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Reaching the unreached: how can we use information and communication technologies to empower the rural poor in the developing world through enhanced access to relevant information?

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Arunachalam, Subbiah (main author / M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India)
Journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois Box: 147
Subject Term:
computers, developing countries, development, development programs, India, information, information issues, rural development, technological advancement, technology transfer, information technology, information access, communication technology
This article originally was a paper presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions' (IFLA) General Conference, Aug. 18-24, 2002, in Glasgow, Scotland., 10 p., Often funding agencies and donor governments face the question should they support information and communication technology (ICT) activities in their development projects. Should the money be invested in computers and communication devices or will it be better spent on food, shelter, health and education? The choice need not be "either/or." If used intelligently and innovatively, ICTs can form an integral component of developmental projects, as is shown by the award-winning Information Village project of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. The important point to remember is that one does not have to use technology because it is there, but one uses it if there is a genuine advantage. In any developmental program, people and their contexts should decide how one goes about implementing developmental interventions. The needs of the people and the best means to satisfy them should determine the whole program. Often ICT-based development projects do not bring in the expected results because of undue emphasis on technology. Against this background, the factors that led to the success of the Pondicherry experience are analyzed.