My name is Maurice OReilly and I have been reading AFRIK-IT with
great interest. In fact it is my first time to join a "list" and I
am fascinated by the dynamic of this particular use of the INTERNET.
I am a mathematician lecturing in what we call a Regional Technical
College in the town of Dundalk (pop c. 30000), Ireland.
My interest in Africa arises from three years (1991-4) which I spent
in the University of Dar es Salaam(UDSM), Tanzania as manager of a project
(supported by Irish Aid) designed to strengthen the Mathematics
Department there. For 2 of those years I was a member of the
national committee of the Mathematical Association of Tanzania (the
only foreigner) and also served as Chief Editor of MAT. This
experience brought me in contact with IT in Tanzania at many levels,
eg the provision of computer equipment and software funded by donors
(which has been the subject of lively dicussion on this list),
the emerging commercial IT sector in TZ, the computer centre at UDSM, the
International Village of Science and Technology (which is based in
Dar es Salaam & Arusha, and which aims to address African scientific
& technological issues in an African setting taking on board what is
appropriate from outside the continent),
the secondary school situation including the emerging curriculum for
IT at that level.
I have found the discussion on Aid & IT particularily interesting.
It seems to me that the key word here is IMPACT. What impact do the
policies and practices which accompany aid (in for example the IT
sector) have? This includes the questions of valuing local
expertise, of being sensitive to how and where agendas are set,
localisation, sustainability etc.
I think I have said more than enough for an introduction.
I look forward to reading the contributions of all .