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Open Source in Africa : towards informed decision-making

BRUGGINK, Martin
August 2003

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Open Source solutions became a real alternative in western and northern countries as well as in Asian countries. In Africa, Open Source initiatives have not yet been discussed thoroughly. This brief summarizes research carried out in Tanzania, Uganda and Burkina Faso, asking how and if Open Source is used

Making sense of e-business in developing countries

KRUIDHOF, Olaf
FERGUSON, Julie
August 2003

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This report addresses some of the questions encountered when analysing e-business and its effects on the business environment, specifically in developing country contexts. It seeks to: * put things into perspective: What is e-business and how can it affect your organisation? What is the scope of issues that are involved with e-business? Some aspects of business are clearly affected when an organisation decides to integrate e-business into its strategy, whilst some are affected more subtly - and of course there are even some issues not touched at all. * provide a structure to work with e-business: a three-pronged strategic framework is presented with which to develop a successful e-business solution. * provide a frame of reference that helps to stimulate creativity. Although this simple framework and guidelines will not guarantee e-business success, they may help entrepreneurs understand the context and complexities of e-business. [Publisher's abstract, amended]

Building inclusive information societies : Dutch perspectives for the WSIS

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICATION AND DEVELOPMENT (IICD)
ONEWORLD NEDERLAND
HUMANIST INSTITUTE FOR CO-OPERATION WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (HIVOS)
August 2003

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This document brings together recommendations for the Dutch delegation to the 2003 'World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)'. Themes identified are: cyber rights: property, privacy and freedom of expression; ICT and education; civil society and empowerment; and trade and entrepreneurship

Open source software : take it or leave it? The status of open source software in Africa : a study towards informed decision-making on ICT platforms

BRUGGINK, Martin
June 2003

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This report explores the current status and opportunities for open source software for organisations in Burkina Faso, Uganda and Tanzania, and posits possible migration scenarios (from proprietary towards open source software) and discusses what arguments should play a role in deciding to switch platforms. Includes a useful mock- question and answer session about open source from the perspectives of an NGO director, a chief information officer, and ICT specialist, and a marketing assistant

Cultural and political factors in the design of ICT projects in developing countries

ROZENDAL, Rutger
March 2003

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This research report argues that the project environment should be divided into a political and a cultural dimension. Both dimensions are difficult to direct, but by analysing them it is possible to foresee problems between the project organisation and its environment. Instead of directing the political and cultural forces, the art of management lies in anticipating them in advance. [Publisher's abstract]

Wireless communication

VONK, Tjalling
MULDER, Rolof
March 2003

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The use of wireless networks in developing areas is promising. Since ground cables are only economic in high-density environments, a wireless network is much cheaper when long distances need to be crossed to rural areas

From beedees to CDs : snapshots from a journey through India's rural knowledge centres

FERGUSON, Julie
January 2003

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Rural ICT centres, if properly designed and managed, can be much more than just 'access centres.' They can become community owned 'knowledge centres' that directly and indirectly empower people living in rural areas. This was the conclusion reached by participants in the first South-South travelling workshop on ICT-enabled development, organised by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation [Publisher's abstract]

Strengthening local capacities to create and adapt healthcare information

PAKENHAM-WALSH, Neil
October 2002

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The key messages of this report centre around the current global information explosion and its limited impact on access to relevant, practical information for healthcare providers in developing countries, who continue to lack access to the basic information they need. Relevance and reliability are paramount in meeting health information needs. Local 'health information providers' (publishers, libraries, NGOs, Ministries of Health) are best placed to provide content for local 'end users'. The effectiveness of the international 'health information community' is dependent on its ability to facilitate the expression of local knowledge and experience, and to promote dialogue and exchange among local providers and end users. Local producers and end users must be involved from the earliest stages in dialogue, priority-setting, problem-solving, creative thinking, and generation of plans for action. Creation and adaptation of local content requires access to a wide range of existing source materials, both internationally and nationally. Creation and adaptation of local content is resource-intensive and requires the full range of skills, including medical knowledge, knowledge of end-users needs, and writing and editorial skills. Traditional knowledge and 'scientific' knowledge are mutually reinforcing and can be combined in ways that enhance the quality and coverage of healthcare in developing countries. ICTs present new opportunities to enhance the above processes

Using ICTs to generate development content

BATCHELOR, Simon
October 2002

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This report examines how information can be packaged and communicated so that it reflects the context of the reciever. It stresses that communication and information provision is a process like any other in development, and ICTs should be seen as tools to improve livelihoods, and not an end in and of themselves. It reviews recent research on the types of information demanded by communities, and emphasises the importance of visual content for including non- and semi-literate people. The paper outlines then key elements required in any planned content production, especially by NGOs or governments. A final comment is made on intellectual property rights (IPR)

Sustaining ICT-enabled development : practice makes perfect?

FERGUSON, Julie
BALLANTYNE, Peter
August 2002

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Report of a workshop that explored the sustainability of ICT-enabled development interventions. The discussion centred around the 'classic' or organisational and developmental factors, indicating that ICTs are not inherently more or less sustainable than other instruments. It also focused on some of the specific characteristics of ICTs - such as their fast pace and the effect of this acceleration on business processes and decision-making, and the illusion of the 'quick fix'. The report also pulls out the impact of basic infrastructure on the impact of ICTs in addressing poverty. It concludes with eight 'steps' or guides to enhancing the sustainability of ICT-enabled interventions

Collecting and propagating local development content : synthesis and conclusions

BALLANTYNE, Peter
May 2002

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Drawing from a consultation process to examine how local content in developing countries is created, adapted, and exchanged, this report provides some answers to these questions. It is a synthesis of lessons; the case stories which are reproduced in an accompanying report provide details on actual experienses and lessons from the ground

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