Erik Hersman argues in the Ushahidi blog that the Ushahidi platform should be thought of as not just a tool for developing countries or the ICT 4 Development community…Ushahidi is for the whole world…I agree…the technology transcends geography…Just because it was made on the African continent does not mean it should be pigeon holed as only relevant to the development community…as Erik rightly notes, reference the case of Mozilla, others…
What is ICT4D (ICT for Development)? It’s usually defined as the application of technology in third world countries, not as technology. In other words, a technology platform or tool is not ICT4D, though it is used by ICT4D practitioners to do their work. Around this time last year I found myself at a big event in Qatar for ICT4D academics. It was my first real brush with this community, and I had a hard time defining what it was. After all, they had big, long academic-sounding titles on all their papers and I had to do an internal academic-to-layman’s translation on most of the discussions.
That was, of course, due to the academic focus and they were buried in studies on how technology was being used to overcome poverty or help alleviate inefficiencies in the developing world. That I get. What I don’t get is why certain technologies are pigeonholed as “ICT4D tools“. Technology is agnostic and can be applied by anyone at anytime for numerous uses.
Due to Ushahidi’s roots (African born) and many of the initial uses of Ushahidi, we’ve been embraced by the ICT4D community. This is great, there is no doubt that they benefit from the tool, and that we benefit from their using it. However, we should take a minute to differentiate between purpose and use though.
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