Development Informatics Workshop

School of Information Technology
Monash South Africa
Johannesburg 5 July 2006

  1. Background
  2. Participants
  3. Format of the workshop
  4. Workshop Secretariat
  5. Map to campus
  6. Program
  7. Presentations
  • Prof Don Schauder Monash Australia, Caulfield: CCNR (Centre for Community Networking Research)
  • Prof Krithi Ramamritham IITB, Mumbai, India
  • Dr Harold Wesso Dept of Telecommunication
  • Helen King International Relations Manager, The Shuttleworth Foundation
  • Dr Jacques Steyn Monash South Africa
  • Prof Don Schauder Monash Australia, Caulfield: CCNR (Centre for Community Networking Research)
  • Prof Krithi Ramamritham IITB, Mumbai, India
  • Dr Graeme Johanson Monash Australia, Caulfield, Director, Centre for Community Networking Research
  • Dr Jacques Steyn Monash South Africa
  • Prof Peter Sullivan Monash Australia, Clayton: Faculty of Education - Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

A workshop was held on 5 July 2006 (8:30 for 9:00) at the South African campus of Monash University in Johannesburg where role players in the field of Development Informatics informed one another of their involvement in the field, and planned the way forward for a cooperative approach for developing nations, particularly in southern Africa.

The original announcement follows below.

1. Background

Over the past decade numerous efforts to introduce ICT solutions for development have been attempted in South Africa. Most have failed, and the reasons are many. Today there are many initiatives, each in their own corner and often without knowledge of the contributions made by other role players.

The most obvious reason for failure is a non-systemic approach without considering the complexity of social systems, particularly in the developing world. For example, kiosks have been dumped in developing areas without integrating communities, without business plans, and without comprehensive training. Most of these kiosks have failed.

In order to find a solution, and to stimulate cooperation in this field, Monash University embarked on a project to involve international role players in the field of Development Informatics, and to involve all possible role players in order to arrive at a focused and systemic possible solution to introducing ICT in developing environments.

There are many success stories from all around the world, and we are convinced that we should cooperate and learn from one another.

At Monash our own approach is an adaptation of a model which was introduced about twenty years ago in India. We call this a layered information flow model:

peer-to-peer <--> mediator <--> expert

The model could be applied to any information flow system, but for our present research efforts the emphasis will be on

Monash does not want to lock in other role players into this model. The purpose of the workshop is to exchange ideas and arrive at a common goal.

2. Participants

See the List of Participants.

The Development Informatics Workshop (DIW) will be hosted at the South African campus of Monash University, as a joint effort of the Caulfield (Melbourne) and Malaysia campuses of Monash University.


Prof Don Schauder and Dr Graeme Johansen, both of the CCNR (Centre for Community Networking Research) will represent Australia (Director of the Centre). The South African host will be Dr Jacques Steyn, Head of the School of IT. Staff of the School of IT, South Africa will be present as delegates.

IITB and Vigyan Ashram, India

Yogesh Kulkarni of Vigyan Ashram, Pune in India will share the Indian experience of implementation in rural areas, while Prof Krithi Ramamritham will relate the technologies developed by IITB for implementing the layered information flow model.

Wits University

Monash has established links with Wits University, and the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof Ramesh Bharuthram, as well as Prof Conrad Mueller (School of Computer Science) will participate.


Derek Keats of AVOIR (African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources), initiated by the University of the Western Cape, will present the vision of AVOIR.

The Shuttleworth Foundation

The Shuttleworth Foundation will be presented by Helen King, International Relations Manager and Zelda Holtzman, CEO.

South African Government Communication and Information Systems

The South African Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) will be presented by Dr Marietjie Strydom Director: Research.


Meraka will be represented by Dr Ntsika Msimang.


The software company SAP will be presented by Danie Kok (Director - SAP Research) and by Dr Danie Smit (Senior Research Scientist).


SystemicLogic will be presented by Nick Kuhlenthal (Executive Director).


Women’sNet will be presented by Natasha Primo, Chairperson of the Executive Board, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)


Several individuals will also participate.

3. Format of the workshop

Schedule guideline for 5 July 2006

8:30   Register
9:00   Welcome and vision
17:00   Cocktail

The workshop has an open agenda, but in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas, the following structure will be followed:

The vision of Development Informatics for southern Africa will be painted by Prof Don Schauder of CCNR at Monash, Caulfield Campus.

Prof Krithi Ramamritham of IITB will present the Indian experience and lessons learnt ion deploying ICT in rural and developing areas.

After these introductory presentations, each participating institution and organisation will be able to formally share their own involvement and vision in 10-minute slots. This is to provide formal opportunities to share interests and experiences regarding Development Informatics with other participants.

After lunch the group as a whole will participate in a general discussion / brainstorm session in order to arrive at a common vision and implementation plan for Development Informatics in southern Africa.

Participants and delegates will have ample time for discussing and sharing.

4. Workshop Secretariat

Dr Jacques Steyn
Head of School: Information Technology
Phone: +27-11-950-4132
Fax: +27-11-950-4033

Dr Jan Meyer
School of Information Technology
Phone: +27-11-950-4131
Fax: +27-11-950-4033

Ms Jeanette Diplock
Secretary: School of Information Technology
Phone +27-11-950-4030
Fax: +27-11-950-4033