Building Knowledge Societies through ICT4D

Within the ICT4D field the concept of ‘knowledge society’ is often used. This blog post wants to delve deeper into what knowledge societies actually are, how ICT4D can help achieving them, and why it matters.

So what do we mean by ‘knowledge society’?

Today, knowledge and information have significant impact on people’s lives. In a ‘knowledge societysharing of knowledge and information is key. There is an emphasis within knowledge societies of the human rights agenda, the importance of knowledge sharing and an inclusive participatory character.  ICTs are key in knowledge societies as they increase the speed of and can facilitate this knowledge sharing. As such, it has the power to transform economies and societies.

Continue reading “Building Knowledge Societies through ICT4D”

ICTs for Inclusive Education

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a commitment to inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels was made a priority. This post will focus on inclusive education and the role ICTs can play. 

‘Inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners (…). As an overall principle, it should guide all education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society’ (UNESCO 2009)

Alternative Keyboard for children with motoric disabilities presented on a table

Image source:

Continue reading “ICTs for Inclusive Education”

Getting Uncomfortable – Friction between Women’s Rights and Disability Rights

In the beginning of the era of ICTs, technology designed by white men in the Minority World was assumed to be equally useful to everyone everywhere. Today, we know that technologies are not gender neutral and that they mirror the norms of the societies, where they are created. Gender mainstreaming is widely spread in the international development field and yet, of the more than 5 billion people (66% of the world population) that have a mobile phone subscription women are 10-25 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone, depending on where they live.

Gender mainstreaming has been criticised for not sufficiently recognise other inequalities that effect women’s lives. Many feminists promote an intersectional understanding of gender in relation to other social categories. An understanding that doesn’t presume that oppression based on gender is the only oppression causing exclusion in a person’s life. In the introduction to the ICT focused issue of the Journal Gender and Development published in July 2018, Amy O’Donnell and Caroline Sweetman argue that ICT4D needs to move beyond questions about access to ICTs and begin addressing the intersectional issues of power and inequality. This involves asking whose experiences are included and whose are excluded when important questions concerning women’s rights are discussed.

But asking these questions can make us uncomfortable. This is sometimes the case when examining the encounter between gender and disability, or women’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities. This combined field is mined with tension and difficult questions.

Continue reading “Getting Uncomfortable – Friction between Women’s Rights and Disability Rights”

ICTs – Providing Opportunities for the Invisible 1 Billion

We have briefly discussed how disability-inclusive ICT4D programmes can benefit people with disabilities. In this blog post, I briefly want to explore two ICT mediums, websites and mobile devices, in order to understand how they can facilitate access to social and economic activities for people with disabilities.

Websites – Facilitating access to socio-cultural, economic and educational activities

With the increased proliferation of web-based services, there is no doubt that the internet is an important part of people’s everyday lives. We use websites to browse and read news, connect with likeminded, do our banking, and look up all sorts of information. Websites can also provide visual, audio and text output on demand and offer multimedia input opportunities for users.

Through the internet, users can participate remotely in a variety of activities, ranging from education, employment, economic and government services, to consumer activities. There are also a vast number of opportunities for social participation through engaging in social networks, accessing video, audio and text communication, cloud-based sharing and other types of media interaction.  Websites, as such, are acting as critical facilitators for accessing social and economic activities. 

Continue reading “ICTs – Providing Opportunities for the Invisible 1 Billion”

Dis-abilities & Cap-abilities

What are we talking about when we talk about disability?

Disability is a constantly evolving concept. There are many different definitions of disability and the language used around the concept changes rapidly. Persons with disabilities are far from being a homogenous group since the notion of disability accommodates at least 1 billion different lived experiences. All of this makes the understanding of disability complicated and the goals of disability-inclusive development hard to define.

Continue reading “Dis-abilities & Cap-abilities”

Digital Empowerment – Reaching the Invisible 1 Billion

As we have noted, a sound global development agenda can’t ignore disabilities. The UNDP actively promotes ICT4D as a powerful tool for economic and social development around the world. The aim of ICT4D is to bridge the digital divide between the majority and minority world. The rationale behind is that ensuring equitable access to up-to-date communication technologies will aid economic development, but it is evident that some people’s economic development will be excluded if the programmes themselves are not inclusive. Continue reading “Digital Empowerment – Reaching the Invisible 1 Billion”

Becoming Part of the Solution

Welcome to our blog: The Invisible 1 Billion! This blog is the outcome of an academic assignment at the Communication for Development Master Programme at Malmö University, Sweden. Yet, it is a real blog, a voice in the world, as real as any other voice being shaped on the internet. The blog will become one tiny part of the broad discussion on development and ICT (Information and Communications Technology). And at the very moment anyone reads this first post, like you do now, no matter how much a drop in the ocean it feels like, this blog becomes part of creating the values and norms surrounding ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development). Continue reading “Becoming Part of the Solution”