Top Banner
© SOAS | 3740 Centre for Development, Environment and Policy P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Prepared by Jon Gregson with Jacqueline Ashby and Nigel Poole
73

P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Jun 24, 2020

Download

Documents

dariahiddleston
Welcome message from author
This document is posted to help you gain knowledge. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about it! Share it to your friends and learn new things together.
Transcript
Page 1: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

© SOAS | 3740

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy

P107

Managing Knowledge and Communication for

Development

Prepared by Jon Gregson with Jacqueline Ashby and Nigel Poole

Page 2: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 2

ABOUT THIS MODULE

The idea that knowledge and communication are powerful drivers of positive social

change that can be harnessed for improving equality and for reducing poverty is

highly influential in shaping current development strategy. This module is designed

to examine this idea critically by analysing how the development community has

used knowledge and communication concepts to meet development goals, and to

explore good practice in managing interventions that support this aim.

The growing penetration of the internet to remote areas of the world and the rapid

uptake of mobile phone use by even the very poor are hailed by optimists as a

revolution equal in its development potential to the 19th century industrial revolution

in Europe. More sceptical analysts of this phenomenon point to the widening gap

between the social groups who know how to use the new information and

communication technologies (ICTs) and others who are excluded and thus are

increasingly left behind. The approach of the module is to show, first, how this

debate is grounded in fundamentally different concepts of the role of knowledge and

communication in development, and about the nature of knowledge and how it is

created, shared and communicated. An understanding of this conceptual background

provides a foundation for a critical appreciation of the pros and cons of the

information revolution and its implications for growth, inequality and poverty.

What will become increasingly clear as you work your way through this module, is

that technology-driven approaches to the use of knowledge and communication for

development – that is, approaches that are inspired primarily by a desire to increase

and improve the supply of ICTs – run into numerous problems and, more often than

not, fail to meet their development objectives. Moreover, it will become evident from

experience that the problems are not primarily technical ones related to cables and

wires. Most often, they are the result of the institutional context and the social,

economic and political relationships into which ICT-based interventions are

introduced. Nonetheless, we see important examples where ICT applications have

had a transformative impact, opening up new avenues of access to learning and new

opportunities for underprivileged people in poor countries.

One reason for this discrepant experience lies in the way development practitioners

interpret knowledge. One way of looking at knowledge is as a stand-alone

commodity that can be produced, packaged, stored and transmitted. Alternatively,

knowledge can be seen as the result of social exchange among different actors and

their unequal power relations that determine whose knowledge is defined as

legitimate, what is considered credible knowledge, who controls access to knowledge,

and what is the appropriate information and communication technology and policy

framework. Both perspectives on knowledge have been used to design and

implement development interventions with varying degrees of success and neither is

immune to shortcomings.

The first part of the module has a strong focus on introducing concepts and theories,

which provide important understanding for the rest of the module. As such, they tend

to draw on some quite dense and unavoidable language and terminology related to

approaches to development, power relations and social theory. This language is an

integral part of the literature on these topics, where terms such as ‘paradigm’,

‘discourse’, ‘social construction’ and ‘narrative’ are widely used.

Page 3: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 3

In essence the theory highlights two contrasting views:

(a) Knowledge is factual, rational and can be scientifically proven.

(b) There are many different types of knowledges, which all have their own validity

and which are constructed and shaped in the context of social relations.

As will be seen from the later parts of the module, in practice both approaches can

co-exist and be suitably used in different contexts. For example, in the field of

medical research, expert or scientific knowledge represents factual evidence that

experts in the field rely upon and use. In contrast, in a local natural resources

management project, a range of different ‘knowledges’ (ie local, indigenous,

scientific, etc) may be very relevant. The role and perspectives of local participants in

decision-making then become highly important.

A question that runs through this analysis is how the critical understanding of

conceptual approaches can help us understand better the strengths and weaknesses

of current development practice and so improve the design of knowledge and

communication-based development programming.

The final part of this module, draws on a range of practitioner insights, and focuses

on the challenges of designing, implementing and evaluating interventions that make

use of knowledge and ICTs. This involves understanding how to put theory into

practice and design coherent projects that are consistent with the intended

outcomes, and that make effective use of ICTs. The intention here is not to introduce

management theory, or to go into detail on topics such as monitoring and evaluation,

but to draw out important considerations for managers to be aware of in order to

successfully implement projects or other types of interventions which seek to use

knowledge and ICTs to contribute to poverty reduction and positive social change.

A key goal of this module is to inform you about the theory, while also challenging

you to come to your own conclusions about the most suitable way to define

knowledge and design the role of ICTs in the real world practical context of a

particular development intervention.

Page 4: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 4

STRUCTURE OF THE MODULE

This module is divided into three parts.

Part I: Context and essential concepts

In Part I, the role of knowledge and communication for development and, in

particular, the use of ICTs as an enabler for achieving development goals is

discussed in relation to inequality of access to and knowledge of how to use ICTs,

known as the ‘digital divide.’ We look back at the contribution ICTs made to the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and forward to the ways ICTs and knowledge

are being considered in the post-2015 development agenda, with the focus now

being on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Unit 1 we explore different worldviews and explanations of how development is

used to formulate strategies for tackling a deepening social divide – between those

who obtain knowledge and skills valued in the global world economy and those who

are disadvantaged in this respect. Unit 2 focuses on explaining knowledge as socially

constructed, on what this means for interpreting the dichotomy between ‘local’ and

outsider or expert knowledge in development interventions, and its implications for

participatory approaches to knowledge sharing and creation.

Based on this discussion of the nature of knowledge as socially constructed, we are

then in a position to look at the nature of power and the power relations that play a

fundamental role in the social construction of reality and knowledge. The different

ways in which concepts of power have been integrated into mainstream development

discourse in ‘buzzwords’ like participation and empowerment are analysed. This leads

us to the discussion of reasons why a neglect of power relations can lead to

unintended outcomes for development interventions, and points towards the need for

the poor to participate in decision-making and in defining the role of ICT applications

in development interventions.

Part II: Knowledge and communication technologies and approaches for

development

Part II of the module moves us on from the focus on theory and concepts, building

on our understanding of these and our awareness of some high level factors related

to the context for development.

We start by considering how knowledge is negotiated and constructed through

communication processes that involve inequalities of power. This provides a

background for an examination of development communication, the term widely used

to describe the communication and media activities institutionalised in international

development organisations since the 1950s. Here, we analyse how different

worldviews and institutional settings affect the use of communication and ICTs for

development programming. When looking at the ways ICTs have been applied to or

harnessed by international development, the emphasis is on understanding that the

technologies alone do not produce development impacts.

We then look at how ICTs are being used to support knowledge management, and

examine some important trends related to access and use of ICTs. This leads on to

looking at the future of ICT for development (ICT4D) in the era of the SDGs. In the

Page 5: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 5

context of development challenges, we consider both the role and nature of

innovation, and the role of ‘knowledge workers’.

Our focus then moves on to the important ways in which ICTs are shaping a

networked society and we explore some of the key attributes of such a society. We

introduce the concept of ‘open development’ which reflects a growing emphasis on

an openness agenda where knowledge can be more freely shared. However,

openness does not automatically lead to greater equity, and the strengths and

weaknesses of open models need to be understood.

The final unit of this part focuses on the role of research evidence and how this is

increasingly required in policy-influencing processes and in gaining support for

projects and programmes that make use of new technologies. The rational model of

policy-making that places a high importance on the use of evidence is contrasted

with the negotiated policy-making model that places a higher importance on power

relations for giving credibility to knowledge from multiple sources. The discussion of

information and communication including the use of ICTs for policy purposes

illustrates important principles and good practice for using knowledge and

communications to exert policy influence.

Part III: The challenges of managing knowledge and communication for

development interventions

This final part provides a strong focus on management of knowledge and

communication for development initiatives that draws on the theory introduced in

earlier units. Examples are used to illustrate and examine the practical challenges of

putting theory and evidence into action and of making effective use of ICTs.

In this part of the module we also aim to learn about practice directly from

practitioners, so there is a focus on learning and gaining insights from multimedia

interviews and videos. We also develop an activity that runs through these final units

that is designed to develop a project proposal that reflects good practice and critical

considerations in making use of knowledge and ICTs.

We start by focusing on outcomes and considering what success would like in an

intervention that seeks to make effective use of knowledge and ICTs. This leads to

the introduction of a range of frameworks for evaluating such interventions.

We move on to explore some of the design challenges, focusing in particular on

designing projects that benefit the poor, and address issues of inclusion and equity.

Finally, we consider some of the implementation challenges, in particular by

considering the value of partnerships and collaboration in an increasingly networked

world, and discuss the possible business models that could be considered if such

projects are to result in sustainable outcomes.

Page 6: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 6

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

Module Aims

The specific aims of the module are:

To explain and contrast different conceptual approaches to the use of

knowledge, information and communication for development and the debates

around these.

To analyse how different conceptual approaches to the use of knowledge,

information and communication have been applied in development strategy

and practice.

To evaluate the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs)

and, in particular, their usefulness for tackling development goals of reducing

social inequality and poverty.

To appraise the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge-based development

interventions involving ICT applications, based on a critical understanding of

the conceptual approaches that underpin them.

To show how this understanding can be applied to strengthen development

practice and the design of knowledge-based interventions that rely on ICTs.

Module Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

explain and contrast different conceptual approaches to the use of knowledge,

information and communication for development and the debates around these

analyse how different conceptual approaches to the use of knowledge,

information and communication have been applied in development strategy

and practice

discuss and evaluate the use of information and communication technologies

(ICTs) within a development programme, in the context of a networked society

where open development approaches are becoming more widely used

appraise the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge-based development

interventions involving ICT applications and open development approaches

explore the application of the theoretical frameworks, concepts, tools and

approaches and their role in strengthening development practice

identify and discuss the management challenges of designing, implementing

and measuring the success of knowledge and/or communication-based

interventions that make significant use of ICTs.

Page 7: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 7

ASSESSMENT

This module is assessed by:

an examined assignment (EA) worth 40%

a written examination worth 60%.

Since the EA is an element of the formal examination process, please note the

following:

(a) The EA questions and submission date will be available from the Virtual

Learning Environment (VLE).

(b) The EA is submitted by uploading it to the VLE.

(c) The EA is marked by the module tutor and students will receive a percentage

mark and feedback.

(d) Answers submitted must be entirely the student’s own work and not a product

of collaboration.

(e) Plagiarism is a breach of regulations. To ensure compliance with the specific

University of London regulations, all students are advised to read the

guidelines on referencing the work of other people. For more detailed

information, see the FAQ the VLE.

Page 8: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 8

STUDY MATERIALS

Textbook

This module covers a broad range of topics, and as such there are no individual

textbooks which provide the range of content covered in the module. Therefore, use

is made of a wide range of materials.

The following two books, however, are supplied with the module, which provide

useful material that, in places (as indicated in the Key Reading listings), supports the

module and which provide valuable further reading.

Smith, M. & Reilly, K. (2013) Open Development. Ottawa, IDRC.

This book contains a series of articles that introduce and illustrate the concept of

open development, which has emerged as a potential alternative paradigm

relevant to a networked society where knowledge could be more openly

constructed and shared. The articles highlight both benefits and challenges of

open models, which draw on open licensed content, but which also seek to be

more inclusive and equitable in terms of their development objectives.

Lennie, J. & Tacchi, J. (2013) Evaluating Communication for Development: A

Framework for Social Change. London, UK, Routledge.

This book takes a social constructivist approach to formulate and provide

examples of an evaluation framework that is outcome-focussed and suited to

communication for development projects. It links participatory and action

research methodologies with a focus on ethnography and a strong emphasis on

understanding the context. It provides a contrasting approach to the more causal

logframe models and is well suited to inform the design of knowledge and

communication for development projects, while also reflecting a number of

theoretical considerations related to knowledge and power discussed in the

module.

In addition, a range of relevant IDRC-related books are identified below which are

freely available for download. These are for your interest and are not examinable.

Elder, L., Emdon, H., Fuchs, R. & Petrazzini, B. (2013) Connecting ICTs to

Development: The IDRC Experience. Ottawa, Canada.

Available from: http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Collections/

ICT4D/Pages/default.aspx

Elder, L., Samarajiva, R., Gillwald, A. & Galperin, H. (2013) Information Lives

of the Poor: Fighting Poverty with Technology. Ottawa, Canada.

Available from: http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/IDRC

BookDetails.aspx?PublicationID=1275

Proenza, F. (Ed.) (2015) Public Access ICT Across Cultures: Diversifying

Participation in the Network Society. London, MIT Press and Ottawa, Canada,

IDRC.

Available from: http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/‌Pages/IDRC

BookDetails.aspx?PublicationID=1396

Page 9: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 9

Adera, E.O., Waema, T., May, J., Mascarenhas, O. & Diga, K. (Eds.) (2014) ICT

Pathways to Poverty Reduction: Empirical evidence from East and Southern

Africa. Rugby, UK, Practical Action Publishing.

Available from: http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/IDRC

BookDetails.aspx?PublicationID=1276

For each of the module units, the following are provided.

Key Readings

These are drawn mainly from the textbooks, relevant academic journals and

internationally respected reports. They are provided to add breadth and depth to the

unit materials and are required reading as they contain material on which you may

be examined. Readings are supplied as digital copies and ebooks via the SOAS Online

Library. For information on how to access the Library, please see the VLE.

Further Readings

These texts are not always provided, but weblinks have been included where

possible. Further Study Materials are NOT examinable; they are included to enable

you to pursue your own areas of interest.

Multimedia

Students are encouraged to look at these and use the VLE to discuss their

implications with other students and the tutor.

References

Each unit contains a full list of all material cited in the text. All references cited in the

unit text are listed in the relevant units. However, this is primarily a matter of good

academic practice: to show where points made in the text can be substantiated.

Students are not expected to consult these references as part of their study of this

module.

Self-Assessment Questions

Often, you will find a set of Self-Assessment Questions at the end of each section

within a unit. It is important that you work through all of these. Their purpose is

threefold:

to check your understanding of basic concepts and ideas

to verify your ability to execute technical procedures in practice

to develop your skills in interpreting the results of empirical analysis.

Also, you will find additional Unit Self-Assessment Questions at the end of each

unit, which aim to help you assess your broader understanding of the unit material.

Answers to the Self-Assessment Questions are provided in the Answer Booklet.

Page 10: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 10

In-text Questions

This icon invites you to answer a question for which an answer is

provided. Try not to look at the answer immediately; first write down

what you think is a reasonable answer to the question before reading

on. This is equivalent to lecturers asking a question of their class and

using the answers as a springboard for further explanation.

In-text Activities

This symbol invites you to halt and consider an issue or engage in a

practical activity.

Key Terms and Concepts

At the end of each unit you are provided with a list of Key Terms and Concepts which

have been introduced in the unit. The first time these appear in the study guide they

are Bold Italicised. Some key terms are very likely to be used in examination

questions, and an explanation of the meaning of relevant key terms will nearly

always gain you credit in your answers.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

As you progress through the module you may need to check unfamiliar acronyms

that are used. A full list of these is provided for you at the end of the introduction.

Page 11: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 11

TUTORIAL SUPPORT

There are two opportunities for receiving support from tutors during your study.

These opportunities involve:

(a) participating in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

(b) completing the examined assignment (EA).

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

The Virtual Learning Environment provides an opportunity for you to interact with

both other students and tutors. A discussion forum is provided through which you

can post questions regarding any study topic that you have difficulty with, or for

which you require further clarification. You can also discuss more general issues on

the News forum within the CeDEP Programme Area.

Page 12: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 12

INDICATIVE STUDY CALENDAR

Unit Unit title Study time (hours)

PART I CONTEXT AND ESSENTIAL CONCEPTS

Unit 1 Introduction to Knowledge, Communication and

Development 15

Unit 2 Creation, Identification and Codification of Knowledge 10

Unit 3 Concepts and Theories: Critical Analysis of Knowledge,

Power and Society 15

PART II KNOWLEDGE AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AND

APPROACHES FOR DEVELOPMENT

Unit 4 Development Communication 15

Unit 5 Communication and Knowledge Sharing for Development:

Technologies and Trends 15

Unit 6 Open Development and the Networked Society 15

Unit 7 Knowledge and Communications for Influencing Policy in

Development and Poverty Reduction 10

PART III THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGING KNOWLEDGE AND

COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONS

Unit 8 Measuring Knowledge and Communication for

Development Interventions 15

Unit 9 Designing Knowledge and Communication for Development

Interventions 15

Unit 10 Implementing Knowledge and Communication for

Development Interventions 10

Examined Assignment

Check the VLE for submission deadline

15

Examination entry July

Revision and examination preparation Jul–Sep

End-of-module examination Late Sep–

early Oct

Page 13: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 13

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

3ie International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

AfDB African Development Bank

AGW adolescent girls and women

AICC African Institute for Corporate Citizenship

AJFM Adaptive Joint Forest Management

AKIS agricultural knowledge and information systems

ALIN Arid Lands Information Network

API Application Programming Interface

ASREN Arab States Research and Education Network

BMGF Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

BOI benefit of investment

BOP bottom of the income pyramid

C3P citizen–public–private partnership

CABI Centre for Biosciences and Agriculture International

CBD Convention on Biological Diversity

CBO community based organisations

CC Creative Commons

CGAP Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest

CIARD Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development

CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research

CKW community knowledge workers

CLTS Community Led Total Sanitation

CSIR Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (South Africa)

CSO civil society organisation

CTO Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

DFID Department for International Development

DOT digital opportunities task

DSS demographic surveillance system

DTV digital television

EAR ethnographic action research

ECD evaluation capacity development

FAC Future Agricultures Consortium

GDP gross domestic product

Page 14: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 14

GHC Global Health Council

GIM Girl Impact Map

GIS Geographic Information Systems

GNI gross national income

GODAN Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition

GPS Global Positioning System

GSMA Groupe Speciale Mobile Association

HANCI Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index

IADB Inter-American Development Bank

ICT information and communication technologies

ICT4D information and communication technologies for development

ICT4RED information and communication technologies for rural educational

development

IDG International development goals

IDI ICT Development Index

IDPM Institute for Development Policy and Management

IDRC International Development Research Centre

IDS Institute of Development Studies

IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development

IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute

IGF Internet Governance Forum

IID Institute of Informatics and Development

ILRI International Livestock Research Institute

IMCI Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses

IMF International Monetary Fund

INEC Independent National Electoral Commision (Nigeria)

INGO international non-governmental organisations

INSEAD Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires

IoE Internet of Everything

IP internet protocol

IPR intellectual property rights

ISI Institute for Scientific Information

ISP internet service providers

IT information technology

Page 15: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 15

ITOCA Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa

ITU International Telecommunication Union

IXP Internet Exchange Points

JISC Joint Information Steering Committee

KC4D knowledge and communication for development

KIPPRA Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis

KRIBP Kribhco Indo-British Farming Project

LAC Latin America and the Caribbean

LANSA Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia

LCC least connected countries

LDC least developed countries

LLCD landlocked developing country

LSE London School of Economics

M&E monitoring and evaluation

MAMA Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action

MDG Millennium Development Goals

MIMU Myanmar Information Management Unit

MoAFS Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security

MOOC massive open online course

MWC Mobile World Congress

NGO non-government organisation

NREN National Research and Education Networks

NRI network readiness index

ODbL open database licence

ODDC open data in developing countries

odi Open Data Institute

ODI Overseas Development Institute

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OER open educational resources

OLPC One Laptop per Child

OSM open street map

PAR participatory action research

PCE per capita expenditure

PHFI Public Health Foundation in India

Page 16: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Module Introduction

© SOAS CeDEP 16

PICTURE Africa

Poverty Information Communication Technology in Urban and Rural

Eastern Africa

PLA participatory learning and action

POSHAN Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for

Nutrition in India

PPP public–private partnership

PRA participatory rapid appraisal

SDGs Sustainable Development Goals

TECH4RED technology for rural development

TESSA Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa

Page 17: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Unit One: Introduction to Knowledge,

Communication and Development

Unit Information 2

Unit Overview 2 Unit Aims 2

Unit Learning Outcomes 3 Unit Interdependencies 3

Key Readings 4

Further Readings 5

References 7

Multimedia 13

1.0 The contribution of knowledge and communication to the agenda for

development goals and social change 14

Section Overview 14 Section Learning Outcomes 14

1.1 The digital age and knowledge sharing: looking to the future 14 1.2 Framing the role of knowledge in global development goals 17

Section 1 Self-Assessment Questions 30

2.0 Poverty and social equality: understanding the changing context for

knowledge and communication for development 31

Section Overview 31 Section Learning Outcomes 31

2.1 Identifying and addressing inequalities in the digital age 31 2.2 Globalisation, poverty reduction, knowledge and communication 37

Section 2 Self-Assessment Questions 41

3.0 Development strategies 42

Section Overview 42 Section Learning Outcomes 42

3.1 Communication and knowledge for development 42 Section 3 Self-Assessment Questions 53

Unit Summary 54

Unit Self-Assessment Questions 55

Key Terms and Concepts 56

Page 18: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 2

UNIT INFORMATION

Unit Overview

In this unit we will be looking at the main trends underlying the emergence of

knowledge, information and communication approaches as key aspects of

development strategies to address poverty reduction and contribute to the

achievement of development goals.

We are going to look at what development means in the context of globalisation

driven by a transformation of communication comparable in its significance to the

industrial revolution.

We will look at the issue of how access to information and communication

technologies (ICTs) relate to social inequality and exclusion and, in particular, the

debate about whether globalisation and the spread of ICTs tend to aggravate

inequalities and exclusion. This debate highlights the political nature of knowledge

and technology and how their benefits depend on assumptions derived from different

development paradigms or worldviews.

Different development paradigms are discussed to provide a context for divergent

approaches to the management of knowledge and communication for development.

This discussion provides the foundation for the rest of the module, where we will

explore in greater depth how the development community approaches knowledge

management and communication technologies to exploit their possibilities for

supporting positive social change and poverty reduction.

Unit Aims

To reflect on the potential contribution to „development‟, of knowledge and

communications and ICTs. We will look back at how ICTs and knowledge were

viewed within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and then look

forward to explore the ways in which new post-2015 Sustainable Development

Goals (SDGs) might frame, and be shaped by, the role of knowledge and

communications.

To introduce different perspectives on how knowledge, information and

communication technologies (ICTs) can impact social inequality, exclusion and

poverty reduction.

To show how different development strategies that give a key role to

knowledge and communications affect their approaches for the use of ICTs.

Page 19: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 3

Unit Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

understand how ICTs and knowledge are framed in international development

goals

understand what is meant by „digital divide‟ and be aware both of some of the

positive and negative aspects of use of ICTs

assess the role of knowledge and communication in development strategies,

and have gained insights into how this affects the way ICTs are used.

Unit Interdependencies

This unit is the first of three that lay out the theoretical underpinnings of alternative

approaches to mobilising knowledge for development. The way these are divided is

that, first, in this unit we will look at the contrasting paradigms of development. Then

in Unit 2 we will look at some of the different interpretations of knowledge within the

context of these development paradigms, and in Unit 3 we will examine how

knowledge is structured by power relationships.

You will also find that this unit provides some foundational understanding linking

globalisation and the networked society, which is discussed in greater detail in Unit

6, and is relevant when we think about the design, implementation and evaluation of

knowledge mobilisation projects in Units 8–10.

Page 20: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 4

KEY READINGS

Section 1

Bimbe, N., Brownlee, J., Gregson, J. & Playforth, R. (2015) Knowledge Sharing

and Development in a Digital Age. Brighton, UK, Institute of Development Studies

(IDS), Policy Briefing Issue 87.

This policy brief looks to the future and provides policy recommendations based on

opportunities for knowledge and development that make effective use of digital technologies

within the context of a preferred scenario for equitable and inclusive development.

Clarke, S., Wylie, G. & Zomer, H. (2013) ICT 4 the MDGs? A perspective on ICTs‟

role in addressing urban poverty in the context of the Millennium Development

Goals. Information Technologies and International Development Journal, 9 (4),

55–70.

This reading looks back at the period of the MDGs and assesses the contribution made by ICTs to

the achievement of the MDGs, taking each MDG in turn, and looking at both the strengths and

limitations of the contribution made by ICTs.

Waage, J., Yap, C., Bell, S., Levy, C., Mace, G., Pegram, T., Unterhalter, E.,

Dasandi, N., Hudson, D., Kock, R., Mayhew, S., Marx, C. & Poole, N. (2015)

Governing the UN Sustainable Development Goals: interactions, infrastructures,

and institutions. The Lancet Global Health, 3 (5), e251–252.

This brief reading sets out a framework for the 17 goals, organised into three rings — with well-

being related goals at the centre, infrastructure relevant goals in the next ring and those

related to natural environment on the outer ring. The reading highlights a potential problem

related to governance.

Section 2

Adera, E., Waema, T., May, J., Mascarenhas, O. & Diga, K. (Eds.) (2014) ICT

Pathways to Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidence from East and Southern

Africa. Rugby, UK, Practical Action Publishing. pp. 2–18.

This reading introduces the concept of digital poverty, and examines how ICTs contribute

positively or negatively to poverty reduction in the context of globalisation.

Page 21: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 5

FURTHER READINGS

Cardoso, F.H. & Faletto, E. (1979) Dependency and Development in Latin America.

Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.

Elder, L., Emdon, H., Fuchs, R. & Petrazzini, B. (Eds.) (2013) Connecting ICTs to

Development: The IDRC Experience. London, Anthem Press. pp. 27–40; 51–53.

This reading reviews the experiences over the years of what IDRC refers to as the ‘first order

digital divide’, which relates to connectivity to ICTs. The idea driving IDRC’s work in this area

was to ‘demonstrate how social and technical innovations could be adopted and adapted in the

developing world, so as to catalyse access and therefore bring about socioeconomic dividends

for disadvantaged populations’.

Matthee, K.W., Mweemba, G., Pais, A.V., van Stam, G. & Rijken, M. (2007) Bringing

Internet Connectivity to Rural Zambia using a Collaborative Approach. Information

and Communication Technologies and Development, International Conference on

ICTD. pp. 1–12.

Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=4937391

and

http://researchspace.csir.co.za/dspace/bitstream/10204/2858/1/Matthee_2007.pdf

This reading provides an explanation of LinkNet illustrating an example of the ICT4D strategy

highlighting some of its limitations and potential.

Milanovic, B. (2003) The two faces of globalisation: against globalisation as we know

it. World Development, 31 (4), 667–683.

This reading provides a critique of the mainstream view of globalisation as benign and explains

the historical macro-economic trends that should be considered in an analysis of globalisation.

It should be read in conjunction with the discussion in Section 1.

SDSN. (2015) Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable

Development Goals: Launching a Data Revolution. Leadership Council of the

Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sustainable Development Solutions

Network (SDSN).

Available from: http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/FINAL-SDSN-

Indicator-Report-WEB.pdf

UN General Assembly (2014) The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty,

Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet. Synthesis report of the Secretary-

General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/700&Lang=E

Page 22: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 6

UN. (2008) Fact Sheet. Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development. High-

level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, 25 September 2008, United

Nations Headquarters, New York.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2008highlevel/pdf/newsroom/Goal%208%20FIN

AL.pdf

This is a straightforward fact sheet on MDG 8 that you should read to appreciate the way in

which communications technologies were presented last decade as part of a comprehensive

bundle of technologies that should be transferred to developing countries to help meet the

MDGs as a whole.

UN. (2014) Proposal for the Sustainable Development Goals. Open Working Group of

the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals.

Available from:

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1579SDGs%20Proposal.p

df

Unwin, T. (2009) Development agendas and the place of ICTs. In: ICT4D. Cambridge,

Cambridge University Press. pp. 7–25.

This reading covers the main trends in development thinking about globalisation, the digital

divide and the knowledge or network society. It should be read to deepen your understanding of

these issues. It also provides material on ICT4D perspectives discussed in Section 3.

Page 23: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 7

REFERENCES

Adera, E., Waema, T., May, J., Mascarenhas, O. & Diga, K. (Eds.) (2014) ICT

Pathways to Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidence from East and Southern Africa.

Rugby, UK, Practical Action Publishing. pp. 2–18.

Annan, K. (2000) We the Peoples: the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.

New York, United Nations (UN).

Available from: http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/wethepeople.pdf

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Ban Ki-Moon (4 December 2014) Speech Launching the Road to Dignity Synthesis

Report. [Video]. Duration 13:10 minutes.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49509#.VQa6BY6sWSp

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

Beyond 2015 (2014) Recommendations and Key Findings for the Post-2015 Global

Development Framework. Brighton, UK, Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

Available from:

https://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/Participate_A4_KeyFindings_FINAL_NoMarks-1.pdf

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

Bilbao-Osorio, B., Dutta, S. & Lanvin, B. (Eds.) (2014) The Global Information

Technology Report 2014. Rewards and Risks of Big Data. Geneva, World Economic

Forum (WEF).

Available from:

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalInformationTechnology_Report_2014.pdf

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Bimbe, N., Brownlee, J., Gregson, J. & Playforth, R. (2015) Knowledge Sharing and

Development in a Digital Age. Brighton, UK, Institute of Development Studies (IDS),

Policy Briefing Issue 87.

Bryonjolfsson, E. & McAfee, A. (2014) The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and

Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. New York & London, Norton.

Chambers, R. (2015) Reflections on SDGs. [Video]. Interview with Jon Gregson.

Duration 3:40 minutes.

Chang, H. (2002) Kicking Away the Ladder – Development Strategy in Historical

Perspective. London, Anthem Press.

Clarke, S., Wylie, G. & Zomer, H. (2013) ICT 4 the MDGs? A perspective on ICTs‟ role

in addressing urban poverty in the context of the Millennium Development Goals.

Information Technologies and International Development Journal, 9 (4), 55–70.

Page 24: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 8

Conway, G. & Waage, J. (2010) Science and Innovation for Development . UK

Collaboration for Development Sciences.

Dawoud, S. (2014) Discussing the Process of Agreeing on SDGs and the Post -2015

Development Agenda with Reference to the Common African Position. [Video].

Interview with Jon Gregson Duration 11:34 minutes.

DNet (2013) Infolady in Brief. [Video]. Duration 7:16 minutes.

This video file is available on your e-study guide.

Also available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhPZPwV_EZs

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Elder, L., Emdon, H., Fuchs, R. & Petrazzini, B. (Eds.) (2013) Connecting ICTs to

Development: The IDRC Experience. Anthem Press.

Esselaar, C., Stork, A., Ndiwalana, M. & Deen-Swarray, M. (2007) ICT usage and its

impact on profitability of SMEs in 13 African countries. Information Technologies &

International Development, 4 (1), 87–100.

FAO. (2005) Communication for Development Roundtable Report, Focus on

Sustainable Development. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United

Nations (FAO). 9th United Nations Roundtable on Communication for Development,

6–9 September 2004, Rome.

Available from:

http://portal.unesco.org/ci/fr/files/21352/11400006021Report_9th_UN_Round_Table

_on_Communication_for_Development_HR.pdf/Report_9th%2BUN%2BRound%2BTab

le%2Bon%2BCommunication%2Bfor%2BDevelopment_HR.pdf

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

GKPF. (n.d.) Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation. [Online].

Available from: http://www.gkpf.org/ [Accessed 22 September 2015]

Gregson, J., Brownlee, J., Playforth, R. & Bimbe, N. (2015) The Future of Knowledge

Sharing in a Digital Age: Exploring Impacts and Policy Implications for Development .

Brighton, UK, Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Evidence Report No 125.

Available from: http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/the-future-of-knowledge-sharing-in-

a-digital-age-exploring-impacts-and-policy-implications-for-development

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

Hammond, A., Kramer, W.J., Tran, J., Katz, R. & Walker, C. (2007) The Next 4

Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid. World

Resources Institute (WRI).

Available from: http://www.wri.org/publication/next-4-billion

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Page 25: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 9

Hanna, N.K. (2010) e-Transformation: Enabling New Development Strategies.

Innovation, Technology and Knowledge Management Series. New York, Springer.

Heeks, R. (2010) Do information and communication technologies (ICTs) contribute

to development? Journal of International Development, 22(5), 625–640.

IFLA. (2014) Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development .

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

Available from: http://www.lyondeclaration.org/ [Accessed 30 June 2015]

IMF/OECD/UN/World Bank (2000) A Better World For All: Progress Towards the

International Development Goals. Washington DC, International Monetary Fund

(IMF), Paris, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New

York, United Nations (UN) and Washington DC, The World Bank.

Available from:

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/jointpub/world/2000/eng/bwae.pdf

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Internet World Stats (2015) World Internet Users and Population Statistics. Usage

and Population Statistics, Internet World Stats.

Available from: http://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm [Accessed 30 June 2015]

ITU (2013) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). [Online]. International

Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations (UN).

Available from: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-

D/Statistics/Pages/intlcoop/mdg/default.aspx [Accessed 22 September 2015]

ITU. (2014) Measuring the Information Society Report 2014. International

Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations.

Available from:

http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/publications/mis2014.aspx

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

ITU. (2015) Millennium Development Goals. International Telecommunication Union

(ITU), United Nations.

Available from: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-

D/Statistics/Pages/intlcoop/mdg/default.aspx [Accessed 30 June 2015]

ITU. (n.d.) International Telecommunications Union. [Online].

Available from: http://www.itu.int/ [Accessed 1 July 2015]

Manning, R., Harland Scott, S. & Haddad, L. (Eds.) (2013) Special Issue. Whose goals

count? Lessons for setting the next development goals. IDS Bulletin, 44 (5–6).

Page 26: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 10

Milanovic, B. (2003) The two faces of globalisation: against globalisation as we know

it. World Development, 31 (4), 667–683.

Nissanke, M. & Thorbeke, E. (2006) Channels and policy debate in the globalization–

inequality–poverty nexus. World Development, 34 (8), 1338–1360.

Poole, N.D. & Penrose Buckley, C. (2006) Innovation Challenges, Constraints and

Opportunities for the Rural Poor. Rome, International Fund for Agricultural

Development (IFAD). Background Paper.

Available from: http://www.ifad.org/events/gc/29/panel/e/poole.pdf

[Accessed 1 July 2015]

Porritt, J. (2013) The World we Made: Alex McKay‟s Story from 2050. London,

Phaidon Press.

Prahalad, C.K. & Hart, S.L. (2002) The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Strategy

+ Business, 26, 54–67.

Available from: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~brewer/ict4b/Fortune-BoP.pdf

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

Rhydderch, A. (2009) Foresight: Scenario Planning Guidance Note. Government

Office for Science, UK.

Rwanda Development Board (2013) Developing Rwanda's ICT Sector. [Video].

CNBCAfrica. Duration 6:57 minutes.

Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR7uoEB8TAA

[Accessed 22 September 2015]

Sachs, J.D. (2012) From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development

Goals. Lancet, 379, 2206–2211.

Available from: http://jeffsachs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/From-MDGs-to-

SDGs-Lancet-June-2012.pdf [Accessed 30 June 2015]

SDSN. (2015) Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable

Development Goals: Launching a Data Revolution. Leadership Council of the

Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sustainable Development Solutions

Network (SDSN).

Available from: http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/FINAL-SDSN-

Indicator-Report-WEB.pdf [Accessed 30 June 2015]

TheWorldWeWant (2013) A Million Voices: The World We Want . [Online].

Available from: https://www.worldwewant2015.org/millionvoices

[Accessed 29 September 2015]

Page 27: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 11

UN General Assembly (2014) The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty,

Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet . Synthesis report of the Secretary-

General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/700&Lang=E

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

UN. (2013) Millennium Development Goals. We Can End Poverty 2015. United

Nations.

Available from: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ [Accessed 25 June 2013]

UN. (2014) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014. New York, United

Nations.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2014%20MDG%20report/MDG%202014%20Engl

ish%20web.pdf [Accessed 30 June 2015]

UN. (2015) Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015: We Can End Poverty,

Goal 8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development . New York, United Nations.

Available from: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/global.shtml

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

UN. (n.d.) Have Your Say. [Online]. My World, The UN Global Survey for a Better

World. United Nations.

Available from: http://vote.myworld2015.org/ [Accessed 30 June 2015]

UNECA. (2014) MDG 2014 report: Assessing Progress in Africa Toward the Millennium

Development Goals, Analysis of the Common African Position on the Post -2015

Development Agenda. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Available from: http://www.uneca.org/publications/assessing-progress-africa-toward-

millennium-development-goals [Accessed 30 June 2015]

Unwin, T. (Ed.) (2009) ICT4D. Information and Communication Technology for

Development. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

US Census Bureau (n.d.) United States Census Bureau. [Online].

Available from: http://www.census.gov/ [Accessed 1 July 2015]

Waage, J., Yap, C., Bell, S., Levy, C., Mace, G., Pegram, T., Unterhalter, E., Dasandi,

N., Hudson, D., Kock, R., Mayhew, S., Marx, C. & Poole, N. (2015) Governing the UN

Sustainable Development Goals: interactions, infrastructures, and institutions. The

Lancet Global Health, 3 (5), e251–252.

Available from:

http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/langlo/PIIS2214-109X%2815%2970112-

9.pdf [Accessed 22 September 2015]

Page 28: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 12

World Bank (1998) World Development Report 1998–1999: Knowledge for

Development Washington DC, The World Bank.

Corbett, S. (13 April 2008) Can the cellphone help end global poverty? The New York

Times Magazine.

Available from:

http://www.kiwanja.net/database/article/article_cellphones_poverty.pdf

[Accessed 30 June 2015]

Page 29: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 13

MULTIMEDIA

Ban Ki-Moon (4 December 2014) Speech Launching the Road to Dignity Synthesis

Report. [Video]. Duration 13:10 minutes.

Available from:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID = 49509#.VQa6BY6sWSp

In this video Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations discusses the post-2015

development agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (with reference to a recently published

report).

Chambers, R. (2015) Reflections on SDGs. [Video]. Interview with Jon Gregson.

Duration 3:40 minutes.

This video file is available on your e-study guide.

In this short video Robert Chambers shares some thoughts on the Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs).

Dawoud, S. (2014) Discussing the Process of Agreeing on SDGs and the Post -2015

Development Agenda with Reference to the Common African Position. [Video].

Interview with Jon Gregson Duration 11:34 minutes.

This video file is available on your e-study guide.

In this video interview recorded in Kenya, Sherif Dawoud gives us insights into the process for

engaging with the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and post-2015

development agenda.

DNet (2013) Infolady in Brief. [Video]. Duration 7:16 minutes.

This video file is available on your e-study guide.

This short video provides an introduction to the DNet’s ‘Infolady’ programme in Bangladesh,

illustrating how a young woman, with bicycle and a laptop computer, supports the information

needs of her local community.

Rwanda Development Board (2013) Developing Rwanda's ICT Sector. [Video].

CNBCAfrica. Duration 6:57 minutes.

Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR7uoEB8TAA

Page 30: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 14

1.0 THE CONTRIBUTION OF KNOWLEDGE AND

COMMUNICATION TO THE AGENDA FOR DEVELOPMENT

GOALS AND SOCIAL CHANGE

Section Overview

In our first section of this unit, we are going to look at the ways in which knowledge

and communications contribute to development goals. We are at an interesting stage

where we can look back at how information and communication technologies (ICTs)

and knowledge were viewed within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and

then look forward to explore the ways in which new Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs) frame the role of knowledge and communications. This section sets the scene

for thinking about the future, the role of ICTs and we will reflect broadly on the

nature of the society we are trying to „develop‟.

Section Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

formulate your own initial view of the types of positive and negative influences

digital technologies and knowledge can have on development

discuss and critique the assumptions about the role given to knowledge,

communication and ICTs when it comes to formulating development goals.

1.1 The digital age and knowledge sharing: looking to the

future

Development is about the future and about building a better world. For some this is

about economic growth, and for others it is about secure livelihoods with a clear

focus on issues of equity and building an inclusive and fairer society.

There is no doubt that in recent years, digital technologies which some refer to as

the new ICTs, are driving and enabling huge changes in the way in which we live our

lives and the ways in which we do business. ICTs can be used to support and

strengthen the powerful, and can also be used to empower the marginalised and

bring about positive social change. Even in parts of the world where there is still little

or no connectivity, the effects (both positive and negat ive) of use of ICTs are

increasingly felt.

Digital production, has some distinctive features, most notably the likelihood that

after the first item is produced, the costs of producing and distributing additional

items is marginal. This has resulted in those who are „first movers‟ having great

advantage, as the internet gives them global reach for their new products. Social

media applications such as Facebook are a great example of this and we see the

entrepreneurs behind such companies becoming billionaires, and among the most

globally influential people on the planet. The extremes of poverty and wealth have

perhaps never been so evident. It is ironic how technologies which potentially can

bridge wealth gaps actually create hugely exaggerated inequality.

Page 31: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 15

For the rich and powerful, there is increasing potential to access digital products and

services that enable them to have up–to-the minute data and knowledge with which

they can exercise control through both surveillance and analysis. In the right hands,

these tools can also be used to enhance development planning and evaluation, and

to reach and give voice to the poor.

For those involved in setting the development agenda for the future, the digital age

presents huge opportunities and challenges, so we will start this unit by looking at

one of the drivers behind this digital age:

The impact of Moore’s law

The essence of Moore‟s law is that with each passing year for the same amount of

money you can purchase double the amount of computing power. This law has

remained true for the last 50 years. The impact of this is explained by Bryonjolfsson

and McAfee (2014: pp. 39–56) who illustrate Moore‟s law with a story.

The story goes that the inventor of chess so impressed the emperor of his country,

that he was offered whatever reward he wanted. It was a time of famine, and the

inventor cleverly requested a quantity of rice. He stipulated that the way the amount

of rice was to be calculated was as follows. On the first square of the board one grain

of rice should be placed, and on the second two grains, on the third four grains, with

the number of grains of rice doubling on each subsequent chess board square.

Do this calculation yourself and figure out the quantities you reach when you get to

the 33rd square which is the first on the second half of the chess board (which has a

total of 64 squares). You will discover that as you reach the second half of the board

you are rapidly into millions and then billions of grains of rice.

Apply this to Moore‟s law and it is clear that, in terms of computing power (which is

based on digital technology), we are now well onto the second half of the chess

board and digital capacity in computing devices is increasing exponentially. This is a

major reason why we are seeing so many powerful applications for digital technology

emerging. More and more devices are designed using microchips, benefiting from the

effects of Moore‟s law, and, amazingly, we are entering the age where more

machines are connected to the internet than people! This machine intelligence and

connectivity is at the heart of what is being termed the „internet of things‟, as

machines use the internet (without significant human intervention) to control

powerful applications, eg car satnavs sending information to online traffic monitoring

and control systems.

As this example illustrates, connectivity is also bringing with it the potential for the

processing power of computers to be extended across networks. This is giving rise to

powerful methods of data management and analyt ics, with both commercial and

development organisations seeing the potential to gather „big data‟ that can be

analysed to provide better mass and personalised information. According to the

World Economic Forum (Bilbao-Osorio et al, 2014: p. xi) data are emerging as a new

asset class and „In a very real sense, data are now the equivalent of oil or gold.‟ We

can assume this means it has huge commercial potential for those who own the big

data sets. Companies such as Google and Facebook have emerged in recent years,

providing valuable end-user services and social networks, but their business models

derive their value from the data they gather. We now see such companies having

Page 32: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 16

huge global power, with turnover greater than the economic size, in terms of gross

domestic product (GDP), of many small countries.

What do these technical advances mean for development, and who will be the

winners and losers? We will explore these questions more in later sections and units.

First, let‟s start with an activity that encourages you to formulate your own thoughts

on the future:

List 20 significant drivers of change that you think will impact

development over the next 15 years.

Group these drivers of change under the following five headings:

– Social

– Technical

– Economic

– Environmental

– Political

Now, try to write down two brief narratives – the first should describe the world of 2030 in positive terms, highlighting which drivers of change

have led to this scenario and the ways in which technology and knowledge sharing have supported this outcome; the second, should

describe a very different world where outcomes are more negative.

This activity is designed to get you thinking about the future. It makes rather basic

use of foresight methodologies (Rhydderch, 2009), which are increasingly used by

government planners and commercial companies to explore future scenarios and

provide decision makers of today with policy and planning insights. The process is

not about trying to predict, but enables you to explore possible futures in order to

gain a fuller perspective and make better decisions today.

Porritt (2013) makes use of foresight methodologies to provide a narrative of the

world in 2050. In this world he sees education for all, driven largely by Mass Open

Online Courses (MOOCs) and self-organised learning. He envisages a bio-economy

where most of the raw materials used in industry coming from the biological world

rather than from dependence on fossil fuels. There is an „energy internet‟, that

provides a smart supergrid for electricity distribution. But he also foresees some less

desirable outcomes, with privacy, corporate issues and issues of national security

looming large:

„There have been many places where the ability to manage information

has crushed democracy creating, “controlled environments” that have

surpassed even the worst nightmares of George Orwell in his dystopian

novel, 1984.‟

Source: Porritt (2013) p. 31.

While there will be great benefits for human health, technology has also become

invasive, with augmentation and brain implants increasingly linking mind and

machine. The journey to this future 2050 scenario is also characterised by „internet

Page 33: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 17

wars‟ (p. 28) which he sees as likely to be „as important as the technologies

themselves in shaping our digital world‟.

„There had always been a noisy minority of people who were deeply

sceptical about the “everything, everywhere” revolution, believing that

the internet led to a narrowed view of the world, rather than a wider one,

by becoming an echo chamber for all their prejudices and playing on their

worst fears and instincts‟.

Source: Porritt (2013) p. 29.

While aspects of this scenario may seem like science fiction, it is evident that some

of what Porritt describes is already happening, and some of the future changes

technology will deliver are actually closer than we think. It is also clear that

technology, and how it is being used, is driving a huge global transformation. What

does this mean for knowledge and communication for development, and who wins

and who loses in this global development process? What should we be thinking about

in relation to knowledge and communication for development and the ways ICTs are

used as we think about goals for future development?

In our first Key Reading, Bimbe et al (2015) conducted a foresight study

on the Knowledge Sharing and Development in a Digital Age, and produced a policy brief that outlined a preferred future scenario for

knowledge sharing. The policy brief highlighted some the key recommendations for planners. Note down what these are, along with any that you think should be added.

1.2 Framing the role of knowledge in global development

goals

Throughout this module, the central hypothesis we will examine is that knowledge

and communication are powerful drivers of positive social change that can be

harnessed to make development strategies more effective in improving the life

chances of the poor and in the reduction of poverty and inequality.

Before we explore theoretical perspectives on the contribution of knowledge and

communication to development, we will reflect on the overall development context

and how in recent decades this has been significantly influenced by international

goals for development. Having reached the end of the period that focused on the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is important now to look forward to

focusing on the post-2015 development agenda, and we can use some of the insights

generated from our thinking about future scenarios and how they impact on the

poorest.

Before doing this, however, let us take a bit of time to look back and reflect on what

has been achieved, and draw out some lessons in relation to the ICTs and knowledge

and communications have played.

As we reflect both on the past and the future with reference to the MDGs and also to

the more globally inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is

Page 34: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 18

important to consider how development goals have been and are being framed,

again, with particular consideration given to the roles given to knowledge and ICTs.

Development goals are not new, but in recent decades there has been more focus

and international collaboration on setting agreed goals for development. Conway and

Waage (2010: p. 90) provide some historical background, which has been adapted

and summarised in the points below:

The 1960s were heralded as the „Development Decade‟.

In the second half of the 20th century many United Nations (UN) summits took

place, identifying goals for reducing hunger, improving health, eradicating

diseases and educating children. Few went beyond rhetoric.

By the 1990s, the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme

(UNDP) were recognising the need for economic reform to be accompanied by

social policies, and in 1990 the World Summit for Children set concrete targets

that were successfully implemented.

In 2000, a joint International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic

Co-operation and Development (OECD), UN and World Bank report called A

Better World For All set out seven international development goals (IDGs)

(IMF/OECD/UN/World Bank, 2000). There was a mixed reaction as this was

seen as an imposition by rich nations.

From 1999, the UN had also been working on plans to make global poverty

reduction central to the UN agenda and in April 2000 published the We the

Peoples: the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century Report (Annan,

2000). The agenda that emerged formed the basis of the MDGs. The final set

of goals, that came to be known as the MDGs combined the aspirations in 'we

the peoples' agenda with their roots in the concept of human development and

the measurable targets approach of the IDGs. These were approved in 2000 by

the UN General Assembly, although interestingly the baseline for the targets is

1990!

It is worth observing that as development goals are established, policy-makers are

drawing on a base of knowledge, evidence and data, which together with various

power dynamics leads to decisions for the focus of future development that have

huge implications for resource use and mobilisation, and for the types of outcomes

that the international community is seeking to achieve. The goal setting process is

itself a massive knowledge management exercise!

During the period just described the major transformation in the use of ICTs, has

also clearly impacted on the way the international community can communicate and

access knowledge and evidence to inform its decisions, and also in the way that

development initiatives related to achievement of goals can be designed,

implemented and evaluated.

Reflecting on the role of ICTs, knowledge and the MDGs

The MDGs were a commonly accepted framework for measuring development

progress adopted in 2000 by the UN (see 1.2.1, below). The MDGs were a

commitment by governments to a series of major international development targets

to be met by 2015 at an estimated cost of approximately US$40–70 billion of extra

resources per year in international aid.

Page 35: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 19

1.2.1 The Millennium Development Goals

The MDGs were the result of numerous UN resolutions and conferences conducted

throughout the 1990s. In 2000 the UN Millennium Summit produced a specific agenda for

halving global poverty by 2015, signed by 189 countries. The MDGs have become a frame

of reference for most organisations working in development and represent an agreement

to co-ordinate and focus efforts to achieve measurable improvement in international

development, using 18 targets and 48 indicators, many of which reflect the human

capabilities approach to development as a multifaceted improvement in human well-

being. Each of the first seven goals addresses a specific aspect of poverty but the goals

are intended to be mutually reinforcing in the aim to reduce all forms of poverty. Goal 8

specifically refers to ICTs as tools for reaching social goals.

Millennium Development Goals:

(1) Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

(2) Achieve universal primary education

(3) Promote gender equality and empower women

(4) Reduce child mortality

(5) Improve maternal health

(6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

(7) Ensure environmental sustainability

(8) Develop a global partnership for development: this goal includes making available

benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

Source: adapted from UN (2013)

The MDGs gave little explicit attention to knowledge and communications. However,

MDG 8 „Develop a global partnership for development‟ specified improving access to

information and communications technologies (ICTs) as a target, and set out the

following measures:

„In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of

new technologies, especially information and communications. […]

8.14: fixed-telephone lines per 100 inhabitants.

8.15: mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

8.16: Internet users per 100 inhabitants.'

Source: ITU (2013)

The table in 1.2.2 breaks down the changes since 1990 in relation to these MDG

measures and highlights the massive changes in relation to mobile cellular

subscriptions over the last decade.

Page 36: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 20

1.2.2 MDG progress on ICT measures since 1990

Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 population

Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 population

Internet users per 100 population

1990 2002 2015* 1990 2002 2015* 1990 2002 2015*

World 9.8 17.3 14.5 0.2 18.6 96.8 0.1 10.7 43.4

Developing Regions 2.3 9.8 9.4 0.0 10.4 91.8 0.0 4.3 35.3

Northern Africa 2.8 8.7 7.1 0.0 8.1 112.8 0.0 2.6 36.9

SSA 1.0 1.4 1.2 0.0 3.6 73.2 0.0 0.9 20.6

Latin America 6.2 16.9 17.9 0.0 19.4 117.9 0.0 9.1 53.5

Caribbean 7.0 11.6 11.0 0.1 14.3 64.2 0.0 6.5 40.3

Eastern Asia (EA) 2.4 18.6 18.5 0.0 19.4 94.8 0.0 7.2 53.5

Southern Asia (SA) 0.7 4.0 3.7 0.0 1.3 75.7 0.0 1.6 21.0

South-eastern Asia (SEA) 1.3 5.3 7.9 0.1 11.1 122.9 0.0 4.5 31.3

Western Asia 8.9 17.6 11.7 0.1 21.5 109.7 0.0 6.8 47.5

Oceania 3.3 5.2 4.8 0.0 4.1 51.4 0.0 3.4 19.1

Caucasus & Central Asia 7.9 9.6 14.3 0.0 3.7 111.5 0.0 1.7 45.7

Developed Regions 37.1 49.3 39.0 0.9 53.5 120.6 0.2 37.7 82.2

LDCs 0.3 0.7 1.0 0.0 1.0 63.6 0.0 0.2 9.5

Note: * Estimate. SSA = Sub-Saharan Africa; LDCs = Least Developed Countries; Regional

classifications are those of the UN.

Source: ITU (2015)

During the period 2002 to 2015, which developing regions have

developed fastest and slowest (a) in terms of mobile cellular subscriptions and (b) in terms of internet usage? Why do you think fixed phone subscriptions have fallen in developed regions?

Page 37: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 21

1.2.3 Access to information and communication technologies (ICTs)

Source: ITU (2015)

Clearly, there has been a lot of progress in terms of improved ICT access,

particularly in relation to mobile cellular telephone subscriptions, but according to the

UN (2015) more than 4 billion people do not use the internet, with 90% of them from

the developing world.

The period of the MDGs was not all about achieving increased ICT access. ICTs have

been seen as an „enabling factor‟, distinct from education and health, which are ends

in themselves (Unwin, 2009). So, for example, increased internet connectivity was

seen as helping to realise goals for health, education, employment and poverty

reduction. This was essentially a technology transfer strategy for development that

saw radio, television, video, mobile phones and the internet as powerful tools for

scaling-up development interventions and outcomes inherent in the MDGs. Expected

outcomes for development were far reaching.

Page 38: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 22

1.2.4 Expected benefits of ICTs

For the poor, some of the expected benefits of ICTs include:

- access to educational resources

- access to medical advice

- access to agricultural technical assistance

- access to legal advice, government information and services, like land titling

- saving the costs of travel to distant schools, health centres or government offices

- learning about market prices in real time

- seeking buyers and bypassing middlemen

- access to novel financial services like mobile banking

- participation in new markets through e-commerce

- networking to strengthen local organisations and political participation.

Source: unit author

A significant expectation was that ICTs would contribute to economic growth,

although the empirical evidence for this contribution is scarce and heavily contested.

Rwanda however provides an example of a country where ICTs do appear to have

driven economic growth (Rwanda Development Board, 2013; available from the

Multimedia listing). The lesson from this is that a critical mass of ICT-related

investment, knowledge and skills must be built up before a country can realise

measurable economic gains attributable to ICT use.

In our second Key Reading, Clarke et al (2013) provide a useful review

of the contribution of ICTs to the eight MDGs, in the context of urban poverty. Make notes for each goal on the strengths and limitations they

identify, and the extent to which they were achieved.

Clarke et al (2013: p. 56) note that during the lifespan of the goals „a growing

interest around ICTs for development (ICT4D) has emerged which is now more

conspicuously present in deliberations over the post-2015 agenda‟. However, they

caution against what Heeks (2010: p. 629) refers to as „technology-boosterism‟ and

raise critical concerns over the measurable impact and sustainability of Information

and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). They also question the

vision of development embedded in ICT4D and whether new technologies can

subvert the underlying causes of global poverty. They conclude that „we must listen

to communities in poverty when deciding how ICTs should feature in the post -2015

agenda‟ (p. 55).

Page 39: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 23

ICTs, knowledge and the post-2015 development agenda

We will turn our attention now to the future development agenda, which is being

shaped by the creation of the more globally inclusive Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs).

Reflecting on the MDGs, Manning et al (2013) view the MDG framework as having

had traction in some countries but not others. Its main value has been significant,

putting a global policy spotlight on some key development issues and seeking to

unite humanity in its aspiration toward development, based around improved

prospects for all. On the negative side, they see the MDGs as having had a narrow

focus on social issues, with a one-size-fits-all, top-down and „siloed‟ and

„unintegrated‟ approach to the challenges of well-being and multidimensional aspects

of poverty.

They argue that for the post-2015 development agenda, we should not be

focused on framing goals but on framing the future, and thinking about whose goals

we are representing and measuring. This links to our earlier „foresight reflections‟ on

what kind of future global society we would like to see, and the roles in this process

of knowledge and ICTs as enablers. For a post-2015 framework to be relevant and

useful, they stress the need for effective participation. The Participate project makes

this case by further stressing the need for inclusion and attention to the needs of the

poorest:

„According to the poorest and most marginalised groups in over 100

countries, a global framework must guarantee development that leaves

no one behind; which does not demand impossible choices of the poorest

and most vulnerable; which provides hope; and which recognises and

strengthens the networks that hold people together. How this process is

supported – by government at all levels, by business, by civil society,

and by citizens themselves, is fundamentally important‟

Source: Beyond 2015 (2014)

The short video extract from an interview with Robert Chambers (2015; available

from the Multimedia listing, provides brief reflections on the SDGs, and highlights

particular concerns over equity and measurement.

In practice, the process of agreeing the SDGs has been an interesting one, with the

public having been invited to help shape the agenda and define the priorities through

consultations and outreach efforts. This process included a global conversation: „A

million voices: the world we want‟ (TheWorldWeWant, 2013) and voting on the

United Nations „My World Platform‟ (UN, n.d.) which presented itself as a global

survey, and other processes of wider engagement.

Now watch the video interview with Sherif Dawoud (2015; available from the

Multimedia listing) who at the time of the interview in 2014 was third Secretary at

the Egyptian Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. This video, which represents his own views,

outlines the process of negotiation he was involved in, and also makes reference to

the Common African Position which for the first time brought together proposals from

across the continent for the post-2015 development agenda, and also the Agenda

2063 for Africa which aims to develop a long-term vision for the continent.

Page 40: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 24

The Open Working group of the UN General Assembly in its proposal (UN, 2014) for

the SDGs identifies 17 goals with 169 measurable targets (126 identified as major,

and 43 as supporting). The 17 goals were confirmed and adopted in 2015 (SDSN,

2015). The main goals are listed in 1.2.3, and reflect the majority of areas of concern

highlighted in the My World poll responses.

1.2.5 Sustainable Development Goals

© 2015 United Nations. Reprinted with the permission of the United Nations.

Source: UN General Assembly (2014) p. 14.

Alongside the goals, the Secretary-General‟s synthesis report (UN General Assembly,

2014, p. 16) identifies six key elements required for delivering the SDGs (see 1.2.6).

Page 41: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 25

1.2.6 Six key elements required for delivering SDGs

© 2015 United Nations. Reprinted with the permission of the United Nations.

Source: UN General Assembly (2014) p. 16.

So what reference do we currently find in the SDG discussions to knowledge and

information?

The „zero draft‟ contained 42 mentions of the word „access‟ (relating to a wide range

of resources). The word „knowledge‟ appears just seven times in the draft

statements, with the main focus being in Goal 17, with targets in 17.6–17.8, 17.16,

and 17.18–7.19 relating to data monitoring and accountability, perhaps reflecting the

new emphasis on a „data revolution‟. There is also very little specific reference to

knowledge or digital technologies in the Common African Position document (UNECA,

2014), which is surprising given the significance of the transformation that digital

technologies are bringing to parts of Africa.

In relation to ICTs in the SDGs, as in the case of the MDGs, there is a focus on

access found in Goal 9c which targets „significantly increase access to information

and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access

to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020‟. It is interesting that this is a

supporting goal for the rest of Goal 9 and has an earlier proposed target (of 2020)

than most of the SDGs.

However, there is an absence of any significant focus on the usage of ICTs and in

particular in relation to access to and effective usage of knowledge, which is a cause

of some concern, as expressed below by the International Federation of Library

Associations and Institutions (IFLA):

Page 42: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 26

'There is concern, articulated by the IFLA and a range of their strategic

partners that whilst ICT access is important, not enough attention is

being given to access to knowledge and information, which, it argues,

requires a specific target. To this end they launched the „Lyon Declaration

on Access to Information and Development‟.

We, the undersigned, therefore call on Member States of the United

Nations to acknowledge that access to information, and the skills to use it

effectively, are required for sustainable development, and ensure that

this is recognised in the post-2015 development agenda by:

Acknowledging the public's right to access information and data, while

respecting the right to individual privacy.

Recognising the important role of local authorities, information

intermediaries and infrastructure such as ICTs and an open Internet as a

means of implementation.

Adopting policy, standards and legislation to ensure the continued

funding, integrity, preservation and provision of information by

governments, and access by people.

Developing targets and indicators that enable measurement of the impact

of access to information and data and reporting on progress during each

year of the goals in a Development and Access to Information (DA2I)

report.‟

Source: IFLA (2014) Paragraph 6.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) monitors an index (in 155

economies worldwide) that it refers to as the ICT development index (IDI), which

combines 11 indicators into one single measure to track progress made in ICT

access, usage and skills, and includes such indicators as the number of fixed and

mobile broadband internet subscriptions, households with a computer and literacy

rates. The evidence from the ITU (2013) IDI highlights the need for improved

infrastructure and investment in broadband and skills.

So, we see that in the development goals for the future, the focus remains strongly

on building ICT infrastructure and access, and ICTs and knowledge as enablers of

other goals. Whether this gives enough focus on the ways ICTs and knowledge can

bring about equitable outcomes is open to debate. Sachs, writing in the Lancet in

2012, clearly sees technology and knowledge playing a major role if we are to

achieve SDG targets:

„When it comes to elimination of extreme poverty, the main strategy is to

expand the reach of crucial technologies (including medicines,

diagnostics, electrification, high-yield seeds, and internet) from high-

income and middle-income economies to low-income economies. Meeting

the SDGs will be different. The world will need new technologies and new

ways to organise human activity to combine improving living standards

and ecological imperatives. Technological and social change will be

paramount, in both rich and poor countries alike.

Page 43: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 27

The SDGs will therefore need the unprecedented mobilisation of global

knowledge operating across many sectors and regions. Governments,

international institutions, private business, academia, and civil societ y

will need to work together to identify the critical pathways to success, in

ways that combine technical expertise and democratic representation.

Global problem-solving networks for sustainable development – in

energy, food, urbanisation, climate resilience, and other sectors – will

therefore become crucial new institutions in the years ahead.

New social media and information technology have given the world an

unprecedented opportunity for inclusive, global-scale problem solving

around the main sustainable development challenges. Scientists,

technologists, civil society activists and others are increasingly turning to

online networks for collaboration, crowdsourcing, group problem solving,

and open-source solutions such as for software and applications. The

pathways to sustainable development will not be identified through a top-

down approach, but through a highly energised era of networked problem

solving that engages the world‟s universities, businesses, non-

governmental organisations, governments, and especially young people,

who should become the experts and leaders of a new and profoundly

challenging era.‟

Source: Sachs (2012) p. 2211.

There are also wider knowledge management challenges related to monitoring goals,

highlighted by Conway and Waage (2010: pp. 360–361), who warn against creating

silos, and highlight that achievement of different goals over clear timeframes is

interconnected.

„We are now able to develop increasingly sophisticated models which

predict how key development parameters like population growth, use of

natural resources and agricultural productivity change over time and

interact. This in turn helps us to visualise the timetable over which

progress in development goals is required.‟

Source: Conway and Waage (2010) pp. 360.

Waage et al (2015), in one of our Key Readings, also highlight the need for effective

governance, to link related well-being goals, and ensure infrastructure is developed

in a co-ordinated manner.

Reflecting on some of the challenges that arose during the period of the MDGs, Sachs

also highlights the need for intermediate milestones and timely and accurate data,

along with engagement of the private sector and investment: „Sustainable

development is the only viable path for humanity, but it will not be achieved unless a

small part of consumption spending is turned into investments for long-term survival‟

(Sachs, 2012: p. 2211).

Page 44: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 28

The growing importance of data

Use of data science in development is a rapidly growing area as tools for collection

and analysis themselves become increasingly sophisticated, drawing on the power of

ICTs. This potentially enables big advances both in the way quantitative and

qualitative data related to development goals can be collected, monitored and

analysed. Noting technological advances, the UN (2014: pp. 6–7) report on the

MDGs, placed major emphasis on „data for development‟, as shown in 1.2.7. As you

read this critique, remember, of course, that the MDG era has passed and the SDG

era has begun.

1.2.7 Sustainable data are needed for sustainable development

As the 2015 deadline for the MDGs approaches, the international community has started

to work on a new development framework. The Report of the High Level Panel of

Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for a ‘data revolution’,

which reflects the growing demand for better, faster, more accessible and more

disaggregated data for bringing poverty down and achieving sustainable development.

The new data demand requires country ownership and government commitment to

increasing resources for the statistical system and building statistical capacity, with the

support of the international community. It also asks to bring new information

technologies and existing data infrastructure together to produce improved development

data. In harnessing the potential of technological advances, there must be continual

reinforcement of the existing data infrastructure, such as the registration of births and

deaths, health and education information systems, and survey systems. In addition,

promoting open access to and effective use of data is essential.

The monitoring experience of the MDGs has shown that data will play a central role in

advancing the new development agenda. We need sustainable data to support

sustainable development.

Source: UN (2014) p. 7.

Development goals often stress quantitative outcomes. How do you

think ICTs could help in gathering and giving inclusive voice to measuring qualitative aspects of social changes?

At the implementation level there is also increased emphasis being placed by funders

on supporting projects that take account of the evidence base, the datasets already

available, and on how knowledge and learning from projects will be disseminated.

Knowledge management and communications play an essential and evolving role in

achieving development goals and outcomes at all levels.

We conclude this section by referring to recommendations from the UN Secretary-

General‟s synthesis report, where he sets out an ambitious agenda for what looks

like a platform for knowledge sharing and co-ordinated action:

Page 45: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 29

Extracts from „Road to Dignity‟

„Having taken into account the recommendations of the structured

dialogues of the General Assembly, I propose to establish an online,

global platform, building on and complementing existing initiatives, with

the participation of all relevant stakeholders, in order to: (a) map

existing technology facilitation initiatives, needs and gaps, including in

areas vital for sustainable development, including agriculture, cities and

health; (b) enhance international cooperation and coordination in this

field, addressing fragmentation and facilitating synergies, including within

the United Nations system; and (c) promote networking, information

sharing, knowledge transfer and technical assistance, in order to advance

the scaling up of clean technology initiatives.

At the same time, I call upon all Member States to: (a) urgently finalize

arrangements for the establishment of the proposed technology bank and

science, technology and innovation supporting mechanism dedicated to

the least developed countries; (b) significantly scale up cooperation for

the sharing of technologies, strengthening knowledge and capacity-

building for usage, and innovation capacities, including information and

communications technologies; (c) make the adjustments necessary in the

national and international policy frameworks to facilitate these actions;

(d) make substantial progress in the development, transfer and

dissemination of such technologies and knowledge to developing

countries on favourable, concessional and preferential terms; (e) ensure

that our global intellectual property regimes and the application of the

flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual

Property Rights (TRIPS) are fully consistent with and contribute to the

goals of sustainable development; (f) make specific commitments to

shifting public resources away from harmful technologies and toward the

sustainable development goals; and (g) promote the acceleration of the

innovation-to-market-to-public-good cycle of clean and environmentally

sound technologies‟

Source: UN General Assembly (2014) pp. 26–27, paragraphs 125,126.

Have a look at the video of the speech launching the synthesis report

(Ban Ki-Moon, 2014; available from the Multimedia listing).

Page 46: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 30

Section 1 Self-Assessment Questions

uestion 1

What is Moore‟s law and why is it significant when we think about the future impact

of digital technologies?

uestion 2

In what ways was the importance of ICTs represented in the Millennium

Development Goals?

uestion 3

What are the main concerns that have been expressed in relation to the post -2015

development agenda, and the role of knowledge and information?

Q

Q

Q

Page 47: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 31

2.0 POVERTY AND SOCIAL EQUALITY: UNDERSTANDING THE

CHANGING CONTEXT FOR KNOWLEDGE AND

COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT

Section Overview

In this second section, we are going to look briefly at how, in the context of

globalisation, electronic communication has come to be seen as the driver of novel

kinds of social organisation and change. This is leading to what different authors

refer to as „information‟, „knowledge‟ or „network‟ societies, which we will explore in

later units.

We will look at some of the opportunities and problems that arise when making use

of ICTs and knowledge, and we will look particularly at issues of equity and inclusion,

and we will explore the concepts of universal access, digital divide and digital

exclusion. We will see that the benefits of globalisation are neither automatic nor

guaranteed, and that there are „winners‟ and „losers‟ – notably those on different

sides of the digital divide.

Section Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

analyse aspects of globalisation related to poverty, inequality and social

exclusion

explain the concepts of „digital divide‟ and „digital inclusion‟

discuss some of the ways in which ICTs contribute to social exclusion and

inclusion.

2.1 Identifying and addressing inequalities in the digital

age

This section looks at the spread and use of ICTs and the discussion of whether they

are tending to diminish or aggravate inequalities and exclusion. We will look at the

main dimensions of the debate about the digital divide and what this means for

poverty reduction.

Inequality of access to ICTs: the digital divide

Given that economic growth is crucial to achievement of development goals, and that

knowledge and communications are widely assumed to be important drivers of

economic growth, there is broad concern that they may produce or aggravate

existing social inequalities. Several aspects of this inequality, referred to as the

digital divide, are significant.

Inclusive ICT use is a critical issue because of the evidence from projects and case

studies that the poor can use ICTs to increase their incomes. Even though significant

impact of ICTs on macro-economic growth in poor countries is hard to demonstrate,

on a small-scale, ICT use can enable the poor to engage in new markets and obtain

Page 48: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 32

better market information leading to better sales opportunities and innovation. This

seems to be especially the case in the informal sector of the economy and in rural

areas where people are more likely to be isolated and information deprived (Esselaar

et al, 2007). So, if ICTs improve opportunities for a select proportion of the poor to

increase their incomes, then the exclusion of large numbers of other poor people

from ICT use will create the possibility for even greater inequality. The digital divide

is now understood as a form of inequality that not only separates rich and poor

countries but as one that is also found within countries, including countries which are

well-endowed with ICT infrastructure.

Defining the ‘digital divide’

The digital divide refers to the concern that global ICT expansion is bypassing a large

proportion of the world‟s population and leaving the poor behind.

When concern with the digital divide first emerged in the 1990s, analysis focused on

ICT access. Historically, the divide between poor countries and the rest of the world

in terms of per capita access to telecommunications and the internet has widened in

absolute terms and is growing. The magnitude of the divide with respect to usage is

still vast but significant changes have occurred during the past decade. For internet

usage:

penetration as a percentage of population still varies widely between regions

Africa still lags seriously

nevertheless, the growth in usage in Africa and other poorer regions has been

phenomenal, albeit starting from very low base levels.

2.1.1 Internet usage statistics

World region Internet users 31 Dec 2000

(millions)

Internet users 30 June 2014

(millions)

Penetration (% of

population)

Growth in users 2000—2012

(%)

Africa 4.5 297.9 26.5 6498.6

Asia 114.3 1386.2 34.7 1112.7

Europe 105.0 582.4 70.5 454.2

Middle East 3.3 111.8 48.3 3303.8

North America 108.1 310.3 87.7 187.1

Latin America/ Caribbean

18.1 320.3 52.3 1672.7

Oceania/ Australia

7.6 26.8 72.9 251.6

World Total 361.0 3035.7 42.3 741.0

Source: Internet World Stats (2015)

Page 49: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 33

In the past decade, definition of the digital divide has expanded beyond differences

in access and in ICT investment to include differences in the knowledge and skills

required for effective use.

Elder et al (2013), when describing the work of the International Development

Research Centre (IDRC) focus on two levels of digital divide:

first order divides, which looks at access to ICTs from the perspective of

connectivity, and

second order divides, which look at access in terms of ability to use ICTs and

contribute to content.

Most analysts of the digital divide now agree that the divide involves a broader range

of considerations than just access to technology, and consider not only availability of

access but the skills and knowledge to make effective use of ICTs. More than

physical access, the digital divide now refers to differences in education and ability to

use the technologies as well as other factors like gender, age and ethnicity that may

be obstacles to effective use.

Effective access refers to having the physical availability of the tools and resources to

afford them. For example, you need enough income to afford connectivity to the

internet or a mobile phone and the means to acquire the skills and abilities necessary

to use the internet, including the language skills.

There is also a growing case for thinking about both orders of digital divide, in terms

of unequal levels of service. A growing proportion of the world‟s population now have

access to mobile technology, but there is a vast and growing difference between

what can be done with second generation mobile phone services, which are typically

limited to voice and text messages, and third and fourth generation which provide

internet access and an increasingly powerful range of multimedia data services.

These „generations‟ of mobile service are explained in 2.1.2, which illustrates how as

bandwidth increases, the nature and use of our connectivity develops significantly .

Once again, the skills and knowledge needed to make effective use of the different

performance levels available are significant considerations.

Page 50: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 34

2.1.2 Generations of mobile phone service

Generation Introduced Attributes

1G 1980s

Operational 1990s

Allowed for voice phone calls within a country.

2G 2.5G

Launched 1991 Uses digital signals and supports text and multimedia

text messaging. 2.5G for the first time provided scope

for web browsing and email using a mobile phone.

Mobile phones start to incorporate basic camera

features.

3G 2000s Improved bandwidth and data transfer rates based on a

new infrastructure. Provides better web access, with

scope to support audio, video streaming and mobile

TV. Phones take the form of multi-functional devices

and become referred to as smart phones.

4G Late 2000s Higher data rates with a greater range of multimedia

services, aimed at providing an extensive range of

anytime, anywhere services via the mobile device.

5G Projected for

availability from

2020

Dramatic overhaul and harmonisation of the radio

spectrum provides the scope for huge improvements in

data transfer speeds. Increased scope for devices to

communicate.

Source: Gregson et al (2015) p. 13.

A growing debate concerns whether the internet is really neutral (a concept referred

to as „net neutrality‟). It is increasingly evident that there are more and more price

barriers, and commercial organisations will pay more for better speed and

performance, giving them protected rather than shared access to bandwidth. This

ultimately determines whether you are on a fast track with guaranteed levels of

quality of service, or share your connections to the internet with increasing numbers

of other users, which ultimately results in slower downloads and overall performance.

If you have access, but can do very little with it relative to others due to lack of skills

or poor technical service, then your access is not effective, and you are on the wrong

side of a significant divide. This also links to your access to use or contribute to the

growing global pool of knowledge found on the internet.

Adera et al (2014: p. 2) suggest that ICTs represent „a new asset and a new form of

deprivation‟, and advance theorisation of „digital poverty‟ as the „lack of goods and

services based on ICT in the overall context of a sustainable livelihoods framework‟.

They suggest that digital poverty is „a 6th dimension of poverty in addition to the five

interrelated dimensions of financial, assets, physical, human and social‟.

Page 51: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 35

„Deprivation, whether socio-economic or digital, is typically made up of

three dimensions: economic/financial (comprising income and

expenditure; investment and consumption); social/human (skills and

knowledge, access to basic social services, social networking,

communicating in emergencies), and natural/physical (infrastructure,

natural resources, biodiversity). ICTs can act as facilitating factors linking

social, economic, and natural well-being by improving communications

and networking, whether social or economic in intention, and by reducing

exclusion through information processing and dissemination, promoting

economic inclusion, reduction of transaction costs, and building of social

capital. Through ICTs, the poor are able to learn of new production

strategies and technologies, access market information at a faster and

more accurate level, and keep in regular contact with peers and other

social and economic contacts and associates.‟

Source: Adera et al (2014) pp. 18.

Current status

There are still huge ICT access divides, and although growing numbers of people

have mobile and internet access, as the graph in 2.1.3 shows, there is a widening

absolute division between those in the developed and developing world who have

internet broadband access, and this in turn presents a major division in relation to

the types of services and knowledge that users can access.

2.1.3 Number of active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, 2007—2014

© 2015 United Nations. Reprinted with the permission of the United Nations.

Source: UN (2014) p. 53.

Page 52: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 36

The point that the digital divide around ICT access is still a major issue is emphasised

in 2.1.4 below.

2.1.4 A persistent divide

In the annual report on Measuring the information society (ITU, 2014), the ITU Director,

Brahima Sanou starts by commenting on the positives, noting that ‘by end 2014, almost 3

billion people will be using the Internet, up from 2.7 billion at end 2013. While the growth

in mobile cellular subscriptions is slowing as the market reaches saturation levels, mobile

broadband remains the fastest growing market segment, with continuous double-digit

growth rates in 2014 and an estimated global penetration rate of 32 per cent — four times

the penetration rate recorded just five years earlier. International bandwidth has also

grown steeply, at 45 per cent annually between 2001 and 2013, and the developing

countries’ share of total international bandwidth increased from around 9 per cent in 2004

to almost 30 per cent in 2013. Overall, almost all of the 166 countries included in the IDI

improved their values in the last year.’

However the first order digital divide is still very much with us:

- ‘4.3 billion people are still not online’

- ‘90% of those not online live in the developing world’

- ‘Fixed broadband penetration stands at 6 per cent in developing countries, compared

with 27.5 per cent in developed countries, and growth rates are slowing’

- ‘Mobile broadband is growing fast, but the difference between developed and

developing regions remains large, with 84 per cent penetration in the former as against

21 per cent in the latter’.

Source: adapted from ITU (2014) p. iii.

ITU (2014) point out that the policy focus for years to come needs to be on ICT

uptake in least connected countries (LCCs), which are home to some 2.5 billion

people, and much of this focus should be on the needs of the poor often living in

rural areas, with the report noting that „progress in ICT development is linked to

progress in achieving some of the MDGs, yet another testimony to the role of ICT as

a development enabler‟ (p. iii). Urban–rural divides in relation to ICT uptake are

highlighted, with access to infrastructure and relevant skills being more favourable in

urban areas. Hence, the inclusion of enabling SDG Target 9c is important:

„Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and

strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed

countries by 2020‟.

Barriers to access include price, with mobile broadband being six times more

affordable in developed countries than in developing countries.

What can be done to address the challenge of the digital divide? Note

down any strategies that come to mind, both for first and second order aspects of the divide.

Page 53: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 37

Four major strategies taken by IDRC, which Elder et al (2013) describe as catalysing

access for first and second order dimensions of the digital divide are identified in

2.1.5 below.

2.1.5 Dimensions of catalysing access

(1) Catalysing access via social and technical innovation to address the first order digital

divide: demonstrating the feasibility of establishing backbone internet

infrastructure, bandwidth consortiums and community-level connectivity for the

purpose of stimulating demand.

(2) Catalysing access via policy and regulatory research and interventions to address the

first order digital divide: researching the status of policy and regulatory frameworks

and demonstrating how policy changes can lead to increased access.

(3) Catalysing access via social and technical innovation to address the second order

digital divide: increasing the ability to use ICTs by, for example, working on issues

related to the graphical user interface, eg localization.

(4) Catalysing access via bolstering interactivity and production of information to

address the second order digital divide: increasing the ability to contribute to the

continual transformation of content and information by addressing issues such as

literacy, government regulations on access to information or government controls of

the Internet.

Source: Elder et al (2013) p. 28.

If the first order challenges are overcome, and poor people have access,

what types of projects do you think might be needed in order to address the second order challenges of skills, usage and ability to contribute to

the continual transformation of content?

2.2 Globalisation, poverty reduction, knowledge and

communication

Before we examine different paradigms of development it is important to have a

picture of some of the main patterns of social change they aim to harness and exploit

in order to benefit the poor. In particular, we need to have a picture of the

dimensions of poverty and unequal development that different approaches to closing

the digital divide try to reduce or overcome. This picture is needed to put claims for

the contribution of knowledge and communication to development into the context of

globalisation and to understand the scope of the challenges. Efforts to accelerate the

spread of ICTs and the high expectations about their contribution to development

(associated in the past with MDG 8) are closely related to interpretations of their role

in the process of globalisation.

Globalisation is a term that has become widely used since the 1980s to describe

the contemporary process of global integration in finance, production, consumption,

migration and the emergence of a global division of labour throughout the world. It

Page 54: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 38

refers to the expansion of global trade that powers the exchange of knowledge,

culture and technology facilitated by the expansion of electronic communications.

The term globalisation recognises that the economic and social significance of

geographical location and distance are being fundamentally altered. Five aspects of

globalisation are summarised in 2.2.1. Rapid evolution in the availability and scope of

ICTS are driving this change.

2.2.1 Five aspects of globalisation

Globalisation can be characterised in terms of five major flows or movements of

resources that interact with each other:

(1) Flows of people: people move within and across national boundaries as workers and

consumers, changing the economic and social significance of what it means to be

located in a given place.

(2) Flows of knowledge and information: this consists of data, financial, scientific,

cultural and commercial information, including news.

(3) Flows of new technologies for communication, production and distribution that

have radically changed the global organisation of work and the distribution of

wealth.

(4) Flows of financial resources: this flow in daily volumes that exceed the total annual

product of many countries is beyond the control of most governments.

(5) Flows of culture and social relationships: images, ideas, values and beliefs are

interchanged and shaped at hitherto unimaginable speed across enormous distances

and no longer depend on face-to-face interaction.

Source: unit author

The impact of globalisation is widely debated. While there is no question that

globalisation is occurring, there is fierce disagreement about its impacts and whether

these are beneficial for human development (Milanovic, 2003; Poole & Penrose

Buckley, 2006). This debate is a reflection of the way interpretations of globalisation

are shaped by different world-views and paradigms of development.

From one perspective, globalisation reduces and removes barriers between

national borders and facilitates the flow of capital and labour, knowledge and

technology, goods and services and so is a positive force for economic growth

and development that benefits everyone. This assumes that the positive effects

of economic growth spurred by globalisation will gradually „trickle down‟

through all levels of society and eventually reach the poor.

A view of the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation for the rural poor

is given by Poole and Penrose Buckley (2006):

‘Globalisation is associated with a range of technological changes in

information systems and in the production, transformation and

distribution of goods and services. Globalisation has many homogenising

tendencies, but the impacts are by no means ubiquitous or even:

Page 55: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 39

– the advantages of globalisation such as cheap, effective information

systems are not equally available to the rural poorest;

– improvements in transportation and communications infrastructure are

homogenising global demand and increasing the level of competition in

product markets; however, the rural poorest are those least endowed in

terms of essential physical and social infrastructure to be able to take

advantage of these opportunities;

– increasing industrial concentration in the supply of agricultural inputs

and services, in the purchase, manufacture and processing of rural raw

products, and in the distribution channels of products to final consumers

– in particular, the spread of the supermarketing phenomenon – are

major factors affecting rural producers;

– increasing market competition and the proliferation and globalisation of

health and safety concerns and social responsibility are increasing the

business, ethical and environmental standards, increasing entry barriers,

and worsening the terms of trade between poor rural areas and principal

markets.‟

Source: Poole and Penrose Buckley (2006) pp. 2–3.

A still more critical interpretation is that globalisation makes significant groups

of people worse off because labour and capital flow so freely that the nation

state can no longer defend its population against exploitation by foreign

interests. Globalisation is not automatically beneficial to everyone: there are

enduring barriers to poverty reduc tion because globalisation creates „winners‟

and „losers‟ and has a negative impact on the poor.

What are (a) the processes by which globalisation might be expected to

reduce poverty and (b) the reasons why poverty might be exacerbated by globalisation?

Answers

(a) Possibilities include potential access to global markets and increased

social capital through access to improved communication and support networks, and free to use information services

(b) Barriers to access lead to greater inequalities, and exclusion from

markets and services that only the rich are able to access. These barriers could include cost, ICT infrastructure and necessary skills.

Can knowledge and communications technologies help to overcome the

‘poverty trap?’

For poor countries to „catch up‟ and for their incomes to converge with those of rich

countries, the knowledge and skills of their labour force have to be upgraded by

developing technological capabilities through learning (Nissanke & Thorbecke, 2006).

ICTs are seen as having a vital role to play in this upgrading.

Page 56: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 40

Some development theorists argue that ICTs create the opportunity for

technological leapfrogging meaning that heavy investment in ICTs will enable

poor countries to bypass the intermediate stages of development and develop rapidly

to a point where they can compete in the global economy and catch up (Hanna,

2010). For example, „leapfrogging‟ is an objective of efforts at educational reform

that prioritise increasing computer use at all levels of education in the hope that

internet-based e-learning will fuel a rapid expansion of educational opportunity. The

aspiration to leapfrog is also reflected in efforts to use the internet for agricultural

extension to introduce new production technologies and to create small business

opportunities that allow the rural poor to compete in global markets (Unwin, 2009).

The expanded definition of the digital divide as „access to ICTs and the skills and

knowledge to use them effectively‟ reflects the idea that upgrading skills, knowledge

and learning among the poor and disadvantaged are critical to combating global

trends of rising poverty and inequality. But how is this expected to happen?

Advocates of benign globalisation expect market forces to take care of access

to ICTs and of upgrading of skills among the poor. Over time, ICTs will spread,

the required skills will become more common, and the digital divide will

diminish along with poverty, as if guided by some „invisible hand‟. The rapid

uptake of mobile phones among the poor in developing countries is seen to

support this view.

Critics of this mainstream view argue that markets will not automatically wipe

out the digital divide because globalisation creates a poverty trap for the least

advantaged in society. Evidence that mobile phone owners among the poor are

generally better off than the majority of users and that many of the poorest

cannot afford mobile phones is seen to support this view. From this

perspective, development interventions for increasing the use of ICTs need to

incorporate specific, redistributive strategies to promote pro-poor

applications (Nissanke & Thorbecke, 2006).

Why is investment in knowledge, communication technology and,

specifically, ICT-related skills expected to reduce poverty?

Answer

In the globalisation of the world economy, developing countries have to

upgrade their labour force and competitiveness by developing their technological capabilities and knowledge. Skill upgrading is seen as crucial

for a country to be able to benefit from globalisation and to generate the

growth in income needed to make a significant reduction in poverty without making a (politically difficult) redistribution of wealth. ICT skills and, more

generally, the use of the internet for e-learning are seen as important instruments for upgrading skills through education to improve

competitiveness.

Page 57: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 41

Section 2 Self-Assessment Questions

uestion 4

What does „technological leapfrogging‟ refer to and how are ICTs supposed to help

poor countries achieve it?

uestion 5

What is meant by the following terms and concepts:

net neutrality

second-order digital divide?

Q

Q

Page 58: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 42

3.0 DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

Section Overview

In our final section for this unit, we are going to look at development paradigms and

how they have been translated into development strategies and programming that

gives a central role to knowledge and communications. The emergence of

communication and knowledge „for development‟ is presented and its main features

are illustrated, with a range of examples. Finally, the concepts of the most recent

thinking in the approach termed „ICT4D‟ are reviewed.

Development strategies that aim to address digital divide challenges, seek to

construct a form of „pro-poor globalisation‟ that will mitigate the harsh effects of

globalisation. We will see how this aspiration explicitly shapes the use of ICTs and

the roles of knowledge and communication in development.

Section Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, students should be able to:

identify how different development paradigms have been translated into

development strategies

explain differences among development strategies in terms of how alternative

development paradigms assign contrasting roles to information and

communication technologies in development

use concepts from different development paradigms to explain the outcomes of

development strategies.

3.1 Communication and knowledge for development

Derived from the Greek meaning „to show alongside‟, the concept of a paradigm

refers to a „mental framework‟ or pattern for organising ideas and theories about a

particular topic. Development paradigms have been translated into development

strategies and programming that, increasingly, give a central role to knowledge and

communications. A development paradigm is an explanation of how development

change occurs, whereas a development strategy refers to plans and approaches

designed to bring about the desired change in society.

Just as at any given time there tends to be a dominant or mainstream development

paradigm in the midst of debate about its chief ideas and assumptions, so there

tends to be a predominant development strategy that guides practice. The main

tendencies in recent development strategies are summarised in 3.1.2. In the 1950s,

development thinking concentrated on growth through industrialisation followed in

the 1960s by a focus on the potential of technological change for spurring rapid

growth. In the 1970s, the evidence of poverty that persists, even in the midst of

great wealth, fostered concern for meeting basic needs through growth combined

with redistribution.

Page 59: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 43

3.1.1 Technology transfer? Dhaka, Bangladesh

© Nigel Poole

Source: unit author

The 1980s ushered in a period of disenchantment with public sector-driven

development and saw enormous growth in the importance of non-governmental

organisations (NGOs) in the delivery of development aid. In the 1990s, in tandem

with growing adherence to the human-centred development paradigm, poverty

reduction, livelihood improvement and sustainable development took centre stage.

Locally based initiatives – often termed „community-driven development‟ – gained

adherence as an alternative to top-down macro-level policies. At this time,

participatory strategies gained attention and grew rapidly in popularity.

3.1.2 The evolution of development thinking 1950s—2000s

- 1950s Growth through industrialisation

- 1960s Growth through productivity increases and technology transfer, eg the green

revolution in agriculture

- 1970s Growth to address basic needs: Integrated Rural Development

- 1980s Growth and poverty reduction through structural adjustment (cutting public-

sector spending, abolishing subsidies, deregulating business, privatising previously

state-run enterprises and removing price controls)

- 1990s Poverty reduction and sustainable development emerge as important goals

with stakeholder participation as a crucial strategy for achieving them

Page 60: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 44

- 1999 Knowledge as a key driver of development becomes prominent on the agenda

of donor agencies

- 2000s Market-oriented, private-sector-led growth (especially in the knowledge

economy) through expanding global market opportunities needing good governance;

safety nets for the most vulnerable.

Source: unit author

The past decade has seen an increasing emphasis on the role of the free market and

private-sector-led growth as the crucial engine of development, with knowledge as a

key factor and institutional reform as a key enabler. As 3.1.3 illustrates, one reason

for these shifts in thinking about development is that development paradigms can be

interpreted as a rationale for the interests of powerful interest groups: as the balance

of power changes among different groups, so the dominant narrative about „how to‟

conduct development also changes to accommodate a different set of interests.

These development strategies do not represent a „pure‟ translation of one

development paradigm into a given strategy because there is a process of cross-

fertilisation and exchange of concepts among paradigms. For example, the notion

that participation and participatory communication should be a central feature of

development strategies has been widely adopted and mainstreamed by international

and government agencies and NGOs involved in development. However, the way

participation is interpreted and operationalised and the outcomes that are sought

from using participatory approaches can be very different and these reflect the

underlying paradigm or world-view that guides the interpretation of „participation‟.

3.1.3 A critique of development strategies: ‘kicking away the ladder’

Development strategies are recommendations for a set of ‘good’ policies, practices and

institutions that should be adopted to foster economic development in developing

countries. A critique by Ha-Joon Chang, economist at the University of Cambridge,

argues on the basis of a detailed review of historical evidence that developed countries

did not get where they are now through the policies and the institutions that they

recommend to developing countries today. Most of them actively used ‘bad’ practices

that are frowned upon these days. For example, until the early 20th century, the

developed countries protected their infant domestic industries and had very few of the

institutions deemed essential for developing countries today, such as democratic

political institutions, a professional bureaucracy and a central bank. Indeed, when they

were developing countries themselves, the developed countries had much lower-quality

institutions than today’s developing countries at comparable levels of development.

Chang argues that today’s development strategies actually make it difficult for the

developing countries to use the policies and institutions that allowed the now

industrialised countries to develop economically in earlier times. This amounts to

‘kicking away the ladder’ with which Britain and the USA climbed to the top. He calls for

a radical re-thinking of development strategy because there can be no ‘best practice’

that everyone should use.

Source: summarised from Chang (2002)

Page 61: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 45

Communication and knowledge „for development‟ emerged as a high-profile strategy

for development in the late 1990s when the World Bank published the World

Development Report 1998–1999: Knowledge for Development (World Bank, 1998).

Earlier the term communication for development had become widely used as a result

of the widespread adoption of the sustainable development paradigm and its

emphasis on effective media use to enhance stakeholder participation. Whereas

communication for development was heavily focused on media use, „knowledge for

development‟ expanded this concept with the argument that, in the post -industrial,

knowledge economy, codifying, managing and sharing knowledge is an input to

development comparable in importance to financial and human capital inputs.

Communication for development as a strategy

Communication for development conceived within the human-centred view of

sustainable development emerged in response to concerns about globalisation, the

rapid spread of ICTs and fears that the poor were being bypassed. Communication

was conceived as a participatory sharing of knowledge and information to support

changes in attitudes and practices agreed among stakeholders. High importance was

given to reaching poor and marginalised populations. In 2004, the United Nations

Roundtable on Communication for Sustainable Development (FAO, 2005) provided

recommendations and a framework for including communication in development

programming.

This framework emphasised dialogue and exchange that takes into account the

needs and capacities of all participants through the use of the media. An important

objective was the appropriation of the media and content by local stakeholders in

development projects as a strategy for bridging the digital divide. Its main functions

were seen as giving a voice to different stakeholders, making information

understandable and meaningful (for example, for training and sharing of know-how)

and generating support for new policies and programmes.

An important role for communication in development was the use of the media for

social marketing – the sensitisation and education of large audiences at all social

levels to the values and precepts of human-centred, sustainable development.

Although communication for development was focused on the use of communication

media, it recognised that communication involves social relationships outside the use

of the media and that interpersonal communication had a role to play in networking

and policy advocacy to support development goals. Development programming

began to incorporate these ideas under a number of different t erms including:

development communication, ICTs for development, communication for social

change and participatory communication.

The ‘knowledge for development’ strategy

Given definitive shape by the World Bank strategy launched in 1999, the basic

premise of knowledge for development went far beyond the use of media. It stated

that knowledge, not capital, is the key to sustained economic growth and

improvements in human welfare and that, therefore, most development problems

should be approached in a new way – from the perspective of knowledge generation

and exchange.

Page 62: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 46

Information scarcity and knowledge gaps were defined as contributing to market

failures, impeding efficiency and growth. The knowledge for development strategy

was spurred by recognition of the risk that, with the rapid growth of knowledge as a

key driver of development, the poorest countries and communities could fall more

rapidly behind than ever before (World Bank, 1998). Knowledge for development was

expected to improve the lives of the poor in multiple ways: through better knowledge

for health and nutrition, through information about environmental risks and hazards,

through information about markets and credit, through enhanced access to

information for education and through greater disclosure and transparency in

government. Knowledge for development was thus defined as a strategy that would

catalyse greater benefits for the poor across a number of development programme

areas including education, health, the environment, governance, business and

agricultural production. We can see this perspective reflected in the MDGs that were

formalised a year later, in 2000, now superseded by the SDGs.

In launching knowledge for development, the WORLD BANK‟s strategy identified two

key goals:

addressing information problems

narrowing knowledge gaps.

Information problems include issues such as how to find a job, where to get a loan,

how to get customers to pay their bills, how to meet product quality standards and

comply with government regulations or legal procedures, and how to enter new

markets.

Narrowing knowledge gaps involved three important activities needed to capture the

benefits of knowledge for economic growth and improved welfare:

acquiring available knowledge

improving human capital so that knowledge can be absorbed

taking advantage of the new information and communications technology and

ensuring the poor have access to it.

This definition reflects the broader redefinition of the digital divide to include skills

and human capital as well as access to ICTs.

The DNet Infolady Programme example

This case, described by synthesising information provided by DNet, Bangladesh, who

run the „Infolady programme‟ illustrates a central concept in the knowledge for

development strategy, that addressing information needs and knowledge gaps is

crucial for improving the lives of the poor.

The „Infolady‟ programme is referred by DNet as an „Info-preneurship model for

women in rural areas‟ that seeks to create „multi- layer impact‟. It is a social

entrepreneurship model which sees women as change agents at community levels in

rural areas. The goal of the Infolady model seeks to create a vibrant „young women

workforce‟ acting as change agents in Bangladesh, using ICTs to give access to

knowledge that raises well-being and promotes women‟s agency.

This model has already created more than 50 women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

who earn around $150 per month. These entrepreneurs have to date reached over

300 thousand rural citizens. At the same time, the model has had posit ive impacts on

Page 63: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 47

citizen well-being by addressing issues such as family planning, hygiene, health care

during pregnancy, agriculture, education, entertainment and women‟s agency in rural

communities. The benefit to the community in financial terms, coined as Benefit of

Investment (BOI) was 15 times higher than the original investment. The endeavour

has enabled rural women to challenge the status quo by establishing rights to ride bi-

cycles in 400 communities.

The Infolady is specially trained and equipped with a small portable PC containing

digital livelihood content, mobile internet connectivity, a digital camera, mobile

phone and light equipment such as a weight measurement machine, a blood

pressure machine or pregnancy test kits.

Now watch the DNet Infolady video (DNet, 2013; available from the

Multimedia listing).

Note down some of the key strategies being used to address the needs

of the poor, and in particular the multiple ways in which the Infolady plays the role of a „knowledge intermediary‟ (supported by programme experts and making use of ICTs) in order to make a positive contribution

to the lives of the poor.

Answer

The Infolady model helps marginalised citizens (specifically women) overcome structural constraints and creates opportunities for informed

choice through access to information at the doorstep (combined with

relevant services and products) thereby improving the general condition of living.

The Infolady resides in the rural communities and works from her home. She forms numerous groups each comprising 12–15 members and serves target

citizens on their doorstep as well. She plans hour-long enlightening sessions

with her groups at an agreed venue once a week. At these sessions, she covers matters such as reproductive health care, agriculture, entitlement,

and education. At the same time she promotes her services and products (consumer goods, such as agricultural seeds or basic health testing

services). She meets about 1–2 groups per day. After the sessions, she also promotes her products and services on the doorstep.

A social enterprise institution at her locality called „Infolady Hub‟ provides local

networking, social protection, supply of products and mentors the Infoladies to

enable them to enhance their business and service quality. They also connect

Infoladies with financial institutions for access to financial resources and with other

stakeholders.

With the rapid growth in access to mobile phones what adjustments do

you think would be possible to further enhance the model presented in this example?

Page 64: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 48

Knowledge for development and the technology transfer model

Knowledge for development incorporates important concepts from the modernisation

and neoliberal development paradigms, in particular, the importance given to

knowledge and technology transfer. For example, the main emphasis of the

knowledge for development strategy is on the benefits to be obtained from

transmission of a vast and rapidly growing stock of globally available knowledge to

the developing world. It is argued that poor countries do not need to recreate the

existing knowledge of advanced countries. Instead, developing countries should seize

the opportunity of acquiring already available knowledge. Although it was

acknowledged that developing countries can only take advantage of the large stock

of global knowledge if they adapt it to their own needs and circumstances,

adaptation along with knowledge creation received relatively little attention overall.

Knowledge for development is mainly concerned with dissemination and exchange

This development strategy sees successful knowledge dissemination as heavily

influenced by the policies and institutions needed for markets to function properly –

such as policies to facilitate open access and exchange of informat ion and

knowledge. For the most part, reflecting the neoliberal view of development,

knowledge creation is seen as the job of business and, to some extent, public sector

research institutions. Governments have a key role as intermediaries in this process

by setting in place policies that enable open access to information, to foreign

investment and multinational business that will stimulate knowledge transmission

and knowledge spillovers through training and exchange among business partners.

3.1.4 Mobile penetration, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

© Nigel Poole

Source: unit author

Page 65: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 49

Knowledge creation by international organisations was also identified as important in

closing knowledge gaps. International development institutions were assigned a key

role in creating and codifying knowledge about development – about which policies

and projects work and why. The goal of this knowledge management is to codify and

exchange development experience internationally and to make it possible for

developing countries to access and use it.

Thus, knowledge for development is firmly situated in the neoliberal, pro-market

view of development and carries forward a healthy dose of modernisation theory in

its optimism that a stock of knowledge is already on the shelf and can be readily

transmitted from advanced to developing countries. A benign view of globalisation is

also central to the concept of knowledge for development which signalled the rapid

expansion and falling costs of electronic communications technologies as setting the

stage for a new leap forward in development. The capacity of telecommunications

and computing to facilitate the transmission of knowledge anywhere in the world was

hailed in the World Bank report as offering developing countries unprecedented

opportunities to widen the range of opportunities for business and the poor. As the

report noted:

„One of the greatest hardships endured by the poor, and by many others

who live in the poorest countries is their sense of isolation. The new

communication technologies promise to reduce that sense of isolation,

and to open access to knowledge in ways unimaginable not long ago.‟

Source: World Bank (1998) p. 9.

ICTs for development – ICT4D

The emergence of knowledge for development as a strategy is closely associated with

the growth of organisations now wholly engaged with the use of ICTs for

development and the development of new ICT applications to meet development

goals – referred to as ICT4D or e-development. ICTs represent a wide diversity of

technologies, not just the internet, as 3.1.5 indicates. Together with the World

Bank‟s strategy presented in its report Knowledge for Development, several major

initiatives were launched from around the start of the new millennium including the

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKPF, n.d.), the United Nations Task Force on ICT

(which ran until 2005), and the DOT-Force, a collaboration among international aid

organisations, national governments, industry and civil society members. The

majority of international development organisations have since included projects

focused on ICTs in their programming.

Page 66: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 50

3.1.5 What are ICTs?

ICTs are not just the internet. The term refers to a wide array of technologies that can

be used to capture and communicate information, both old and new. ICTs include

conventional telephones (including public pay phones) as well as mobile telephones.

Television and radio are also included. ICTs have been classified into different categories

but are increasingly converging to provide multiple applications in a single piece of

equipment. Examples include:

- internet, networks

- phones of all types

- television and radio

- cameras

- application software

- CD-ROMs, DVDs and Blu-Ray.

Source: unit author

ICT4D originated from cross-fertilisation among proponents of the knowledge for

development strategy, the ICT industry and development experts concerned about

ICTs bypassing the poor. As a development strategy, ICT4D has much in common

with knowledge for development with the difference that, instead of knowledge, ICTs

are seen as the tangible entry point for leveraging benefits for the poor.

A vision of ICTs as a revolutionising development tool and a platform for an entirely

new kind of development was deduced in part from the successes of fast -growing

countries that adopted e-development policies in the late 20th century, including

India, China, Korea, Ireland, Taiwan, Malaysia and Finland. Their experience is cited

as evidence of the market for ICTs catalysing unprecedented rates of growth that

could enable poor countries to dispense with the early stages of

industrialisation/modernisation and quickly „leapfrog‟ and catch up with the rest of

the world. Stimulating the penetration of ICT infrastructure, technologies and

training to remote areas and the poor was perceived as a key stimulus to

development and poverty reduction. Changes in internet usage in a very poor

country, Burkina Faso, are presented in 3.1.6: usage has grown significantly between

2000 and 2014 which is impressive, but the overall percentage penetration is still

very, very low.

Page 67: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 51

3.1.6 Internet usage statistics, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Internet usage in Burkina has

grown nine-fold in 9 years. By 2009 penetration had reached 0.9%.

Internet usage statistics: 808 065 internet users as of December 2013, 4.4% of the

population, according to ITU (n.d.)

Latest population estimate: 18 365 123 population for 2014, according to US Census

Bureau (n.d.)

Gross National Income: GNI per capita is US$ 684 (2013) according to the World Bank

Country area: 274 200 sq km

Internet usage and population growth:

Year Users Population %

penetration Usage source

2000 10 000 15 712 000 0.1 % ITU

2007 80 000 15 264 735 0.5 % ITU

2009 140 000 15 746 232 0.9 % ITU

2014 808,065 18 365 123 4.4% ITU

Source: Internet World Stats (2015)

In recent years, the argument that market forces will drive ICT4D has been boosted

by the massive uptake of mobile phones across the developing world, with 65.9% of

the population in sub-Saharan Africa having subscriptions by 2013. The proposal that

multinational companies should explore market entry at the bottom of the income

pyramid (BOP) was mooted in a seminal paper titled „The fortune at the bottom of

the pyramid‟ that defined a target group of potential customers with incomes of less

than US$1500 per year (Prahalad & Hart, 2002). The paper argued that the

multinationals were ideally positioned to fight poverty by selling to the poor. This

contributed to an important shift in ICT4D by redefining the poor as customers rather

than just recipients of aid. Mobile phone expansion in low-income societies, described

in 3.1.7, showed how ICT technology can be sold to large numbers of poor people

and contribute to their employment and income generation.

Page 68: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 52

3.1.7 New customers

The World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental research group,

published a report with the International Finance Corporation entitled ‘The Next Four

Billion’ (Hammond et al, 2007), an economic study that looked at, among other things,

how poor people living in developing countries spend their money. One of the most

remarkable findings was that even very poor families invested a significant amount of

money in information — communication technology. According to Al Hammond, the

study’s principal author, this spending can include computers or landline phones but in

this segment of the population that is almost never the case. What they are buying, he

says, are mobile phones and airtime, usually in the form of prepaid cards. Even more

telling is the finding that as a family’s income grows — from $1 per day to $4, for

example — their spending on ICT increases faster than spending in any other category,

including health, education and housing. ‘It’s really quite striking,’ Hammond says.

‘What people are voting for with their pocketbooks, as soon as they have more money

and even before their basic needs are met, is telecommunications.’

Source: adapted from Corbett (2008)

Current thinking in ICT4D emphasises the importance of working simultaneously on

policy, institutions and human capabilities to capture the full benefits of ICTs. Since

2000, a more sophisticated view of ICT4D has emerged in parallel with the

redefinition of the digital divide, recognising that the physical infrastructure and

technologies on their own can have little development impact if the intended

beneficiaries perceive few advantages to expending scarce resources on t hem. To

remedy this situation, beneficiary participation in defining ICT applications and uses

has been injected into ICT4D. Participation requires the development of human

capabilities.

Partner institutions also need to be changed so that participation becomes part of

their agenda. In the ICT industry, participation is known as human-centred design,

employed by high-tech companies to figure out what features will make mobile

phones or laptops appealing and useful to customers. Several companies like

Microsoft and Motorola employ anthropologists to study customers who live in an

urban slum or rural village and find out how and why they are likely to use ICTs. In

public-sector development practice, the use of participatory rapid appraisal (PRA)

methodologies to sound out stakeholders on their goals for ICT projects is common.

This practice is important for obtaining stakeholder buy-in to proposed development

communication initiatives. Policies create the incentives for both private and public

sector actors to reach out to the poor as customers and clients, and for the poor to

invest in acquiring ICTs and related skills and knowledge.

Page 69: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 53

Section 3 Self-Assessment Questions

uestion 6

How does the „communication for development‟ strategy attempt to bridge the digital

divide?

uestion 7

What new idea did the knowledge for development strategy add to communication

for development? How important is knowledge creation and what are the roles of the

private sector and government in knowledge creation according to the knowledge for

development strategy?

uestion 8

Why does current thinking in ICT4D emphasise working simultaneously on policy,

institutions and human capabilities to capture the full benefits of ICTs?

Q

Q

Q

Page 70: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 54

UNIT SUMMARY

In this unit, we initially took a look at the future, and the way development is shaped

by use of ICTs and knowledge, and by different paradigms. The modernisation

paradigm of development put forward the transfer of technology model that was

reflected in MDG 8 and in the ICT4D strategy, both heavily focused on the transfer of

communications technologies. The transfer of technology model has been modified in

post-industrial and neoliberal thinking as expressed in the knowledge for

development strategy. Investment in technology transfer has to be accompanied by

the knowledge and skills needed for the poor to make effective use of ICTs. While

market forces are of pre-eminent importance, pro-poor benefits can be obtained with

careful project design that supports livelihood development, and considers ways of

engaging with the private sector.

Dependency theory argues that transfer of technology and knowledge from

developed to developing countries is likely to increase economic and cultural

dependency and impoverishment of those on the periphery of the global economy.

Nonetheless, communication and information have an important role in helping the

poor and disadvantaged to understand and contest dependency. The human capabilities

approach builds on this theoretical foundation with the argument that development

involves the freedom to choose among and the agency to act upon a broad range of

human rights and opportunities, and requires empowerment of the poor. The

„Infolady‟ case study from Bangladesh illustrated that, with an interesting knowledge

for development model that reflects efforts both to address digital and social divides

relating both to gender and exclusion. The model stimulates the emergence of a new

group of intermediaries making use of ICTs to provide access to knowledge.

Broadly speaking ICTs are being seen as an enabler of development goals, rather

than an end in themselves, though access and a widespread technical infrastructure

is important. Specific goals, such as MDG 8 and some of the SDGs, tend to reflect a

narrow „transfer of technology‟ paradigm, but this is changing. The SDG Target 9a

seems to support this enabling role: „Significantly increase access to information and

communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to

the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.‟ The role of ICTs and digital

technologies is developing, as issues of equity and inclusion are considered, and

increasingly their use is responding more to human-centred development paradigms.

However, there remains very little clear focus on the role of knowledge in the post-

2015 development agenda. On one level access to ICTs is increasing (particularly

with diffusion of mobile phones), but there is an increasing divide between what

users can afford to do, or are able to do, with the ICT devices that they can access.

Within the context of increasing globalisation and use of ICTs, the benefits of improving

knowledge and communications are neither automatic nor guaranteed by pure market

interventions. To address this development interventions are needed that include

strategies to ensure that benefits reach the poor, and explicitly shape the use of ICTs

and the roles of knowledge and communication in development with this end in view.

One of the overall aims of this course module, is to equip you with understanding

and insight into how best to design and implement development interventions, which

make appropriate use of ICTs to achieve equitable and inclusive development

outcomes. By the time you reach Units 8–10 you should have knowledge of theory

and practical insights that will help you to do this.

Page 71: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 55

UNIT SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

uestion 1

Discuss why this statement from Unwin (2009) might be correct or incorrect, using

the information in Sections 1 and 2: „The integration of ICTs more widely into the

“globalisation project” may have actually led to an accentuation of inequalities rather

than their reduction‟ (Unwin, 2009: p. 26).

uestion 2

Analyse in your own words the approach to development that guided the way ICTs

were used in the Infolady (Bangladesh) case presented in Section 3.

Q

Q

Page 72: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 56

KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS

agency A person‟s power to pursue their desired goals.

capabilities approach Rather than merely low income, this perspective sees

poverty as deprivation with respect to capabilities for

political freedom, economic opportunity, social

opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective

security. Each of these helps to advance the general

„capabilities‟ of a person.

dependency theory Dependency theory states that the development of the

industrialised economies in the West required the

exploitation of less developed societies and so created and

prolonged their underdevelopment. The rise of capitalism

generated an intrinsic division between rich and poor

countries as well as between the rich and poor within

developing countries.

development paradigms Widely held world views rooted in different sets of values

and beliefs that are used to explain historical patterns of

desirable social change. A development paradigm is an

explanation of how development change occurs.

development strategy Refers to plans and approaches designed to bring about the

desired developmental change in society.

digital divide Refers to the concern that global ICT expansion is

bypassing a large proportion of the world‟s population and

leaving the poor behind. The digital divide includes not only

inequality in access but inequalities in the knowledge, skills

and other resources required for people to be able to use

information and communications technologies (ICTS). The

digital divide not only separates rich and poor countries but

is found within countries, including countries which are

well-endowed with ICT infrastructure.

empowerment Improvement in a person‟s agency particularly having the

power of participation in action to effect social change.

globalisation Global integration in finance, production, consumption,

migration and the emergence of a global division of labour

throughout the world. Powered by the expansion of global

trade, globalisation involves flows of people, technologies,

financial resources and the exchange of knowledge and

culture facilitated by the expansion of electronic

communications.

MDG 8 This Millennium Development Goal entitled „Develop a

global partnership for development‟ specifies improving

access to information and communications technologies

(ICTS) as a target.

Page 73: P107 Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development › cedep › ipa › file68616.pdf · Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development ... Managing Knowledge and Communication

Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development Unit 1

© SOAS CeDEP 57

neoliberalism A policy perspective that espouses free markets as a means

of promoting economic development.

participatory approach An approach that prioritises involving stakeholders in

decision-making for planning, implementation and

evaluation of development change.

post-2015 development agenda

The debate and broad policy setting processes to establish

agreed goals for development, beyond the period of the

MDGs which come to an end in 2015. The new development

framework encompassed in the SDGs was adopted by the

UN in September 2015.

poverty trap A situation of being unable to escape poverty.

power The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively on one‟s

own behalf. Power also comprehends the ability to compel

others to do one‟s bidding even against their wishes or

interests.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The new global development goals for the period to 2030,

adopted by the UN in September 2015.

technological leapfrogging The notion that areas which have poorly developed

technologies and economies can move themselves forward

rapidly to a state of advanced ICT-application without going

through intermediary steps.

transfer of technology model

More developed societies or groups or more educated

individuals within countries transmit their knowledge and

technologies to less developed societies or groups or

individuals who are expected to adopt whatever is new to

them.