An Ideal ICT4D Strategy

Views on the role of ICT for development, examining both sides of the coin.

Using Information & Communication Technology 4 Development (ICT4D) purposes and social change has always been my passion. I am passionate about building and implementing technology products that really bring a positive change in the lives of people. To pursue this passion I have been working in the areas of ICT4D and innovation projects for the last 13 years with United Nations, Public humanitarian organizations and private sector at national and international levels.  Over these couple of years I have been working in the areas of ICT4D in developing countries, to address cross sectorial humanitarian challenges and have tried to elaborate strategies to better meet the exact needs in the different contextual environment. Throughout this period I have played different roles, starting from a developer to managing ICT4D projects and then from designing innovations & ICT4D solutions to strategizing and convincing organizations to pursue new approaches and basic ICT4D principles for having a more positive impact. During my career I have seen heart-breaking moments in the form of projects that have failed; while also keep enjoying and feel proud about a couple of them that have successfully been implemented. I have always found that technology is not always the main cause of failure, Well It might be for the sake of argument but in very rear cases. It’s all about taking the right approach and solution for matching the exact needs in the context of a working eco-system. I am writing and proposing this ICT4D strategy as a learning product throughout my carrier and I believe the success chance of ICT4D projects will increase if the methodology is applied professionally.

“A technological revolution is transforming society in a profound way. If harnessed and directed properly, Information Communications Technology (ICT) have the potential to improve all aspects of our social, economic and cultural life. ICTs can serve as an engine for development in the 21st century.”

Kofi Anan, Secretary General of United Nations, 1999

Views on the role of ICT for development are often two fold. ICT has always been seen having a positive and important role in achieving development goals. On the positive side, ICT, when adopted as one of many complementary strategies in development projects such as health, education and rural development, has the potential to empower communities with improved access to knowledge networks and services. On the other hand, as captured by the above quotations, any meaningful participation in this ICT ‘revolution’ is also challenged by very apparent challenges, imbalances and inequalities that currently characterize issues of ICT access and adoption. This part of the document will focus on key areas that Implementing Agency will need to consider for ICT4D projects in a country. It also addresses some critical success factors which enable ICT to be used successfully as a tool for development. Additionally, it will describe the different types of required resources, processes, knowledge and planning needed to have a functional and running ICT4D unit in the country office.

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About Author

Abdul Bari Farahi

Mr. Farahi is an ICT4D and innovations project management Specialist with over 12 years of technical & managerial working experience with UN, NGO’s and private sector in Asia, Africa and USA. He earned his MBA degree from university of northwest in USA in 2008 and holds a number of professional certificates such as Oracle, Microsoft, ESRI, PMP and PRINCE2. He is working as Technical Advisor of Digital Data Solutions, Mobile Data Collection and using Real-time data for Adaptive Programming with FHI 360 in Washington D.C.

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