Who are you calling helpless!

In the Information Age, where new media has stolen the spotlight, old media such as radio are left unnoticed. However, if we want to be realistic, radio, and particularly community radio is sometimes the only means people have to communicate and receive news and information. Pieterse (2005) contends that “media such as community radio allow more local input and have greater outreach and development potential than the fancy digital media” (p.23). The case I will depict in this post is a collaboration between the BBC and a community radio in the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states in India to raise awareness about bonded labour and human rights. Continue reading Who are you calling helpless!

3 ICT4D terms you need to think about

It’s easy to get lost in development-related terminology, and ICT4D has no shortage of complex terms used by different actors, in different ways, and in different contexts. In this post, I’ll look at three of those terms: Participation, the digital divide, and community. The idea is not to provide a definite explanation of the terms (as there is no such thing!) but to show that these terms are complex and should not be taken for granted within ICT4D – or development discourse more generally. Continue reading 3 ICT4D terms you need to think about

Nigeria declares Victory over Ebola Virus due to ICT Tools

Nigeria declared its victory of the Ebola virus last week. Dr. Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, has revealed that a number of Information and Communication Technology tools assisted in containing the deadly virus.

Thebola_map_sep5_fpe current Ebola epidemic in western Africa is the worst outbreak of the virus since its discovery, with Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea being the worst-affected countries. So far the virus has killed over 4,500 people. Thomas Eric Duncan recently made headlines in the U.S. when he was diagnosed with Ebola at a Texas hospital after returning from a trip to West Africa. He was the first person in the U.S. to have died of Ebola.  Continue reading Nigeria declares Victory over Ebola Virus due to ICT Tools

India: The World’s Oldest Profession Meets New Media

It is not a secret that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. In fact, prostitutes are the people everybody loves to hate. They are diabolized, criminalized, and assaulted in many communities. So, what does the “network society” have to offer those who are marginalized in their own society in countries like India? I would say a lot!  Continue reading India: The World’s Oldest Profession Meets New Media

ICT and new media in conflict areas


Cammaerts reminds us that media can work as a ‘symbolic arena’, as a space that can be used to communicate, broadcast, instigate, propagate, deceive and convince audiences (receptors) about a set of ideas and meanings. A very interesting side of the way ICT and social media have been used in activism is that each person gets to tell their side of the story and their perspective on how things are developing and in which direction. Continue reading ICT and new media in conflict areas

Zapatistas and ICT


Few conflicts have shaken the recent history of Mexico as deeply as the confrontations between the Mexican Army and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Violence and repression have been used against indigenous communities ever since the Americas were colonized and this is still the case today in pockets of the continent where indigenous peoples live. One of them is the Zapatitas community of Chiapas (South Mexico) who, although not completely heterogenous, have managed to preserve their identity and culture after hundreds of years. Continue reading Zapatistas and ICT

Amplifying the Voices of the Poor

Participatory video (PV) is a great way for a community to explore issues or voice their concerns by creating their own film. I found Tamara Plush’s talk at the ORECOMM Festival on “The Reflective Lens: How Participatory Video Practitioners Experience their own Agency in Raising the Voice of Others” very fascinating. Plush was giving insight into how participatory video can be used as a tool for communicating social change to reinforce citizen engagement efforts in the international development sector. PV as a method can enable citizen voices of people living in poverty within an international development context.  Continue reading Amplifying the Voices of the Poor

Connecting the Unconnected


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have improved immensely over the past centuries and are providing huge advantages to its users. The internet has infused many aspects of modern life since its beginning in the 1980s and has spread faster than any other technology. ICT is providing in-depth information and the capability for social and economic chance. By bridging distances, it distributes knowledge and expertise to remote areas. The term ‘digital divide’ is frequently used to describe the gap between those who already have access to communication technology and the necessary skills to use it and those who still lack access or skills to use these same technologies within society or a geographic region (Cisler, 2005).  Continue reading Connecting the Unconnected

FireChat – Revolutionizing Activism?

Hong Kong’s 2014 Democracy Protests (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When pro-democracy activists took to the streets in Hong Kong in September, the sheer number of protestors disrupted phone networks in the protest area enough to make mobile communication impossible. Enter: FireChat, a relatively new messaging app that relies on Bluetooth instead of wifi or 3/4G internet used by popular messaging services like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.  Continue reading FireChat – Revolutionizing Activism?