Communication for Development (C4D)

C4D and ICTs

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© UNICEF/UGDA201300571/Proscovia Nakibuuka
Uganda, 2013: Youth using the digital-drum (a rugged computer) at BOSCO Uganda, an ICT-enabled youth centre that aims at increasing access to information-sharing technologies for rural schools and communities.

New information and communication technologies (ICTs) have advanced in unprecedented ways over the past decade. They are increasingly driving and supporting community level changes as well as local, national and global economies and international development efforts. ICTs can support Communication for Development (C4D)'s emphasis on horizontal communication models that aim to facilitate participation, inclusion and empowerment.

ICTs are transforming lives by reducing vulnerabilities, such as costly and sometimes dangerous travel, while increasing access to health care, education and information. For example, countries such as Uganda, Senegal and Brazil have increased child birth registration  by empowering community workers with mobile technologies. ICTs are also being employed to increase the reach of oral rehydration salts therapy (ORS), a low-tech, effective solution for and protection against diarrhoea. 

Given the growth in ICT access and use, it is important for agencies to understand and consider how these tools, if used appropriately and with proper planning, monitoring and evaluation, can enhance engagement, increase impact, improve information management, lower costs and expand reach.


Tech Girls Reporting on Sanitation in Their School - webstory

Social, cultural, economic and political traditions and systems that prevent girls all over the world from fully achieving their rights present a formidable challenge to development organizations. C4D programming is well placed to confront the roots of this discrimination by engaging individuals, communities and decision makers in a process of social transformation. ICTs offer C4D programming new opportunities to break down the norms and values that persistently deprive girls of their basic rights, allowing for the promotion of a plurality of voices at various levels.

Example from the field: Kampala, 13 March 2012 – U-report, a new communications technology developed by UNICEF Uganda and launched in May 2011, is revolutionizing social mobilization, monitoring and response efforts to address human rights issues throughout the country. In doing so, it is also equipping legions of mobile phone users with the tools to establish and enforce new standards of transparency and accountability in development programming and the delivery of services.


U-Report: Revolutionary Technology for Development (T4D) from UNICEF Uganda
U-Report Website

What are ICTs?

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can include the whole range of technologies used for communication.  They include the Internet, the PC and the mobile phone which enable applications like the World Wide Web, email, blogs, electronic archives, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Orkut and other social networking websites where multi-media content can be accessed and shared.


Some definitions of ICT include ‘old’ or ‘traditional’ electronic media, such as radio and television, because digitization provides opportunities for various media to work together as a suite of media channels to achieve a particular information and communication objective. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and digital Geographical Information Systems (GIS), or digital mapping can be included in the list of ICT tools as well.


Along with this great potential comes barriers that can prevent the most marginalized groups from accessing ICTs, including age, gender, disability, literacy, capacity, cost and connectivity.


What is ICT4D?

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) refers to the application of information and communication technologies, including the Internet and mobile phone, video and audio, to development goals and poverty reduction. The field is relatively new, since the late 1990s when infrastructure began to expand telecommunications into poor and remote areas and development organizations invested in ‘telecentres’ to provide ICT-enabled services to poor communities. In the last few years, with the expansion of mobile networks, the field has expanded and evolved rapidly.


 

 

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