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IDIA2014 Conference
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3-4 November 2014

Evolution of ICT4D for Illiteracy Eradication and Knowledge Dissemination for Rural Community Development

Shadreck Mudziwepasi
Phumzile Nomnga
Mphenduli Ntsizi
Mfundo Shakes Scott
University of Fort Hare
South Africa

Full paper

Abstract

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) have fast emerged and are continuing to improve as a suitable tool to intuit the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for socio-economic and rural development. The theory behind this notion is that more and even better ICTs improve the development of any given society. It is in this context, thereof that we note with concern the fact that global socio-economic development with respect to ICTs has unfairly unfolded at different scales and pace with respect to urban and rural communities. The urban communities have benefited immensely from this development whilst the rural communities have benefited the least. The least or no beneficiation of the rural communities is totally inconsistent with the human rights and international law on access to the Internet and ICTs. Furthermore, this has placed the rural communities of South Africa in the periphery of the technocratic world in which we live nowadays. Only a drastic socio-economic development programme can draw the marginalized rural communities closer to the centre of the technocratic world of the 21st century. ICT4D initiatives present themselves as a suitable tool to redress this socio-economic ill. In our quest to attest to this, we used the rural-marginalized Dwesa community of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa as a case study for this research work. In this community, the standards of living have vastly improved through the provision of technological infrastructure such as Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and Computer Laboratories located in schools. This evolution of ICT4D has seen high levels of illiteracy being progressively eradicated such that the community members are now well equipped with technological skills, a scenario which has eased retrieval and dissemination of information for this community. This has been highly achieved through holding of ICT-based workshops and training programmes and such initiatives have seen the work extending to Nkonkobe Municipality in Alice and Kieskamahoek rural communities of the Eastern Cape Province. Thus, based on this analogy, this paper presents an in-depth and fundamental role ICTs have played in the underdeveloped rural and marginalized communities. Furthermore, we present an appropriate evolutionary ICT4D programme for rural communities and provide an expert guidance on how ICT4D can be used to eradicate illiteracy and disseminate knowledge in technological contexts for rural communities.

Key words

Evolution, ICT4D, Illiteracy Eradication, Knowledge Dissemination, Rural Community Development and Information Retrieval