ICT for Empowerment

Yesterday I attended a conference organised by SAWG (Samoa Association of Women Graduates) with the theme "Creating Opportunity and Realising Potential."




They had some speakers in from around the Pacific and locally assemble and give presentations about some pertinent issues in the life of a young woman graduate. As one myself, I decided to go along, meet some people and no doubt learn a thing or two. I was particularly interested in one of the sub topics: ICT for Empowerment.

I took some notes which I'll put up here for my own future reference... They're in no logical order, I just write things as I hear them come when I feel they need to be written down. I got a lot out of it. It really rekindled some of the "save the world" type enthusiasm I had after finishing varsity... the discussion I found particulary fascinating. There's SO much technology can do for the South Pacific but there are so many issues to overcome, and these issues are so particular to the South Pacific region... noone has done any proper research in the area and there's so much to find out, so much unknown, so much untapped potential.. You can say I felt "empowered" yea.

Anyways, here are my notes.

Joyce Yu. ICT for Empowerment.

How?
Strengthening participation and partnerships between Government, Private sector...
Strong leadership
Commitment

Empowerment. Political and Government
Improves transparency and reduces corruption.

The internet is a window to the outside world.

The use of the "e" prefix must mean more than just making it electronic.
It must be a compliment to the actual service

The e-process will only be as good as the processes themselves.

ICT expands human choice. It breaks the knowledge monopoly.

There needs to be more content from the South Pacific on the Internet.

Barriers
- Language
- Literacy
- Cost

Recognise Power Relationships in access to ICT. Even in places that purport to honour the role of women. IT is becoming a male dominated field.

Strong Goverment.
- Pro-competitive policies creating a system/ environment for broadband.
- Universal access for schools.

Mike Johnstone. ICT and empowerment

Perceived Barriers
- Lack of knowledge
- Boring
- computer geek stereotype

There is a lack of particpation by women in the industry.

You must know your customer.

Demistify some of the technologies. How do we use it in the future?
1947 - the transistor
1957 - satellite
... ICT merges with Telecommunications.

Samoa is vulnerable because of our dependency on satellite.



Emergent Technologies.
Voice Over IP
Mobile/ SMS
Be aware of 3G

The design of the mobile phone is to fit the human face.

E-commerce does not discriminate between buyers.

73% of all mail sent in 2004 was Spam.

Korea is the worlds most successful broadband market in the world.

The opportunity for the future is in Mobile and Wireless technology.

Satui Bentin. ICT and empowerment

Acceptibility of the verb "empower" depends on the context.

Capacity is key. Tools to empower.

Information shared through Organisations because that is the only way to share information until countries themselves decide to share between themselves.

Information Technology tools are not just computers and vary in appropriateness for different audiences.

Customise Information Technology development to the people of the South Pacific.

What are the needs of our people?
What are the barriers for our people?
Don't lose focus of the people.

Oli Punivalu. ICT in the Rural Community: A faletua's perspective.

In the rural area, the ordinary person has very limited understanding of ICT. Limited to the phone, radio and TV.

People feel inadequate to come forward to use new technology. They use only what they need and what they are comfortable with at the current time.

ICT is in the embrionic stage and will stay this way because
- the services to bring technology to the village are unreliable or non-existent or not affordable.
- there is a lack of awareness and appreciation of technology.

Mafutaga a Tina are a driving force and can act as agents of change for ICT. Let us use them, let us use each other to bring ICT development out of the embrionic stage.

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