John S.C. Afele
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-039-4.ch009
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The Information Age is relevant to the prosperity and security of developing nations and their indigenous, local, or rural communities. The relevance of telecommunications to these communities includes the ability to use information tools to create interacting spaces for knowledge sources to converge with the user-community and generate solutions for the challenges in their livelihood attainments. The establishment of such area networks in communities whose communication methods are predominantly oral, and which have poor telecommunications infrastructure, demands imagination among planners, businesses, and impact communities to translate the telecommunications and digital exclusion into digital opportunities. The digital opportunities could be deduced from the information and knowledge needs of these economies, such as the need for better access to telecommunication infrastructure, tools, knowledge networks and communities of practice, expertise, and opportunities to build on local knowledge. Communications-centred knowledge for development programming, as a matter of necessity and to serve as effective knowledge gateways, should function as information and knowledge brokerages related to the collection, processing, packaging, and marketing of relevant content in knowledge for development, and not as a conglomeration of gadgets alone. Connectivity should enable people to learn, solve problems, produce more efficiently, preserve natural systems, and foster peace among communities and nations. Ideally, connectivity could be a viewing point of knowledge systems into other knowledge systems, including individuals and institutions; indigenous or local institutions, such as indigenous governance structures, rural occupational groups, and local communities, and formal institutions such as schools, clinics, agriculture, health, and social development, would be able to interact among each other at the local (horizontal) and global (vertical) levels. Similarly, students, teachers, researchers, and staff of agencies that are concerned about global development but are located in spheres outside the primary impact communities, when guided information channels exist, would be able to dial into a community multimedia system to observe and learn about the activities of their development ‘partners’ from their offices far removed in reality. This way, they would be able to generate more meaningful models in their intervention programs.

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