A Framework to Assess Participation and Empowerment Impacts of ICT4D Projects

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Community participation in ICT-for-development (ICT4D) is sometimes portrayed as a ‘magic bullet’, which will inevitably lead to better project outcomes and the empowerment of marginalised participants from the local community. This paper takes a critical approach to participation, drawing on dual roots of participation in Development Studies and Information Systems, to consider whether apparently successful ICT4D projects, that follow best-practice for participation, are also succeeding in longer-term participant and community empowerment. The paper identifies issues and success factors relevant to participatory ICT4D and its potentially empowering role for local communities; explores the relevance of these factors to the reality of ICT4D projects in developing countries; and investigates the potential for producing an analytical framework that incorporates a project design approach that could help practitioners in the field incorporate empowerment objectives.

Source publication information
Development Informatics Working Paper
No 55
Centre for Development Informatics
Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

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