Vol 50 (2012)

This special issue of Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries was guest edited by Wallace Chigona, Irwin Brown and Lucas Mimbi of the Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa. The articles are selected from papers presented at the International Development Informatics Associate (IDIA) conference which took place in Cape Town (3rd - 5th November 2010). The theme of the conference was Exploring Success and Failure in Development Informatics: Innovation, Research and Practice.The articles in this issue cover wide-ranging topics related to development informatics.

The first two papers (Wertlen et al. and Stillman et al.) deal with the provisioning of sustainable need-driven technological solutions to disadvantaged communities. In both papers, a living lab solution involving a partnership among the community, government, industry and academia is proposed as a solution to sustainable solutions. Wertlen et al.use a case of the Dwesa Living Lab project in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa to demonstrate how the community, working as a test-bed, can drive technological innovations while at the same time benefiting by acquiring the needed technology as well as having their needs incorporated in the solutions. The paper demonstrates that such partnerships can benefit all parties.
Stillman et al. propose the use of the digital door way approach to provide the need-driven technology for the community. The paper notes that solutions for communities should take into consideration the social, political and economic factors of the community.

In the third paper, Yeo et al. focus on the challenges of providing technology to the rural and removed communities. The task of providing the required number of telecenters in most regions is daunting especially when faced with the ever growing population. It is particularly difficult to provide telecenters to rural areas, especially in countries which are vast and spread. Based on the experience in Borneo Malaysia, the paper explores the model of replicating telecenters which would overcome the challenges and ensure the majority of the population has access. The paper highlights the challenges of developing a replication model for telecenters.

The fourth paper, by Alexander and Korpela, critically looks at focus group discussions as a data collection method for ICT4D research. The paper notes that the quality of the data collected through a focus group discussion may be polluted by the internal group politics as well as power dynamics between a researcher, who is an outsider to the community on the one hand, and the communityon the other hand. The paper posits that researchers need to be conscious of the challenges during data collection as well during the analysis of data.

In the fifth paper, Gomez and Pather question the appropriateness of assessment criteria used in ICT4D projects. The paper notes that most studies and institutions focus on evaluating outputs (e.g. number of computers, number of users, etc.) and do not proceed to evaluate the actual impact of the deployment of technologies. The authors propose that meaningful evaluation of ICT4D initiatives should focus on assessing the antecedents of meaningful development. At an individual level these are empowerment, self-esteem and self-worth, and at a collective level these are cohesiveness and strengthening of the social fabric.

The sixth paper, by Dodson and Sterling, addresses the tension between fields and perspectives in the realm of ICT4D. The paper contributes to the debate on the demarcation and conflicts of roles between different players in an ICT4D project. In particular, the paper looks at the roles of a journalist and a researcher. Although on the surface the two roles may appear similar, they are constrained by different requirements in terms of inter alia gaining access to respondents, disclosure of information and monetary rewards for the information collected. The paper wrestles with scenarios where one person holds both roles, or changes between one role and the other. The paper is particularly relevant in the multi-disciplinary field of ICT4D where researchers’ backgrounds are diverse and the possibility of such tensions islikely.

Motjolopane and Lutu, in the seventh paper, deal with the challenges of data quality at institutional level in developing countries. The study uses the case of the banking sector in Southern Africa. The study notes the need for the central bank to have high quality data to ensure proper control of the banking sector. However, the study notes that due to numerous challenges, the quality of the data is often compromised. The paper looks at the causes and possible solutions to compromised data quality in the banking sector.

Table of Contents

In this Volume, the downloads# is the total number of downloads since publication.

Research Papers

Research Testbed Networks: Practical Tools for Service Delivery? PDF
Ronald Wertlen, Ingrid Giselle Sieborger, Mosiuoa Tsietsi, Zelalem Shibeshi, Alfredo Terzoli # of downloads: 1924

Digital Doorway: Social-Technical Innovation for High-Needs Communities PDF
Larry Stillman, Marlien Herselman, Mario Marais, Mmamakanye Pitse Boshomane, Paul Plantinga, Sheelagh Walton # of downloads: 2681

Telecentre Replication Initiative in Borneo, Malaysia: The CoERI Experience PDF
Alvin Wee Yeo, Faisal S Hazis, Tariq Zaman, Peter Songan, Khairuddin Ab Hamid # of downloads: 2219

Focus Group Strategies in Community Development PDF
Bennett Matthew Alexander, Mikko Korpela # of downloads: 1748

ICT Evaluation: Are We Asking the Right Questions? PDF
Ricardo Gomez, Shaun Pather # of downloads: 4161

Ethics of Participation: Research or Reporting PDF
Leslie Dodson, S. Revi Sterling # of downloads: 1929

Improving Data Quality in the Banking Supervisory Data of Southern Africa Central Banks PDF
Refiloe Motjolopane, Patricia Elizabeth Nalwoga Lutu # of downloads: 1847

The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
ISSN: 1681-4835 www.ejisdc.org