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[afro-nets] RFI: Examples of Youth Trained ... via ICTs (2)

  • From: Peter Burgess <Profitinafrica@aol.com>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 10:46:30 EST

RFI: Examples of Youth Trained ... via ICTs (2)

Dear Janet

Sadly, I don't think there are many sustainable initiatives as-
sociated with the field of ICT for relief and development.

When the international relief and development fund flow stops...
so does the project. In many cases, then the 'value' that was
intended also evaporates.

I have observed many computer training projects that were initi-
ated in various parts of Africa over the years... and the asso-
ciated staff were frequently bemoaning the fact that they could
not keep going unless there was external funding... and while
people 'wanted' the project/program, there was not the local
funding in the economy to make it economically viable.

What is the solution? In my view there has got to be a focus on
doing some of the things in the local economy that are a real
economic and social priority for the local community... and then
use local savings to fund further local choices. IF the choices
are to fund ICT initiatives, that would be good, but if not...
it is better that the choices are local.

I realise what I am saying is not popular among the experts in
the 'north' who seem to think that ICT ought to have a top pri-
ority... and the 'south' elite as well. However, nothing that I
have seen at the community level in the 'south' convinces me
that ICT as presently configured does much of durable value
WITHOUT a lot of parallel effort in getting the basics improved,
and especially the productive basics of agriculture, building
and construction, jobs making things, and so on.

The Tr-Ac-Net database will eventually have enough information
about costs and results to support and clarify the simplified
conclusions above. Because information and costs and results
have been kept very 'private' over the years, the discussion
about priorities and performance tends to be a lot of opinion
and not much of analysis. In my view transparency about how much
things cost and what benefits are realised... project by pro-
ject... month by month... community by community... organization
by organization... will very quickly change our global under-
standing about what works and what does not. Clearly the aggre-
gate results are unsatisfactory... but within the aggregate
there are wonderful things that should be funded, and also stuff
that should be stopped as fast as possible because it is simply
a waste.

Hopefully, more on this as time goes on.


Peter Burgess
Tr-Ac-Net in New York
Tel.: +1-212-772-6918
The Transparency and Accountability Network