Technology and Local community Development

Technologies AND Local community Development


MARCH 2009


In modern world, technology has invaded a lot of areas of human lifestyle. From its gigantic impact on our training and experienced advancement, to the more delicate existence of little gizmos littering our houses, technology is nearly everywhere.

The reasons for these kinds of pervasiveness would boil down to some features that technology by itself possesses. One these kinds of characteristic, which is of significant curiosity to a lot of students, is the seeming lack of barriers to the unfold of technology. It very easily penetrates societies and even to distant communities, and at the time it reaches its location and catches on, it will become seemingly challenging to cease its unfold. As a final result of this, consumer technology like cellular telephones, pcs, PDAs, radios and televisions have come to be commonplace in areas like Africa, even with all the barriers a single would have envisaged.

Sadly, it does not need to have significantly investigation to notice that even while technology utilization is rising promptly in Africa, we nevertheless have a lot of developmental challenges in our continent. This is a scenario the place highly developed technology is coexisting with underdevelopment in Africa. With all the ability that technology wields, it will be a helpful physical exercise to analyze the strategies in which it can be utilized to solve some of all those really challenges it has come to meet. In essence, working with our little gizmos to solve our huge challenges.

This is the qualifications against which this analyze is carried out. Inquiring irrespective of whether our challenges can be solved at all, then enumerating cases the place advancement assignments that employ technology have been set to get the job done, and concluding by inspecting the circumstances and drawing lessons from them.



The boundaries to what the human intellect can conceive and obtain are rising. Far more discoveries have been built, more matters have been created, more theories have been proved and disproved, more machines have been built and more challenges have been created. Scientific technology has been the driving drive guiding all these. Science has in fact proved to be a powerful instrument which has touched a lot of men and women and has shaped a lot of communities.

In accordance to the Concise Oxford dictionary tenth version, technology is the application of scientific information for realistic purposes. Clearly from this definition we can see that scientific information could exist theoretically but it only will become technology when it is utilized in realistic configurations. For instance we could say the information of the rules of up-thrust and buoyancy is theoretical, nonetheless realistic utilization of these rules to manufacture airplanes could be termed aircraft technology.

Once more in accordance to the Concise Oxford dictionary tenth version, a community is the men and women of an area viewed as collectively, even though advancement is spelled out to indicate to expand or bring about to expand and come to be bigger or more highly developed. By deduction, community advancement could be spelled out to be the advancement or advancement of a group of men and women.

Right now, the world has come to be highly technological, and matters which in the seventies would have passed for science fiction are now so commonplace that they have nearly come to be necessities. From just about every corner of the world, technology has worldwide acceptance, it is ubiquitous and has the means to substantially change situations.

Any endeavor to ascribe reasons for this pervasiveness of technology will have a lot of tips, some of which are that machines have been proven more effective than people at some jobs, machines are less mistake prone, impartial and under no circumstances get exhausted like people. An additional could be the elevated sophistication of people and the attendant need to have for equally difficult messengers to help us perform a lot of jobs, which is joined to the intriguing character of technology that at the time a more highly developed way of performing something is identified, it will become nearly unthinkable to try to do it by “aged fashioned” implies.

With these kinds of big scale interaction of these and a lot of more things, there is little purpose to be amazed by the sudden emergence of computerized machines to handle the little jobs of aged cleansing flooring, washing outfits, chopping bread, mixing cake etcetera. the checklist goes on and on.

And that is significantly from all and the checklist of impressive alternatives is endless. In truth of the matter, some of these improvements have shaped the world and there are a lot of illustrations to cite. The discovery of electricity and the radio wave both of those altered the world. Right now, pcs are modifying the world even quicker. Now with cellular telephones, new prospects have come and our imagination has come to be the only limiting factor. We can only wait around for the subsequent huge thing to be created and who appreciates what it will be?

The image of technological advancement is not a fully rosy a single. In truth, there are some minuses to science as nicely, these kinds of as the introduction of new sorts of danger which come as a consequence of impressive sorts of technology, for instance the nuclear bomb came from nuclear technology, unexpected genetic mutations are as the final result of genetic engineering, and the a lot of and little talked about chemical substances which can wipe out the ozone or heat the world.

The seriousness of the disadvantages of technology have prompted some men and women to argue that technological advancement, which is an instance of scientific advancement, is building us more of highly developed entities but less of people. In other terms, we have come to be far better researchers, bankers and specialists and worse human beings. Martin Luther King puts this argument succinctly when he mentioned “Our scientific ability has outrun our religious ability, we have guided missiles and misguided males.”

The disadvantages that technology provides are concerns which demand severe evaluation to determine what can be accomplished to get rid of them or at minimum reduce their results due to the fact technology has certainly come to continue to be, and it would be to our gain to learn how to get the job done with it in strategies that will be the most advantageous to us.

But inspite of the disadvantages stated right here and the a lot of more unnamed, we have found that we can nevertheless derive a lot of rewards from science and presented that we stay in, or at minimum come from, a element of the world the place advancement is nevertheless a huge headache, we really should be the very first to start off a severe analyze of this phenomenon and see how most effective we can use it to our gain. We could be amazed to see that there is a wonderful viability in working with our little gizmos to solve our huge challenges.

Let us make it very clear that the intention of this paper is not to present technology as the magic cure that will very clear our multitude of challenges in a whiff, technology on your own will not solve Africa’s challenges due to the fact our challenges are way too elaborate, way too deep and way too frustrating for any simplistic plan to be effective. We can only obtain good results when if have a more comprehensive solution to the difficulty, to include good determination to severe study, establishment of the acceptable buildings, and the having of required initiatives. It will be incorrect to presume that technology in itself is inherently great, and just utilizing it on your own will be enough to obtain any great result3. Though technology could be able to do anything at all, men and women must have the eyesight to travel it in the correct way.

Only with this information can we make any significant gains in the advancement agenda.

In our individual context, Africa has proved that highly developed technology could coexist with underdevelopment. People have satellite televisions even though there are no academics in the classrooms, we have cell gadgets and pocket PCs and gadgets but our streets are nevertheless not named adequately, there is nevertheless a big quantity of illiterates amid the men and women who own and use cell telephones, spreading of healthcare information and facts is nevertheless a obstacle even while a large amount of men and women have obtain to radio and Television set. This sorry checklist is endless.


CAN TECHNOLOGY Genuinely Address OUR Challenges?

From healthcare, obtain to h2o and lifestyle expectancy, to governance, industrialization and even the quality of human lifestyle, there are a lot of challenges confronting African communities.

Right now we are mentioned to be living in the information and facts age, an period the place obtain to information and facts is the new driving drive of the world. The proliferation of the Internet and Earth Wide Internet has lessened the total world to a huge audience with unprecedented obtain to vast portions of information and facts. This communication is unencumbered and the formation of alliances is unhindered by physical distance, national or political borders4. With all the dynamics that this modernity provides, technology stands tall as a favorite to obtain any significant sustainable advancement for a lot of reasons.

Principal amid these kinds of reasons is the fact that there is improved awareness of underdevelopment amid Africans by themselves, which could be because of to the information and facts age, and an improved belief that our situations can be turned all over. This is markedly diverse from a long time back when there was a large amount of resignation and despair amid black specialists. Proof to assist this would be the observation that significantly more assumed is being directed at the Africa integration agenda and better attention being paid out to the Financial partnership agreements (EU- ECOWAS).

An additional positive indicator is the rising quantity of skilled and proficient technological specialists on the deal with of the continent. Granted, the improved quantities by by themselves will not be a great indicator, but with the holistic solution talked about previously, a single can see a indicator of hope which reveals that there is really superior prospective for good results in a nicely while out plan to employ technology to solve our developmental challenges.

An additional great issue is the personal get the job done that is being carried out by diverse groups working with diverse strategies (reports of the indigenous chieftaincy method for e.g.) at attempting to solve the exact same challenges. This is very clear proof to point out that beyond the degree of determination, there have been true tries at difficulty solving. Even if some of these kinds of tries have not been effective because of to the a lot of problems in the way, the encounters have been obtained and lessons have been drawn from them which would be utilized for long term use.

Last but not least there are areas the place significant strides have presently been built in Africa. Data display for instance that there have been amazing advancements in lady student enrollments in areas like Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia5. This is certainly a feather in our cap and these kinds of areas could serve as boosters to deal with the remaining darkish places.

All these suggest that we may be closer than at any time to solving our challenges, and all that could be left will be a couple of large pushes forward.

This is the place technology comes into the image. It is the a single thing that looks to know no barriers, catches on very easily and has the ability to remodel even the most remotely inaccessible locations on earth to budding business cities. It is ubiquitous. Its improvements speed up by the month. As a final result, it is the most probable instrument to obtain anything at all significant.

In the early 90’s, students described Africa as being left in a technological apartheid six. Right now nonetheless, with elevated globalization perhaps a slightly far better image can be painted. Even while Africa is not in the league of the innovators of the most novel initiatives and we could not be building as great use of technologies as we should to, or as some other people are, we would nevertheless have something positive to report. For instance, in some circumstances, Africa really has similar human and hardware methods. Therefore, “apartheid” would no for a longer period be a specific definition of the scenario as it stands.

As mentioned previously in this paper, technology on your own will not solve our challenges. But with really severe concerns working with active participation, a comprehensive and nicely while out plan that incorporates technology will be a really viable answer.

However having a glance at all the tries built so significantly and their attendant problems and results if any, a single could say confidently that will all the appropriate accompanying compliments, technology will built really significant gains in spurring the advancement agenda on.


HOW IS TECHNOLOGY Staying Used TO Remedy Challenges?

Across a lot of nations all over the world, men and women have built severe strides at using technological information to solve all method of challenges. Several concerns have arisen out of these kinds of tries, and down below are really transient summaries of some of all those areas the place realistic scientific information has been utilized for the advancement of the community. ELECTIONS

In Africa’s new governance history, elections have always been a obstacle. It is difficult to obtain a completely free and honest voting physical exercise, even though contested elections, unfair processes, non clear irregularities and uncomplicated ineffectiveness are commonplace. With a qualifications of poverty, it is not way too challenging to understand why the stakes are so superior in African politics and why ability is really beneficial in this element of the world.  This not withstanding nonetheless, there is a great quantity of unrests that could have been avoided if any election is proven to be honest, free and clear to an appreciable degree.

Attaining this great degree has proved challenging for reasons of the elaborate interaction of some things which include, a governing administration founded electoral fee, a winner usually takes all location, and no enthusiasm to commit to the correct virtues. Knowing that ability is so beneficial when you come from this winner usually takes all location, it is actually difficult to allow go of control of the electoral procedure. This is a single enthusiasm for the dishonourable functions that however we see very often.

Due to the fact elections are highly involving and they demand elaborate systems that span a sequence of locations (from a voter’s dwelling to the polling station, the collation middle, the electoral fee headquarters, the public domain and back to the voter’s dwelling), It follows that except if you are attempting to make public exhibition of your nefarious action, you would need to have to be tactical to be effective at these kinds of dishonorable functions. The ways employed could fluctuate but they invariably entail sequence of functions that are intended to protect against information and facts from finding into the public domain. So that for instance, figures could be altered anytime so long as the primary and reliable types do not get into the palms of the public.

If democratic leadership were genuinely understood, there will be no endeavor at election rigging. But due to the fact we are currently not in that great phase, election monitoring is a single instrument we can exploit to at minimum slash the means for cheating.

Cellular mobile phone technology is being utilized in election monitoring in some African nations less than a new method of election monitoring known as “parallel reporting”. Parallel reporting is merely an solution to election monitoring whereby independent observers unfold news of the votes counted at the essential degree, which is the polling station. The figures are then relayed to an independent middle the place they are collated and cross checked with formal figures announced by the electoral fee.

One gain of this plan is found that it will make it ever more challenging for an electoral fee to endeavor to fraudulently sway the success in the favour of any of the contesting events. The spreading or relaying of the success figures are accomplished mostly with cell telephones. Senegal is an instance of a place the place this undertaking has been effective.

3.2       Health care

The data obtained from healthcare study are intriguing. Figures display that a big quantity of the world’s HIVAIDS troubled men and women stay in Africa. At the exact same time, a single of the rising markets for consumer electronics these kinds of as cell gadgets, handheld Laptop etcetera could be identified right here in Africa. This represents a inhabitants overlap, and it is only prudent that some amount of study has been directed toward trying to obtain strategies to incorporating technology in the treatment method of the a lot of disorders on the deal with of the continent7.

Tuberculosis (TB) has long been acknowledged to be a single of the deadliest disorders acknowledged to guy. Apart from the menace that this highly infectious bacterial condition presents to human lifestyle, it also enjoys some further notoriety for lowering the sufferer’s immune method to make it straightforward for other disorders, which could have various levels of harmfulness, to assault the sufferer.

As if that were not enough, TB has a deadly pattern of mutating at the minimum scenario of drug non adherence. Therefore any TB caregiver appreciates that a client who demonstrates non compliance with drug rules is obviously not intrigued in finding healed. As a final result of this, about the several years, strategies to enforce religious adherence of medicine have been experimented with but good results has mostly eluded caregivers.

In South Africa, there is a really laudable undertaking, the SimPill’s award-winning Adherence Technique undertaking, which employs a actual-time administration method to enhance adherence to drugs recommended to address serious health problems – particularly tuberculosis, which is a significant bring about of demise of men and women living with HIV.

3.3       SOCIAL Challenges

Really serious assignments that employ technology to handle social concerns have been carried out in South Africa. One these kinds of thought named Fahamu’s Umn Yango (this means ‘doorway’ in isiZulu) has been carried out to curb domestic violence by equipping men and women with cell telephones as resources to keep track of and report abuse. Under this plan, victims use cell telephones to call a predefined and well-known quantity and give information of the abuse.

The worry of being victimized has always built it challenging for victims, witnesses or kinfolk to action up and lodge grievances to the pertinent authorities. There are illustrations of areas the place men and women experienced documented abuses and experienced been picked on by the abuser. We have experienced mates of a target reporting an abuse of their close friend only to go dwelling to be abused by themselves by their spouses as punishment for “poking their noses in other people’s business”. These great citizens were built to shell out the value for exposing a incorrect thing.  

This worry has been completely removed less than this undertaking due to the fact of the provision of anonymity, the telephone call could be built in mystery, and even the information of the reporter are not always required. This is a sharp contrast to the scenario in the earlier the place victims, neighbours, or witnesses were required to walk into a law enforcement station to make a formal report.

Apart from successes chalked in the quantity of studies that are received, there has also been a reduction in the quantities of abuse circumstances. This could be partly because of to the deterring experience amid would-be abusers that, any passerby holding a cell mobile phone may just make certain they get a pay a visit to from a law enforcement detective for husband or wife battering.


Technologies has also been set to great use in farming.

Farmers who rear cattle in compact herds, about time, create a individual marriage with the animals, the farmer appreciates all of them and can detect a lacking animal or a sick a single with just a glance. However, due to the fact it usually takes months of careful observation of the behaviour of just about every cow to know just about every animal nicely enough to take take note when there is an infection or when an animal does not ruminate adequately, this process would be ineffective if it were carried out by a human shepherd with a big herd.

To remedy this scenario, the technology of vocal tags has been designed in Europe. This undertaking employs a tag, which is a belt equipped with sensors and worn all over each individual animal’s neck. These sensors keep track of many indicators these kinds of as the animal’s amount of rumination, voice clarity, digestion and respiration and ship the details gathered to a central computer.

Over time the computer appreciates what is standard for just about every cow and will notify the shepherd when something goes incorrect with a cow.

The gain of this undertaking is that a farmer can take fast and unique motion like providing treatment method to the individual animal associated. This removes the need to have to give normal treatment plans to the total herd, which is both of those time and revenue squandering.

These are some of the strategies that technology is being utilized toward elevated advancement.



No subject how promising an thought or undertaking sounds, there are sure to be challenges encountered in the deployment of the undertaking. In reaching the over assignments, next are some of the challenges a single is most likely to be faced with:

In the election monitoring system, misinformation has been discovered to be a single of the challenges starring the system in the deal with. It is correct that when all the information and facts is not localized in the palms of governing administration, then a large amount more transparency will be obtained, but it is also correct that mass misinformation remains an uncomfortable chance.

An additional difficulty could occur when there is a scenario the place men and women do not essentially have faith in the degree of independence of the so known as independent observers. It could direct to a difficulty the place events could solid a slur on the track record of the observers so as to use the ensuing mistrust to established the phase for a possible rejection of the success.

Total this is a laudable thought and if a implies of verification were additional, the figures would indicate significantly more to a large amount of men and women.

Although celebrating the successes chalked, it is important to take note that a quantity of other things needed to development just before a point out could move toward a more democratic product of governance. In accordance to African political pro, Sheldon Gellar, these improvements include: strengthening independent media, rising and making certain flexibility of civil culture, decentralizing ability, ceding more control to nearby governments, empowering women of all ages and increasing judicial techniques to make certain independence and ability to punish.

Governance is a single area that is established to reap some rewards of this phenomenon when utilized judiciously, unilateral rule and arbitrary motion could be lessened toward a more participatory solution to leadership in Ghana

Technologies could help obtain all those ambitions to some extent, as communication was the important to beating oppression.

In some of the circumstances, these kinds of as the election monitoring or domestic violence reporting, the internet could be utilized to supply communities with implies to connect, to manage and receive great information and facts which is not controlled by the governing administration. However, this is not realistic in Africa due to the fact only a very small share of Africans have economical obtain to internet.

In the healthcare undertaking, essential mismanagement has been discovered as a single of the reasons why a lot of assignments feel to skid to halt soon after being piloted. Necessary cash are not always available to all those who need to have them.

An additional difficulty noticed was that the men and women who will be working with the undertaking are not always consulted in the planning and preparing of the suggestions, so there is a lack of communication between beneficiaries, wellness specialists, technologists, and supervisors.

An additional difficulty was the theft of cell telephones. Although cell telephones are a comparatively lower-cost technology, they nevertheless hold sizeable value in poverty-stricken areas, and are frequently stolen. And, these kinds of theft is most likely to increase as these gadgets come to be more and more elaborate. However this is very debatable due to the fact some analysts argue that dropping a cell mobile phone to a thief is less of a monetary decline than dropping a more pricey device.

In the domestic violence undertaking a single stumbling block was the communication hole between the various events associated in the method. Feed-back was mostly lacking and men and women could not inform irrespective of whether their enter was helpful – or received, and in some circumstances, law enforcement officers who get messages reporting violence against women of all ages could not be prepared to reply.

An additional difficulty was the regrettable scenario the place some unscrupulous men and women built the get the job done more challenging for the authorities by increasing bogus alarms. This could be dealt with by training and the incorporation of punitive actions.

However to use powerful punitive actions, even more highly developed technology will be required, for instance to pinpoint a individual cell mobile phone subscriber, and take motion against them like blocking their Subscriber Id Module (SIM) Playing cards etcetera.

And the standard difficulty of funding in a lot of assignments is at any time present as nicely, and it is the more predominant a single in the animal rearing undertaking.



Granted, there are problems that exist in working with technology to obtain advancement ambitions, but these kinds of attempts nevertheless hold wonderful prospective and the expenses of any obstacle will not stand in comparison to the menace of underdevelopment and poverty. So we can only try to get the job done more challenging at these kinds of remedies.

Our advancement tries and attempts really should assume more seriously about sustainability and scalability. One important thing to consider in this way is the affordability of the programmes we plan and create. The more economical choices have a bigger opportunity of good results, so the fact that most of the advancement assignments do not demand any extraordinarily elaborate or new gizmos is in fact nice to take note.

Also in the course of the creation and deploying of any undertaking, enough session really should be carried out to make certain that there is a normal buy-in into the thought from the creators to the beneficiaries. This will make an thought command a frequent sense of ownership.

The quality of the administration really should also be improved and actions really should be set in area to make certain the correct matters are accomplished.

Figuring out the difficulty is fifty percent the answer. We presently now have better awareness and we have built some tries at solving them. Placing our functions together to attract the lessons and re-strategizing with a new solution -technology, is certainly the way to go. I am assured of the viability of this new solution.


1         Steere M. Mobile telephones promise fairer elections in Africa. Cable Information Community [On the internet]2009. Offered from Accessed 2009 Feb six.

2         Wikipedia.[online]2009.
Offered from Assesed 2009 March 27

3         Macha N. Will Technology solve Africa’s challenges?. Worldwide Voices On the internet[On the internet]2009. Offered from Accessed 2009 Feb six.

4         Finnis A.J. Finding out in the Details Age.Twinisles[On the internet]2009.
Offered from Accessed 2009 March 27

five Kitetu, C. Gender in Training: An overview of acquiring developments in Africa.
Offered from Accessed 2009 March 27

six Castells M. Details Technology Globalization and Social Development.[Summary]. In UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 114.September 1999.p11.

seven Walvaren K. Did you say cell telephones for advancement? Affiliation for Progressive Communications.[On the internet]2007.Offered from Accessed 2009 Feb six.