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Shifting Focus from Access to Impact: Can Computers Alleviate Poverty?

Shifting Focus from Access to Impact: Can Computers Alleviate Poverty?
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Author(s): Mona Dahms (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 28
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch024

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Abstract

This chapter contains two main messages: first, the concept of the ‘digital divide’ should be seen as part of the problem rather than as part of the solution. Therefore, the sooner this concept-and with it the binary categories and the ‘one size fits all’ simplified model of ‘development’-is discarded the better. Second, the main recommendation for strategies to be adopted in ICT4D projects is that focus should be on the information and communication needs of poor people rather than on technologies; beneficiaries should be actively involved in identification of their needs, in decision making about ways and means to satisfy the identified needs, about purchase of equipment and inputs and about implementation of solutions. Only by actively pursuing participatory design and participatory ‘development’ can the goal of achieving a free, fair and equal ‘information society,’ benefitting poor and rich people alike, be reached.

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