ICTs, Empowerment, and Development: Articulating Grassroots Analysis Through Participatory Approaches

ICTs, Empowerment, and Development: Articulating Grassroots Analysis Through Participatory Approaches

Hannah Beardon (ActionAid, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch179
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Abstract

The digital divide has its roots in the political and power dynamics that underlie all inequality. It follows, therefore, that the response from the development sector should be rooted in learning from the long experience of tackling inequality and unequal power relations in many other fields. This chapter draws on the example of the Reflect ICTs Project to show how participatory theories, tools, and processes can be applied to ensure that ICT initiatives fundamentally address power and empowerment issues rather than ignoring or, worse, exacerbating them. The project methodology is described and some findings shown, in an attempt to show how attention to the human communication dimension of ICTs can make applied technology more sustainable and appropriate for poor communities in their struggle to access their rights.

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