Ottawa, Canada, January 2, 2008 – Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are powerful tools for reducing poverty, for combating HIV/AIDS, and for promoting good governance. At the Third Global Knowledge Forum (GK3) held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and its research partners showcased some of the innovative ways in which ICTs can foster human development. Some highlights are summarized below. For complete details about IDRC’s participation in GK3, visit www.idrc.ca/gk3.
BUILDING BASKETS TO REBUILD LIVES
Marginalized women in Malaysia are being given the opportunity to earn income by weaving or selling eco-baskets made from recycled paper. The IDRC-supported e-homemakers project is a community network that promotes working from home, teleworking, and the running of small office/home office businesses through the use of ICTs. Its Salaam Wanita project employs single mothers, homemakers, and disabled, disabled-dependent, low-income, and unemployed women to work out of their homes. (audio file)
DELIVERING SERVICES TO POOR RURAL AREAS
International communications consultant Seán Ó Siochrú talks about the challenges, and the rewards, of developing pilot e-communities in Cambodia. “Even poor communities are capable of building their own enterprises as cooperative enterprises, and thus create their own destinies.” (audio file)
IDRC VICE PRESIDENT AT PRESS CONFERENCE
The reach of ICTs in developing countries is likely underestimated, said IDRC’s Vice President of Programs, Rohinton Medhora, during a joint Microsoft, Global Knowledge Partnership, and IDRC press conference about their telecentre.org partnership at GK3 on December 12. While an estimated one billion people now have access to ICTs, countless more are indirectly touched by their effects, said Medhora. He highlighted the IDRC-funded AED-SATELLIFE project, which introduced personal digital assistants and training to healthcare providers in rural Mozambique. Though only a few people may be using the hand-held technology, hundreds more are touched by its effects, said Medhora.
E-HEALTH INITIATIVES IN UGANDA AND MOZAMBIQUE
Holly Ladd, of AED-SATELLIFE, describes how networks of hand-held computers and mobile phones support the efforts of rural healthcare workers. (audio file)
HOW ARE ICTS MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
IDRC’s Michael Clarke, Director of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) program and Laurent Elder, program leader for IDRC’s Pan Asia program reflect on the question: “How are ICTs making a difference?” (audio files in English and French)
INFORMATION FOR BETTER LIVES IN MONGOLIA
Ariunaa Lkhagvasuren, author of the Mongolia chapter in the latest edition of the Digital Review of Asia Pacific, speaks about the development of ICTs in her country and the outlook for the future. (audio file)
M.S. SWAMINATHAN ON ICTS AND DEVELOPMENT
Renowned agricultural scientist and the father of India’s Green Revolution, M.S. Swaminathan, talks about the important role that ICTs currently play in all sectors of development, and how they will continue to do so in years to come. (audio file)
NETWORKING FOR CHANGE
Dr. Shariq Khoja, professor of community health sciences at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, describes his work with IDRC partner PANACEA and explains the role of networks in fostering e-health in developing countries. (audio file)
NEW DIRECTIONS IN PUBLISHING
The Internet is radically changing the way books are published. Eve Gray, honourary research associate at the Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town, explains why Adobe Acrobat can set you dancing. (audio file)
PODCASTING IN AFRICA
We’ve all heard how mobile telephony is catching on in Africa. But many Africans have enthusiastically embraced another communication technology: the podcast. Listen as Abubaker Basajjabaka, program officer with Bellanet Africa, explains why. (audio file)
RECICLEMOS — BOLIVIAN RECYCLING PROJECT
What to do with electronic waste? Listen to Peter McFarren, president of IDRC partner Quipus Cultural Foundation of Bolivia, talk about the Foundation's latest project — a handy brochure and CD kit that explains how to recycle computer and other electronic equipment. (audio file)
Link to www.reciclemos.net.
ICTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
Rohan Samarajiva, executive director of LIRNEasia, describes how its pioneering research work is helping make communities more resilient in the face of disasters like tsunamis and cyclones. (audio file)
SHARING LOCAL WISDOM
Caroline Nyamai-Kisia, from the African Network for Health Knowledge Management and Communication (AfriAfya), explains how basic ICT tools make it easier to share health and development information in rural Kenya. (audio file)
Today, development practitioners recognize that modern technology can help improve the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. Often forgotten is that the poor and the disenfranchised can help improve modern technology. One paradox of the ICT revolution is that innovation can emerge from unexpected quarters. Ross O’Brien, with The Economist Intelligence Unit in Hong Kong, explains. (audio file)
USING ICTS TO COMBAT POVERTY IN LATIN AMERICA
ICTs are an important tool for combating poverty, and the poor are willing to spend a good portion of their meagre incomes to access and use technology, says Judith Mariscal, a professor at the Public Administration Department of the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economica (CIDE). (audio available in Spanish)
Michael Clarke, Director of IDRC’s ICT4D program and Laurent Elder, program leader for IDRC’s Pan Asia program look ahead to what’s next in the field of ICTs. (audio files in English and French)
Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is one of the world’s leading institutions in the generation and application of new knowledge to meet the challenges of international development. For almost 40 years, IDRC has worked in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies.
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