Communities & ICT in VeSeL
Village e-Science for Life
VeSeL involves two rural Kenyan communities which include farmer self help groups,
community based organisations and schools.
VeSeL is exploring ways to use ICT to improve local livelihoods particularly through
VeSeL Researchers include specialists in Agriculture and ICT (UON, Kenya),
Participatory Socio-technical Design (TVU), Education & Technology (LKL), Sensor
networks (Leeds), Power Engineering (ICL), Networks and Knowledge Management
The Ecology of Resources Model
Learner Generated Contexts
Scaffolding learners to more effectively generate their own learning contexts.
A Learner Generated Context is a context created by people interacting together
with a common, self-defined or negotiated learning goal - a community
Learner Generated Contexts are generated through the enterprise of those who
would previously have been consumers in a context created for them.
• Use the Ecology of Resources model and participatory methods to map out
the context that communities exist in
• Identify the existing resources with which people interact and the filters and
the relationships between these elements that make up a community’s
• Identify desired learning and the resources and adjustments required to
build a context that supports this learning
Local CBO Resources
VeSeL Research Team
School Children Other Remote Experts
May Contextual Inquiry Feb. Introduction of equipment Oct. UoN visit to Kambu
2007 2008 2009
Nov. Meeting Communities July Interviews April Follow up training
• The Ecology of Resources Model (Luckin, 2008) as a tool to
help design appropriate learning contexts and technology
• Participation towards autonomy - from learner centred design to
learner generated contexts
• So, what about communications & community in VeSeL?
Luckin. R, (2008) The learner centric ecology of resources: A framework for using technology to
scaffold learning, Computers & Education, Volume 50 , Issue 2 Pages 449-462
From community to communities
• How does the concept of “community” change with the introduction of ICT?
• Does it still make sense to define communities based on place, work or ethnic- affiliation in the era of online social networking and digital communities? Rural
communities are generally referred to (or idealized) as homogeneous entities, getting together and co-operating for common goals.
• How do new communication technologies and patterns affect community participation, cohesion and identity, when compared to “old” ICTs such us radio and print
Inclusion vs. Exclusion
• What do we mean when we talk about community-based introduction of ICT?
• Is there any concrete gain in the level of inclusion and participation facilitated by the introduction of ICT?
• Are ICT agents of social change at community level, or do they mostly reflect (or reinforce) previous power distribution and information/knowledge divide within a
Communication patterns across networked communities
• Does the introduction of ICTs in rural communities contribute to creating new horizontal flows of information and knowledge sharing between communities?
• Does this translate into new patterns of communication and collaboration challenging the urban-rural dualism?
What solutions for which communities?
• Beyond the generalisations of ICT4D and community lie questions about the appropriate communication and technological solutions in support of community
development. Does community development require a specific set of ICT tools and solutions?
• Is the rush for mobile applications inspired by specific community needs or rather by the ambitions of ‘techie’ developers?
Exploitation vs. Independence
• The provision of ICT services to marginalised communities is a contested territory. While mobile operators are progressively extending their coverage into rural
areas, most rural communities are still not connected to voice and data communication services. Different approaches and business models are currently debated,
from micro-credit for village phones to local franchising of mobile operators, to community-owned co-operatives for the provision of non-profit ICT services. One of the
most interesting aspects of this debate is the issue of creation of community economic growth through the provision of local and data services within a rural area. Do
low-cost ICT solutions offer a chance for a bottom-up independent telecommunication development, or do they facilitate a new level of dependence on corporate, top-
down business strategi
And participants in Kambu and Kiangwachi
Colleagues at University of Nairobi, Thames
Valley University, Imperial College, Bradford &
Others who have and are participating at the OU,
Infonet Biovision, John Traxler, etc…