Learning by doing: lessons emerging from the ICT Stories Project

Learning by doing: lessons emerging from the ICT Stories Project

Successes and pitfalls of ICT introduction: stories and experiences

This paper reports on the ICT Stories project. The Project works as a tool to disseminate field experiences and lessons learned. Its overall objective is to use the format of exemplary ‘stories’ to capture the learning process that accompanies the introduction and implementation of ICTs.

Despite the diversity of the stories, in terms of their sectoral focus and geographic location, the paper finds that there are several cross-story factors of success and pitfalls. These include:

  • infrastructure: still one of the biggest challenges
  • policy considerations: whether authorising others to start their projects, or because it is a partner, Government has a central role to play. It will not cooperate to the fullest if it feels threatened
  • local content and language barriers: where many people are literate in their own languages only, information from abroad is hardly accessible
  • illiteracy: particularly in rural areas, this may prevent implementation. It sometimes contributes to a bias towards urban areas
  • human resources: committed and trained local expertise is crucial to longer-term sustainability, some ‘success stories’ suffered when early leaders departed
  • gender insensitivity: many projects ‘forgot’ to incorporate gender issues and redress the gender balance
  • ICT expertise: unless the equipment is used and maintained appropriately, breakdowns can halt a project
  • sustainability: durability requires that project managers be aware of and find means to generate money from their projects to use, maintain and upgrade the whole project
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