My earlier question:
> > "Curious: What do you think about ICT initiatives?"
Don writes from Canada:
> I have to come clean and admit to being an ICT fetishist.
I've filed that away for use as evidence ... ;*)
For myself, I most assuredly don't think ICTs are more important than
water (except perhaps when stranded on a ferry in the middle of Lake
Victoria with no petrol to run the engine... ;*)
To further clarify my question, I'm wondering about projects or
initiatives (whether donor or otherwise) that are "ICT projects". I
wonder if they are ever a good idea. Perhaps they are always a bad
As an alternative, consider a project such as a rural health project.
The managers of the rural health project may call for an ICT consultant
to help them solve one or more of their problems, but these will be
fundamentally health problems with an ICT component, not ICT
projects per se.
If the health managers have an ICT budget, they decide what's best
for health, and use ICT services accordingly. If on the other hand the
health managers have no ICT budget, then they must beg an ICT
project manager for money, and tailor their proposal to suit the
requirements of the ICT project.
So, I am asking (Don, Richard, others) what we think of ICT projects.
Is there a place for them? One interpretation of the Heeks position is
that ICT projects are draining resources away from more important
things like health projects. If we eliminate ICT projects, then we cut
the fetishists off at the knees, and place the power of decision making
firmly in the hands of the broader program manager that the ICTs are
purporting to support. Otherwise, the rural health manager is placed
in the position of begging the ICT manager for help.
On the other hand, if we think ICT projects are useful, it might be
because, in the present fetishist climate, ICT projects draw in new
resources to be applied to health projects that the less glamorous
health projects wouldn't be able to attract on their own.
Seen another way, is the problem with the fetishists, or with the
process that funds them?
Jeff @ Washington
SETA Corporation Senior Analyst
USAID/M/IRM/CIS: Program Technology Transfer
[log in to unmask]
1325 G Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Tel +1 (202) 219-0463
Fax +1 (202) 219-0518