Technology and Local community Improvement

Technology and Local community Improvement

Know-how AND Local community Improvement


MARCH 2009


In present day world, technology has invaded lots of factors of human everyday living. From its gigantic impact on our education and learning and expert advancement, to the additional subtle presence of little devices littering our residences, technology is pretty much all over the place.

The motives for these kinds of pervasiveness would boil down to some properties that technology by by itself possesses. One particular these kinds of characteristic, which is of big interest to lots of scholars, is the seeming lack of barriers to the spread of technology. It easily penetrates societies and even to remote communities, and the moment it reaches its destination and catches on, it becomes seemingly difficult to quit its spread. As a end result of this, buyer technology like mobile phones, personal computers, PDAs, radios and televisions have grow to be commonplace in destinations like Africa, even with all the barriers a person would have envisaged.

Sadly, it does not have to have considerably analysis to recognize that even nevertheless technology utilization is developing promptly in Africa, we however have numerous developmental issues in our continent. This is a predicament where by advanced technology is coexisting with underdevelopment in Africa. With all the electrical power that technology wields, it will be a useful work out to review the methods in which it can be used to solve some of those incredibly issues it has arrive to fulfill. In essence, working with our little devices to solve our big issues.

This is the background towards which this review is undertaken. Inquiring whether our issues can be solved at all, then enumerating instances where by advancement tasks that utilize technology have been place to work, and concluding by inspecting the cases and drawing classes from them.



The boundaries to what the human thoughts can conceive and achieve are growing. Additional discoveries have been made, additional matters have been established, additional theories have been proved and disproved, additional machines have been made and additional issues have been established. Scientific technology has been the driving power driving all these. Science has without a doubt proved to be a powerful instrument which has touched lots of persons and has shaped lots of communities.

According to the Concise Oxford dictionary tenth edition, technology is the software of scientific information for sensible applications. Obviously from this definition we can see that scientific information may exist theoretically but it only becomes technology when it is used in sensible options. For instance we may say the information of the guidelines of up-thrust and buoyancy is theoretical, having said that sensible utilization of these guidelines to manufacture airplanes could be termed aircraft technology.

Once again according to the Concise Oxford dictionary tenth edition, a community is the persons of an space considered collectively, although advancement is defined to suggest to increase or bring about to increase and grow to be larger sized or additional advanced. By deduction, community advancement could be defined to be the growth or improvement of a team of persons.

Right now, the world has grow to be remarkably technological, and matters which in the seventies would have handed for science fiction are now so commonplace that they have pretty much grow to be necessities. From each and every corner of the world, technology has world wide acceptance, it is ubiquitous and has the capacity to radically improve cases.

Any endeavor to ascribe motives for this pervasiveness of technology will have lots of strategies, some of which are that machines have been verified additional effective than human beings at some jobs, machines are considerably less mistake susceptible, impartial and hardly ever get drained like human beings. Another could be the improved sophistication of human beings and the attendant have to have for equally intricate messengers to aid us conduct lots of jobs, which is linked to the interesting character of technology that the moment a additional advanced way of undertaking a thing is found, it becomes pretty much unthinkable to try to do it by “previous fashioned” suggests.

With these kinds of massive scale interplay of these and lots of additional components, there is little rationale to be shocked by the unexpected emergence of computerized machines to deal with the little jobs of previous cleaning flooring, washing apparel, reducing bread, mixing cake and so forth. the record goes on and on.

And that is considerably from all and the record of revolutionary options is countless. In truth, some of these innovations have shaped the world and there are lots of illustrations to cite. The discovery of electrical energy and the radio wave the two adjusted the world. Right now, personal computers are modifying the world even quicker. Now with mobile phones, new alternatives have arrive and our imagination has grow to be the only limiting variable. We can only wait around for the future big matter to be established and who is aware what it will be?

The photo of technological improvement is not a fully rosy a person. Certainly, there are some minuses to science as very well, these kinds of as the introduction of new types of risk which arrive as a consequence of revolutionary types of technology, for instance the nuclear bomb came from nuclear technology, unexpected genetic mutations are as the end result of genetic engineering, and the numerous and little talked about substances which can demolish the ozone or warm the earth.

The seriousness of the negatives of technology have prompted some persons to argue that technological improvement, which is an instance of scientific advancement, is earning us additional of advanced entities but considerably less of human beings. In other phrases, we have grow to be greater scientists, bankers and experts and worse human beings. Martin Luther King places this argument succinctly when he reported “Our scientific electrical power has outrun our non secular electrical power, we have guided missiles and misguided men.”

The negatives that technology delivers are issues which have to have critical evaluation to determine what can be done to reduce them or at the very least limit their consequences due to the fact technology has surely arrive to stay, and it would be to our edge to discover how to work with it in methods that will be the most useful to us.

But in spite of the negatives listed listed here and the lots of additional unnamed, we have found that we can however derive lots of positive aspects from science and supplied that we live in, or at the very least arrive from, a portion of the world where by advancement is however a big headache, we must be the to start with to start out a critical review of this phenomenon and see how very best we can use it to our edge. We may be shocked to see that there is a terrific viability in working with our little devices to solve our big issues.

Enable us make it very clear that the aim of this paper is not to present technology as the magic treatment that will very clear our multitude of issues in a whiff, technology by itself will not solve Africa’s issues because our issues are also sophisticated, also deep and also overwhelming for any simplistic plan to be successful. We can only achieve accomplishment when if have a additional complete approach to the challenge, to include reliable dedication to critical analysis, institution of the ideal structures, and the having of demanded initiatives. It will be incorrect to believe that technology in by itself is inherently great, and just applying it by itself will be ample to achieve any great result3. Although technology may be capable to do everything, persons have to have the vision to drive it in the suitable way.

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

In our unique context, Africa has proved that advanced technology could coexist with underdevelopment. People today have satellite televisions while there are no instructors in the classrooms, we have mobile products and pocket PCs and products but our streets are however not named correctly, there is however a massive variety of illiterates amongst the persons who individual and use cell phones, spreading of health care data is however a problem even nevertheless a large amount of persons have accessibility to radio and Tv set. This sorry record is countless.


CAN TECHNOLOGY Definitely Tackle OUR Issues?

From health care, accessibility to h2o and everyday living expectancy, to governance, industrialization and even the good quality of human everyday living, there are numerous issues confronting African communities.

Right now we are reported to be residing in the data age, an era where by accessibility to data is the new driving power of the world. The proliferation of the Internet and Entire world Vast World wide web has minimized the complete world to a significant audience with unparalleled accessibility to extensive portions of data. This conversation is unencumbered and the formation of alliances is unhindered by bodily distance, nationwide or political borders4. With all the dynamics that this modernity delivers, technology stands tall as a favorite to achieve any meaningful sustainable advancement for lots of motives.

Principal amongst these kinds of motives is the actuality that there is enhanced awareness of underdevelopment amongst Africans by themselves, which could be thanks to the data age, and an enhanced perception that our cases can be turned all-around. This is markedly diverse from decades in the past when there was a large amount of resignation and despair amongst black experts. Evidence to help this would be the observation that considerably additional imagined is currently being directed at the Africa integration agenda and bigger attention currently being paid to the Economic partnership agreements (EU- ECOWAS).

Another beneficial indicator is the developing variety of trained and knowledgeable technological experts on the deal with of the continent. Granted, the enhanced quantities by by themselves will not be a great indicator, but with the holistic approach talked about previously, a person can see a signal of hope which demonstrates that there is incredibly significant potential for accomplishment in a very well nevertheless out plan to utilize technology to solve our developmental issues.

Another great place is the person work that is currently being carried out by diverse groups working with diverse strategies (scientific studies of the indigenous chieftaincy technique for e.g.) at making an attempt to solve the exact same issues. This is very clear evidence to state that over and above the level of dedication, there have been genuine attempts at challenge resolving. Even if some of these kinds of attempts have not been successful thanks to the numerous troubles in the way, the encounters have been acquired and classes have been drawn from them which would be utilized for future use.

Lastly there are areas where by big strides have now been made in Africa. Statistics display for instance that there have been exceptional improvements in lady pupil enrollments in destinations like Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia5. This is surely a feather in our cap and these kinds of areas may provide as boosters to deal with the remaining darkish spots.

All these indicate that we might be nearer than ever to resolving our issues, and all that may be left will be a handful of huge pushes forward.

This is where by technology arrives into the photo. It is the a person matter that looks to know no barriers, catches on easily and has the electrical power to renovate even the most remotely inaccessible locations on earth to budding business towns. It is ubiquitous. Its innovations speed up by the thirty day period. As a end result, it is the most possible instrument to achieve everything meaningful.

In the early 90’s, scholars explained Africa as currently being left in a technological apartheid six. Right now having said that, with improved globalization probably a somewhat greater photo can be painted. Even nevertheless Africa is not in the league of the innovators of the most novel initiatives and we may not be earning as great use of systems as we should to, or as some some others are, we would however have a thing beneficial to report. For instance, in some cases, Africa basically has similar human and hardware methods. As a result, “apartheid” would no more time be a specific definition of the predicament as it stands.

As stated previously in this paper, technology by itself will not solve our issues. But with incredibly critical factors working with active participation, a complete and very well nevertheless out plan that incorporates technology will be a incredibly practical option.

Having said that having a appear at all the attempts made so considerably and their attendant troubles and consequences if any, a person may say confidently that will all the appropriate accompanying compliments, technology will made incredibly substantial gains in spurring the advancement agenda on.


HOW IS TECHNOLOGY Remaining Used TO Fix Issues?

Throughout lots of international locations all-around the world, persons have made critical strides at employing technological information to solve all fashion of issues. Quite a few issues have arisen out of these kinds of attempts, and under are incredibly short summaries of some of those destinations where by sensible scientific information has been utilized for the growth of the community. ELECTIONS

In Africa’s current governance record, elections have always been a problem. It is difficult to uncover a thoroughly free of charge and reasonable voting work out, while contested elections, unfair processes, non transparent irregularities and uncomplicated ineffectiveness are commonplace. With a background of poverty, it is not also difficult to have an understanding of why the stakes are so significant in African politics and why electrical power is incredibly worthwhile in this portion of the world.  This not withstanding having said that, there is a great variety of unrests that could have been avoided if any election is verified to be reasonable, free of charge and transparent to an appreciable diploma.

Attaining this excellent diploma has proved difficult for motives of the sophisticated interplay of some components such as, a governing administration founded electoral fee, a winner normally takes all placing, and no determination to commit to the suitable virtues. Recognizing that electrical power is so worthwhile when you arrive from this winner normally takes all placing, it is genuinely difficult to let go of management of the electoral method. This is a person determination for the dishonourable acts that regrettably we see really generally.

Due to the fact elections are remarkably involving and they have to have elaborate plans that span a sequence of locations (from a voter’s house to the polling station, the collation middle, the electoral fee headquarters, the general public area and back again to the voter’s house), It follows that until you are making an attempt to make general public exhibition of your nefarious action, you would have to have to be tactical to be successful at these kinds of dishonorable acts. The strategies used may change but they invariably entail sequence of acts that are made to reduce data from having into the general public area. So that for instance, figures could be adjusted at any time so prolonged as the authentic and authentic types do not get into the hands of the general public.

If democratic leadership ended up genuinely understood, there will be no endeavor at election rigging. But due to the fact we are presently not in that excellent stage, election checking is a person instrument we can exploit to at the very least reduce the capacity for cheating.

Cell telephone technology is currently being used in election checking in some African international locations under a new technique of election checking identified as “parallel reporting”. Parallel reporting is simply an approach to election checking whereby unbiased observers spread information of the votes counted at the essential level, which is the polling station. The figures are then relayed to an unbiased middle where by they are collated and cross checked with formal figures introduced by the electoral fee.

One particular edge of this plan is found that it will make it ever more difficult for an electoral fee to endeavor to fraudulently sway the benefits in the favour of any of the contesting functions. The spreading or relaying of the benefits figures are done mainly with mobile phones. Senegal is an instance of a state where by this undertaking has been successful.

3.2       Health care

The data obtained from health care analysis are interesting. Figures display that a massive variety of the world’s HIVAIDS troubled persons live in Africa. At the exact same time, a person of the developing marketplaces for buyer electronics these kinds of as mobile products, handheld Computer system and so forth may be found listed here in Africa. This represents a population overlap, and it is only prudent that some sum of analysis has been directed in direction of attempting to uncover methods to incorporating technology in the remedy of the numerous conditions on the deal with of the continent7.

Tuberculosis (TB) has prolonged been recognised to be a person of the deadliest conditions recognised to man. Apart from the threat that this remarkably infectious bacterial disorder presents to human everyday living, it also enjoys some more notoriety for lowering the sufferer’s immune technique to make it effortless for other conditions, which may have a variety of degrees of harmfulness, to attack the sufferer.

As if that ended up not ample, TB has a fatal pattern of mutating at the the very least situation of drug non adherence. As a result any TB caregiver is aware that a client who demonstrates non compliance with drug guidelines is clearly not fascinated in having healed. As a end result of this, more than the years, methods to enforce religious adherence of medication have been tried but accomplishment has mainly eluded caregivers.

In South Africa, there is a incredibly laudable undertaking, the SimPill’s award-winning Adherence System undertaking, which takes advantage of a authentic-time management technique to maximize adherence to medications recommended to handle persistent diseases – specifically tuberculosis, which is a substantial bring about of demise of persons residing with HIV.

3.3       SOCIAL Concerns

Severe tasks that utilize technology to address social issues have been implemented in South Africa. One particular these kinds of plan named Fahamu’s Umn Yango (that means ‘doorway’ in isiZulu) has been implemented to control domestic violence by equipping persons with cell phones as tools to observe and report abuse. Less than this plan, victims use cell phones to phone a predefined and preferred variety and give facts of the abuse.

The fear of currently being victimized has always made it difficult for victims, witnesses or kin to stage up and lodge problems to the appropriate authorities. There are illustrations of destinations where by persons had documented abuses and had been picked on by the abuser. We have had mates of a target reporting an abuse of their buddy only to go house to be abused by themselves by their spouses as punishment for “poking their noses in other people’s business”. These great citizens ended up made to shell out the selling price for exposing a mistaken matter.  

This fear has been thoroughly removed under this undertaking because of the provision of anonymity, the phone phone could be made in top secret, and even the facts of the reporter are not always demanded. This is a sharp contrast to the predicament in the past where by victims, neighbours, or witnesses ended up demanded to walk into a police station to make a official report.

Apart from successes chalked in the variety of experiences that are acquired, there has also been a reduction in the quantities of abuse cases. This may be partly thanks to the deterring sensation amongst would-be abusers that, any passerby keeping a mobile telephone might just make confident they get a take a look at from a police detective for husband or wife battering.


Know-how has also been place to great use in farming.

Farmers who rear cattle in little herds, more than time, establish a personal connection with the animals, the farmer is aware all of them and can detect a lacking animal or a unwell a person with just a look. Having said that, because it normally takes months of cautious observation of the behaviour of each and every cow to know each and every animal very well ample to consider note when there is an infection or when an animal does not ruminate correctly, this activity would be ineffective if it ended up executed by a human shepherd with a massive herd.

To solution this predicament, the technology of vocal tags has been designed in Europe. This undertaking employs a tag, which is a belt fitted with sensors and worn all-around just about every animal’s neck. These sensors observe quite a few indicators these kinds of as the animal’s price of rumination, voice clarity, digestion and breathing and ship the details collected to a central computer.

In excess of time the computer is aware what is regular for each and every cow and will notify the shepherd when a thing goes mistaken with a cow.

The edge of this undertaking is that a farmer can consider brief and specific motion like offering remedy to the unique animal involved. This removes the have to have to give standard treatment plans to the complete herd, which is the two time and funds wasting.

These are some of the methods that technology is currently being used in direction of improved advancement.



No make any difference how promising an plan or undertaking appears, there are certain to be issues encountered in the deployment of the undertaking. In reaching the earlier mentioned tasks, adhering to are some of the issues a person is possible to be faced with:

In the election checking program, misinformation has been discovered to be a person of the issues starring the program in the deal with. It is real that when all the data is not localized in the hands of governing administration, then a large amount additional transparency will be realized, but it is also real that mass misinformation remains an disagreeable likelihood.

Another challenge could come up when there is a predicament where by persons do not necessarily trust the diploma of independence of the so identified as unbiased observers. It may guide to a challenge where by functions could solid a slur on the track record of the observers so as to use the ensuing mistrust to established the stage for a probable rejection of the benefits.

All round this is a laudable plan and if a suggests of verification ended up additional, the figures would suggest considerably additional to a large amount of persons.

Whilst celebrating the successes chalked, it is vital to note that a variety of other components necessary to development in advance of a state could move in direction of a additional democratic model of governance. According to African political skilled, Sheldon Gellar, these adjustments include: strengthening unbiased media, developing and guaranteeing independence of civil society, decentralizing electrical power, ceding additional management to community governments, empowering females and improving upon judicial devices to make certain independence and electrical power to punish.

Governance is a person space that is established to enjoy some positive aspects of this phenomenon when used judiciously, unilateral rule and arbitrary motion may be minimized in direction of a additional participatory approach to leadership in Ghana

Know-how could aid achieve those goals to some extent, as conversation was the important to conquering oppression.

In some of the cases, these kinds of as the election checking or domestic violence reporting, the internet could be used to supply communities with suggests to talk, to arrange and obtain great data which is not managed by the governing administration. Having said that, this is not sensible in Africa due to the fact only a very small proportion of Africans have affordable accessibility to internet.

In the health care undertaking, essential mismanagement has been discovered as a person of the motives why lots of tasks feel to skid to halt following currently being piloted. Required cash are not always out there to those who have to have them.

Another challenge observed was that the persons who will be working with the undertaking are not always consulted in the building and organizing of the tips, so there is a lack of conversation among beneficiaries, health experts, technologists, and professionals.

Another challenge was the theft of cell phones. While cell phones are a somewhat lower-cost technology, they however maintain appreciable price in poverty-stricken areas, and are frequently stolen. And, these kinds of theft is possible to rise as these products grow to be additional and additional sophisticated. Having said that this is really debatable due to the fact some analysts argue that losing a cell telephone to a thief is considerably less of a fiscal decline than losing a additional high priced equipment.

In the domestic violence undertaking a person stumbling block was the conversation hole among the a variety of functions involved in the technique. Feed-back was mainly lacking and persons could not convey to whether their enter was useful – or acquired, and in some cases, police officers who acquire messages reporting violence towards females may not be well prepared to react.

Another challenge was the regrettable predicament where by some unscrupulous persons made the work additional difficult for the authorities by elevating untrue alarms. This could be tackled by education and learning and the incorporation of punitive actions.

Having said that to use efficient punitive actions, even additional advanced technology will be demanded, for instance to pinpoint a unique cell telephone subscriber, and consider motion towards them like blocking their Subscriber Id Module (SIM) Playing cards and so forth.

And the regular challenge of financing in lots of tasks is ever present as very well, and it is the additional predominant a person in the animal rearing undertaking.



Granted, there are troubles that exist in working with technology to achieve advancement goals, but these kinds of attempts however maintain terrific potential and the prices of any obstacle will not stand in comparison to the threat of underdevelopment and poverty. So we can only try to work tougher at these kinds of solutions.

Our advancement attempts and attempts must believe additional seriously about sustainability and scalability. One particular vital thought in this way is the affordability of the programmes we plan and establish. The additional affordable selections have a increased prospect of accomplishment, so the actuality that most of the advancement tasks do not have to have any terribly sophisticated or new devices is without a doubt nice to note.

Also throughout the creation and deploying of any undertaking, ample consultation must be carried out to make certain that there is a standard buy-in into the plan from the creators to the beneficiaries. This will make an plan command a popular perception of ownership.

The good quality of the management must also be enhanced and actions must be place in place to make certain the suitable matters are done.

Identifying the challenge is half the option. We now now have bigger awareness and we have made some attempts at resolving them. Putting our acts jointly to attract the classes and re-strategizing with a new approach -technology, is surely the way to go. I am self-confident of the viability of this new approach.


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4         Finnis A.J. Learning in the Info Age.Twinisles[On-line]2009.
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five Kitetu, C. Gender in Schooling: An overview of creating developments in Africa.
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