Examples of ICT projects and poverty reduction

August 4, 2006

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The following examples of ICT projects meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have been commonly accepted by the international community as a framework for measuring development progress. Information on MDGs can be accessed at the United Nations or World Bank sites.

MDG goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Smart card and the poor

Sangam Krishi Sangam (SKS) is a micro credit project in one of the poorest parts of India-the drought-prone Medak District. SKS has developed a robust backend management information system through the use of a smart card to record details of savings and loans. The use of a smartcard enables data collected at the field level to flow seamlessly to top management. Staff, many with only 5 to 6 years of schooling, are able to easily record data on the smart card through the use of a handheld computer.

Smart Cards eliminate the need for manual collection sheets and passbooks. This means that SKS staffers can thereby multiply their client load to help the micro finance project achieve financial sustainability more quickly. Additional benefits of the Smart Card include more flexible financial services and stronger financial controls.

For more details, visit http://www.sksindia.com/

Access to real time information

E-choupal is a web portal which allows the farmers in India to check both futures prices around the world and local prices before going to market. Access to the Internet via satellite and solar panels provides information about local weather conditions, soil-testing techniques and other expert knowledge that will increase their productivity.

There are 3,000 internet access points in India, serving 18,000 villages, reaching up to 1.8 million farmers. E-choupals have already reduced ITC’s transaction costs and the quality of the soybeans purchased through the portal buys is better. As e-choupals continue expanding to other crops like wheat, the returns will be greater.

Story from the New York Times, ‘Internet transforms farming in India Rural savvy in a global market’ By Amy Waldman, Friday, January 2, 2004

For more details, visit http://www.digitaldividend.org/case/case_echoupal.htm

Stockholm Challenge Award winner 2006: ICT eChoupal

MDG goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Katha’s poverty alleviation through IT initiative

The project combines educational programs with IT tools to educate the children of the rural poor in computer-based technologies. Katha’s IT project focuses on street children. It helps break class and caste barriers by expanding the reach of English into poorer communities. Katha’s innovative curriculum combines leadership training, holistic learning and IT skills with traditional subject learning.

For more details, visit http://www.katha.org/

Uganda’s VSAT school-based Telecentre project

The project uses earth-satellite VSAT technology in Uganda to connect schools and communities to Internet to access knowledge, educational resources to break isolation and thus foster development opportunities. The earth-satellite VSAT technology is deployed in remote communities that could not use dial-up or spread spectrum to access Internet services. A network of 15 sites in isolated areas has been developed.

For more details, visit http://www.schoolnetuganda.sc.ug/

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Use of mobile phones for inter-city marketing for women entrepreneurs in India

This project in India used mobile phones to enable community based women organizations to promote inter-city direct sales of products made by artisans and skilled workers. On an average, the production groups made a profit of Rs 1,100 (approx $25) in the first month of operation and the marketing groups made a profit of Rs 605 (approx $12) during the first month of operation.

For more details, visit http://www.xlweb.com/intercity

Dimitra Project – rural women and development

Dimitra is an ICT project that aims to highlight rural women’s contribution to their communities and their countries. The project seeks to promote information exchange, and to update and disseminate information on gender and rural development issues. The Dimitra database is accessible in both French and English. It contains profiles on organisations based in Europe, Africa, and the Near East that have organised projects or programmes involving or concerning rural women and development.

Dimitra values local knowledge and works closely with local partners participation to exchange information about good practices, ideas, and experiences.

For more details, visit http://www.fao.org/sd/2002/PE1201_en.htm

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality &
Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Computerised health records

The Naujhil Integrated Rural Development Project for Health and Development in India seeks to emancipate women and children below the poverty line. To alleviate poverty, backward villages in rural Uttar Pradesh were organized to find solutions which will solve their problems for food security by water harvesting, genetic improvement of milch animals, cottage industries for self help groups with micro credit schemes, awareness programs for those below poverty line. This is an emphasis on skill development and non-formal education.

PCs are used in the Family Planning Program in two areas with a population of 40,000. Computerised health records enable the due date for vaccination is given to the village health worker so that when they reach the village they do not have to look for the users. Other data are computerised and are used for pregnancy detection.

For more details, visit http://www.nirphad.org/health.htm

Creating local digital health content in Ghana

Participants expressed the need for more generation and dissemination of medical content by health workers using Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to improve the quality of health care delivery in Ghana.

Bryan Pearson of Medical Education Resource Africa (Mera) a neutral carrier of continuing medical information for physicians and other health professional in Africa, said health professionals need information in order to improve the quality of health care and that CME is a must for the development of health delivery in Africa.

For more details, visit: http://www.iicd.org

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

HIV/AIDS eForums

Health & Development Networks (HDN) through its HIV/AIDS eForums seeks to promote a more effective response to HIV/AIDS and other health-and-development-related issues by improving information, communication and the quality of debate. The HIV/AIDS eForums initiative uses electronic networking to increase the number of voices and perspectives in the preparation and follow-up to major HIV/AIDS conferences.

For more details, visit http://www.hdnet.org/

Radio was used to promote Aids awareness

The entire programme was presented by children with their music. The Deputy Provincial Director for Women and Social Affairs was invited as a special guest. He answered questions raised by the young journalists on children’s specific vulnerability, on HIV/AIDS and on orphans. He also briefed the radio audience on the actions and priorities of the provincial authorities to remove the barriers affecting the well-being of children in Mozambique.

For more details, visit http://aidsradio.oneworld.net

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental sustainability

Using audio and video to capture their local problems
To enable members of a community to acknowledge their human capacity and address common mental health problems in order to improve their social, economic, cultural and ecological environment.

The community use audio and video to capture their local problems (on mental health) and feed the outputs back to the community via loudspeakers, radio, cable television.

This case makes interesting use of audio and video technology to empower local communities. While it is not using the latest technology it is proving how ICTs can give a voice to a community and bring a community to a common understanding of their problems.

For more details, visit http://www.sustainableicts.org/ACISAM.htm

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Jhai Foundation’s Internet Learning Centers in Laos

Jhai Foundation’s Internet Learning Centers are located in schools but are open for for-profit activity after school and on weekends. The Centers aim to be self supporting through fees generated by private training, Internet calls, e-mail and photos, and provision of business services.

For more details, visit http://www.jhai.org/learningcenter.htm
For the interim technical report

The Urban Poor Consortium in Indonesia

UPC’s mission is to work with marginalised groups to develop strong community organisations and networks. The UPC, in collaboration with local communities, has recently launched three radio stations with a broadcast range of approximately 10-kilometres. The community centres are used as the station bases, and are usually managed by young people and the unemployed of the community. Programs broadcast have covered religion, health, political (land rights and updates on the community’s on-going court battles), education and entertainment. Future programs plan to address substance abuse and domestic violence.

For more details, visit http://www.urbanpoor.or.id/

Courtesy of the Australian Development Gateway