of community development and poverty reduction • 11,160 telecentres in 16 countries in Asia • 2,000 new telecentres established in India every year since 2001 Telecentre Diffusion in Asia
  • 16. Mobile Telephones • SMS services • Voice applications • Web applications • Social exchanges • Emergencies • Informal networks • Business transactions • Weather updates • Market prices 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Developing economies Africa Asia Latin America SE Europe and CIS Developed economies World Mobile Subscribers per 100 Population 2002 2006 • More than half the world's population now pay to use a mobile phone • Developing countries accounting for about two-thirds of the mobile phones in use.
  • 17. Televisions • Almost ubiquitous in Asia • Main form of information and entertainment • Not used much for development • Notable exceptions; farmer information in China and Vietnam 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Africa Asia Latin America Global TV Sets (% of households) TVs (% of households)
  • 18. (Community) Radio • Popular, especially for local information • Combined with telecentres = radio browsing • Rapid diffusion of development information to remote areas • Channel for interactive communication, dialogue and debate on rural development issues. • A tool for cultural expression, local language use, entertainment. • A platform for democratic expression of opinions, needs and aspirations of rural communities • 56% of farmer households in Vietnam have a radio 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 Low income Middle income High income East Asia & Pacific Latin America Middle East & N. Africa South Asia Sub-Saharan Africa Europe Radios per 1,000 people
  • 19. Loudspeakers • Important in some contexts; China, Vietnam, India • Especially combined with other technologies; radio, internet.
  • 20. Examples
  • 21. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India • 12 networked “Knowledge Centres” • Trained Village Knowledge Workers • Local language • Promote government schemes • Micro-enterprises • Sea conditions • Agricultural support • Market information • Veterinary support • Computer-aided learning • Nutrition and health awareness • Rural yellow pages • Local newsletter
  • 22. E-Bario Telecentre, Sarawak, Malaysia Bario Bario • Remote, isolated • Fly-in only • Starved of information • Poor communications • Indigenous, minority culture • Dwindling population E-Bario • Telecentre with satellite Internet and solar power • Project began in 1998 by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak • Now owned by the community • Contributing to local development; culture, tourism and trade • Won multiple awards. • Implementing Community Radio
  • 23. Radio Sagarmatha • The first independent radio in Nepal • Community based public radio broadcasting to the Kathmandu Valley since 1977 • Live and streaming audio to the internet • Broadcasting for twelve hours a day • Regular programming on good governance, gender, women's issues, environment and other public matters. • Music and cultural programming include folk music, weekly live classic recitals, contemporary music as well as regular programs on the visual and oral arts.
  • 24. Television • China Ministry of Agriculture has its own TV broadcast channel for farmers. • Can Tho University, Vietnam runs regular farmers workshops with extension agents that are broadcast every week. – "Doctor Farmer" - Prof. Vo-Tong Xuan "Television has been wonderful as a medium for education. The period 1978 to 1981 was crucial to our plan to increase rice production. We used television to spread the word about the new technology in high- yielding rice cultivation among farmers and agricultural extension workers and even government offices in the province, district, and villages. Television is available all over the southern part of Viet Nam. Even poor farmers can go in the evening over to the house of a neighbour with a television. Television is better than radio because the farmers can see for themselves." Beijing Rural Distance Education System
  • 25. Mobile Phones • mHealth – Medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices – Tamil Nadu Health Watch allows health workers, even in remote areas, to immediately report disease incidence data to health officials • mLearning – Learning with portable technologies – Graduate students at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, North Bangkok, used mobile phones to participate in tests, and more than 90 per cent of the participants owned the mobile phones themselves • mFinance – Mobile phones to facilitate banking activities; deposits, withdrawals, payments, transfers. – GCASH Philippines, turns a cellphone into an electronic wallet, for money transfers, shopping and transferring money between cellphones • mAgriculture – Fishing boats in Kerala using offshore mobile phones to coordinate sales with traders • mGovernment – Delivery of government services and applications on mobile phones and other portable devices using a wireless infrastructure. – Income Tax Department of India - SMA to verify banks have uploaded tax deposits • Crisis Management – RapidSMS enables mass-scale mobile data collection, messaging, and workflow management via SMS – deployed by UNICEF to track the distribution of Plumpynut during a hunger crisis in Ethiopia • Conservation – Wild-life tracking, remote environmental sensing • Advocacy/citizen mobilisation/social coordination – FrontlineSMS for text messaging to large groups
  • 26. Some Issues in ICTs for Poverty Reduction
  • 27. Define the development strategy Define the information strategy Define the technology strategy Define the sustainability strategy Define the evaluation strategy Begin with an awareness of the potential and limitations of ICTs for development and poverty reduction Against that background Where development is going and why What information is needed How the information can be delivered How the service can be sustained, extended How the outcomes can be identified Design Approach
  • 28. Telecentre Sustainability • Sustainability usually means the ability to generate revenue to cover operational costs • Market-based approaches fail the poorest • The more a telecentre is required to generate revenues, the less emphasis it will place on supporting development and the more it will place on revenue- generating services • But without incentives for generating some revenue, telecentres will continue to depend on subsidies • Necessary to strike a careful balance between subsidy and revenue • Universal service funds can support telecentres, the same way other public services are supported, which are often enjoyed by the rich
  • 29. Who pays? – Multiple models • Government – Malaysia: two schemes under two ministries – Vietnam: ‘Culture Points’ under Ministry of Info & Comms • Universal Service Funds – Subsidy schemes: Malaysia ‘Kedai.com’, libraries – Least cost auctions: Nepal • Private sector – New entrants: Sri Lanka, with decreasing subsidies – Corporations: ITC India – e-Choupal • Civil Society – NGOs – CBOs – Research institutions
  • 30. Mobile vs. Computers ComputersMobile Positive Negative •Affordable by BOP •Low power use •Approaching ubiquity •Grass-roots driven applications •Endless innovation with function •Low cost internet access •Nearly free to operate •FOSS keeps costs down •Many to many •Walled garden; cost of entry •Limited functionality •Difficult to modify •Metered use •Centralised systems - vulnerable to disasters and government control •Hub and spoke •Unaffordable domestically •Telecentres have limited reach and sustainability issues False Dichotomy: Convergence of applications and services which interoperate seamlessly over mobile networks and the Internet
  • 31. Teaching and Research “to change the system”
  • 32. Understanding the Principles • ICTs alone are insufficient • Effective pro-poor policies for public service provision • Institutional reforms for making effective use of ICTs • Programmes that go beyond access • Technical skills that complement poverty reduction efforts • Capacity building at all levels • Honest evaluations for evidence- based policy making and programme design
  • 33. Teaching ICT4D – Multi-Disciplinary • Information Systems – What can be done with computers and the internet and how to get the most from the technology • Computer Science – How the technology works. • Development Studies – The causes of poverty and efforts to alleviate it. • Communication – How the media, including new media, promotes social change • Economics – Social businesses and ICTs
  • 34. Researching ICT4D • Impact and evaluation – Technology appropriation – Unexpected but desirable outcomes – Gender differentiation • Sustainability – Types of sustainability – Who pays? • Replication – Conditions required for successful replication • Technology diffusion – E-inclusion for vulnerable groups – Regulatory reform
  • 35. Thank you Roger Harris Associates Roger W. Harris PhD Roger Harris Associates Hong Kong

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