Re: [GKD] RFI: Who is Linking DE with BOP Strategies?

2005-08-12 Thread John Lawrence
Jim, I think you are absolutely on target...these ideas have nagged at
many of us for  years... and there have been  significant if discrete
efforts, but nothing yet on the scale you suggest... perhaps the most
persistent proselyte is Alfred Bork, who is developing (has developed?)
a new book on this subject, and surely will respond to this discussion
.. your point of institutional constraint is also critical... while
nothing quite matches the kudzu of academic tenure (although increasing
use of adjuncts does seem to be one practical measure!), the grip is
very strong of the teachers unions at BOP levels worldwide... and
bringing them on board, rather than bypassing them, seems to be the crux
of implementing these kinds of reforms

John Lawrence


On 8/5/05, Jim Stodder [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Hello, I've been an occasional lurker on this List for years. I have a
 question to which I'd love a response. Can anyone give me good
 references linking 'Base of the Pyramid' (BOP) strategies with Distance
 Education (DE)? Forgive me if this seems too obvious for words, but
 here's my thought:
 
 I just finished reading Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by
 Prahalad, and Captialism at the Crossroads by Hart. It occurs to me
 that DE to the BOP would be one of the 'leapfrog' technologies of which
 they speak, both because of (1) hard institutional constraints in the
 1st world and (2) huge cost savings of appropriate technology at the
 BOP. If non-obvious, points (1-2) are developed below.

..snip...





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[GKD] Increasing the Value of Donor Aid

2005-03-30 Thread John Lawrence
Dear GKD Members,

I've recently done some digging around Tom's point below concerning a
lot of venting, some of it inconsistent at best, on 'boomerang'
bilateral money invested in development (i.e., returning funds to the
source). OXFAM has suggested that only about 20% of aid actually gets to
the neediest. Too often domestic interests take precedence: almost 30
percent of G7 aid money is tied to an obligation to buy goods and
services from the donor country. The practice is not only self-serving,
but highly inefficient; yet it is employed widely by Italy and the USA.
Despite donors' agreements to untie aid to the poorest countries, only
six of the 22 major donor countries have almost or completely done so.
(See OXFAM International, Paying the Price: Why Rich Countries Must
Invest Now in a War on Poverty, Oxford, England 2005)
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/what_we_do/issues/debt_aid/mdgs_price.htm

Thalif Deen, in a July 7, 2004 IPS article entitled  Tied Aid
Strangling Nations, Says UN , says: Donor money that comes with
strings attached cuts the value of aid to recipient countries 25-40
percent, because it obliges them to purchase uncompetitively priced
imports from the richer nations, says a new U.N. study on African
economies. In particular, The United States makes sure that 80 cents in
every aid dollar is returned to the home country, according to a
representative of 50 Years is Enough.
http://www.aegis.com/news/ips/2004/IP040715.html

The 'new' UN study referred to is ECOSOC. E/2004/17. Economic report on
Africa 2004: unlocking Africa's potential in the global economy, 12 May
2004, which can be read at:
http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/347/65/PDF/N0434765.pdf?OpenElem
ent

There is also the practice of 'round-tripping', which gets referred to
quite generally in another 2005 ActionAid/OXFAM report as comparable,
but which is a term more usually applied to a quite specific form of
procuring debt in local currency, then transferring it into foreign
currency on the 'secondary' market... see:
http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecesa/eces99-2.htm

I'm still trying to sort out fact from fantasy hereanyone with more
info on this, I would be glad to hear from...


Kind regards,
 
John E.S. Lawrence
UNDP consultant


On 3/29/05, Tom Abeles [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 ...But then, development is a growth industry, in and of itself. Yet, as
 you so cogently point out, much of the problem in development rests with
 the arcane and archaic government within countries. And it is
 interesting to note, that in the case of the United States, a
 significant portion of money invested in development, flows back to the
 United States- I believe, at one time, USAID said the number was close
 to 80%

..snip...




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Re: [GKD] Nigeria: Silicon Valley Transplant

2005-01-04 Thread John Lawrence
In addition to David Sawe's noting that shortcuts can occur in
technological development, and that there is not only one linear path of
progress that all must doggedly follow, his posting contains another
interesting point that should perhaps be emphasised. The 'death of
distance' means that those talented, and sometimes more fortunate folks
from poorer world regions who are educated and live abroad indeed can now
contribute to the development of their 'very own countries'. There are
several ways in which this can be done, especially with new ICTs, but one
is the UNDP Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN)
Program (see for example the call to the Somalia Diaspora to engage in
rebuilding that country) at http://www.so.undp.org/Home.htm

John Lawrence
UNDP consultant, and
Adjunct Professor, SIPA
Columbia University.



On 12/30/04, David Sawe [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote: 

 Well it seems that this particular chicken-and-egg problem is rather
 multi-dimensional. Hence there is need to include, in addition to
 crawl, walk, run, fly, some provision for leap-frog and indeed even
 cheetah-polevault where that may be possible. In this case, Nigeria's
 Government has decided to move boldly.
 
 It is an inescapable fact that people in developing countries are going
 to be receiving training in basic -AND- advanced sciences, either in
 their home countries or abroad. This is not necessarily from the
 government's funding, but also from scholarships, private resources, and
 all kinds of other sources. However, such people will not be able to
 contribute meaningfully to their own country's development if compelled
 to live and work abroad where they'll be helping solve the problems of
 developed countries instead of those of their very own countries.
 
 Additionally, one of the key advantages of ICT -- that of the death of
 distance -- offers opportunities for development activities, training
 and education, access to capital, etc. that far out-reach anything that
 would have been imaginable just twenty years ago. In the context of
 developing countries, this is significant because all too often our
 populations are spread out thinly across a large geographical area, but
 are entitled to consistent services wherever they are. They constitute
 the engine of growth that is being revved up by establishing centres of
 excellence which will focus on listening to and addressing their needs,
 by harnessing those technologies that can best deliver the most
 affordable and sustainable solutions to their problems.

..snip...




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Is Profitability Essential for Sustainability?

2004-11-24 Thread John Lawrence
Something I may have missed from this conversation is upfront rigorous RD
traditionally required before launching innovations out into the business
mainstream... (legal) drugs are a good metaphor...maybe profit is down the
road, but to get to the stage where that is possible, big (business) risks
have to be taken on a sometimes slender set of hypotheses i.e. that this
product a) will pass regulatory requirements for human experimentation,  b)
pass optimally through a protracted, expensive expensive clinical trials
process, and ultimately  c) survive legal challenges in the open
marketplace investments in this process are argued for by drug
companies as rationale for high prices, and relentless profit seeking 

In the social service arena, do we go out too readily with marketing
'products' (services) based on little except flawed 'best case'
precedents... ? 

John Lawrence
former Principal Adviser, UNDP


On Monday, November 22, 2004, Jeff Cochrane [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
  
..snip...

 Nonetheless, I do think that in some circumstances a solution based on
 profitability can be the optimal one. In those circumstances, the
 challenge seems to be finding an innovative business model that targets
 the poor as consumers. The emphasis is on **innovative**.
..snip...
 How do we set about the task of first unearthing, and then exploring,
 those innovative business models that can make profitability work for
 the poor, not necessarily in every case, but at least in more cases than
 we're seeing now?
 
 My personal sense is that standard approaches to program development
 cannot cope.




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] What Are the 'Right' Resources to Foster Professional Development?

2004-06-22 Thread John Lawrence
An interesting homeostatic trend is emerging in this discussion in
response to Femi's challenge: Tom argues importantly for incentives
either not to leave, or to return to origins in the interests of
community sustainability; Sam understandably wants skilled personel to
remain in service for local society...yet while I write this, the first
pioneer private astronaut has been propelled skywards sixty two miles
taking ICT with him, breaking new barriers...and what about the 17th
century mayflower foundations for new-ness and exploratory community in
the US (and the subsequent need for transatlantic communication between
the US and Europe) from which burgeoned the Internet etcAfrica has
the unique advantage of being able to leapfrog on these technologies...
but for the same reasons that people have been restless throughout human
history, we cannot expect the entrepreneurial and exploratory members of
those communities not to seek opportunity wherever they can find
it...and as Femi suggests, culture will not inhibit this 
quasi-instinctual drive, but in fact will promote it. 

Kind regards,

John Lawrence


On June 18, 2004, Tom Abeles [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
  
 Sam Lanfranco's comment, below, is worth serious reflection,
 particularly his last sentence (copied up, here):
  
 The challenge is to keep the skilled personnel in service for local
 society.

..snip...

 Every company has faced this issue. Expending resources to train skilled
 personnel is not a guarantee that they will remain or even that the
 company will need them in the future.

..snip...

 It seems to me that the problem has been turned upside down. We need a
 livable and desirable community to induce individuals to either not
 leave, or in some cases, return or locate in that community. If that
 exists, then the needed skills will come and/or skilled individuals will
 remain. In the US we have a group of highly qualified individuals who
 move to remote locations because they find them attractive, and the
 infrastructure support (e.g. broad band access) and good mobility
 support them in these spaces.



On June 16, 2004, Sam Lanfranco [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 On Tue, June 15, 2004, Femi Oyesanya [EMAIL PROTECTED] posed the
 following question to my analysis about the need for organizational
 change (Knowledge Mangement  Learning Organization Behaviour):
   
 Why then did developing Countries in Africa embrace the typewriter,
 mobile phone, and fax machine? I submit, that the notion of
 organizational cultural changes as a significant prerequisite for ICT
 skill development is flawed.
 
   
 Femi is correct in this observation. The suggestion was not that
 organizational cultural changes are a prerequisite for ICT-enhanced
 skill development. The suggestion was that they are a co-requisite if
 the local society expects to both effectively utilize those skills, and
 to keep those skilled personnel in local residence, for service to the
 local society. There is no question that skilled personnel are turning
 to ICT-enhanced opportunities on an as can basis. For evidence of
 this, one only has to look at how wireless telephony (cell phones) have
 raced ahead, and been widely deployed, in contrast to all other forms of
 ICT-supported applications. The challenge is to keep the skilled
 personnel in service for local society.




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-14 Thread John Lawrence
Since much of the Internet technology (laptops, telecentres etc) seems
to be landline based, yet it is cellular telephony that is flourishing
in many of the less developed countries, is there a 'disconnect' here
that may be inhibiting the spread of the Internet to rural areas?...I
just came back from Yemen where cellphones predominate, and coverage has
been obtained over most of the country... so voice connections are now
relatively normal even to remote rural districts...but Internet of
course (notwithstanding the Arabic language issue) is largely confined
just to cities...

John Lawrence



Don Richardson wrote:
..snip...
 The telephone is the most basic unit of telecommunications service. The
 policies and programs implemented in support of rural telephony services
 are a critical part of the supporting environment for other rural ICT
 initiatives. In most cases rural connectivity can best piggyback on or
 leverage infrastructure that is primarily intended to support rural
 telephony. Among rural populations, voice communications will usually be
 the most immediately useful and easily accessible service (application).
..snip...






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Re: [GKD] Public Sociologies: A Timely Alert

2003-10-10 Thread John Lawrence
I completely agree with your observation that ICTs remain underdeveloped
as the foundation for an entirely new approach .. but am not sure yet
another meeting is needed! Somehow we have to deal with the remaining
luddites in the policy arena, and mainstream ICTs into development
thinking above all this will take perseverance and good case
evidence (as you suggest).

best, 
John


Margaret Grieco wrote:

 At a recent presentation at Cornell University, the president of the
 American Sociological Association talked to the room on the topic of
 'public sociologies'. His address happened without a single reference to
 the internet or to ICTs aligned with participatory policy or planning.
 The importance of ICTs as a new ground of the policy social sciences has
 been and continues to be under-recorded and under-theorised.
 
 There is clearly a need for a better showcasing of 'grassroots'
 sociology: the evaluation and assessment of their own condition by
 communities using the tools of the new technology clearly represents a
 new 'public sociology' but is one which has not yet caught the attention
 and imagination of the professionals or the academy. The disconnect
 between social scientists and the potentials of the new information
 communication technology is worthy of a meeting in itself.





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Re: [GKD] RFI: Email for Rural Africa

2003-01-03 Thread John Lawrence
May I counter Alan, and suggest that development need not follow one
model, or proceed via sequential steps, but can progress in parallel
directions ... food and water AND e-connections together, even
symbiotically as is happening in other rural areas of the world (e.g. S.
Orissa, Tamil Nadu) so as someone who has myself experienced
extraordinary benefits of embryonic e-connectivity in southern Africa,
may I wish you every encouragement and success. 

John Lawrence 
(former UNDP staff member)



Alan [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Pamela McLean wrote:

 I am exploring email options on behalf of a grass roots rural
 development project: OOCD 2000+ (Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda
 2000 Plus). Through historic reasons of friendship I use my home
 broadband Internet connection in the UK on behalf of the project. Any
 advice on technical issues, or organisational practicalities of setting
 up and running a bureau would be appreciated.


 The argument is simple, one should not be trying to deliver ICTs or
 Internet to areas that do not have sufficient food and water. The basics
 are primary requirements for development.




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[GKD] Digital Information Is Vanishing

2002-07-12 Thread John Lawrence

The following appeared in UNWIRE:
http://www.unwire.org/unwire/current.asp#26985

Is this e-info dying a natural death thru inattention, thus
relieving clogged info-highways, or is this a serious issue of
non-archiving of essential knowledge?


TECHNOLOGY: Digital Information Is Vanishing, Warns UNESCO

Knowledge stored digitally, including important scientific and
government information, is vanishing, and more could be lost if action
is not taken to conserve it, UNESCO said yesterday.

Some of the material in jeopardy exists only in digital form, meaning it
could become impossible to consult unless the original or compatible
hardware and software are also maintained. The U.N. agency cited the
case of a neurobiologist seeking information from the Viking space
probes, which were sent to Mars in the 1970s, who discovered the
software used to read the 25-year-old computer tapes no longer existed
and that the programmers who knew it had died.

UNESCO also warned information contained on private and public Web sites
could be lost, as the sites are often changed without saving the
previous data. It said the White House Web site was wiped clean after
President Bill Clinton left office and that its nonarchived Internet
links are now gone.

The United Nations began consultations on methods to safeguard such  
information after member states called for rapid action on the issue
last month (U.N. release, June 11).




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Re: [GKD] Value of World Bank Website

2002-06-24 Thread John Lawrence

This seems a good candidate for a thoughtful case study, especially
appropriate during the International Year of the Mountains. I am amazed
that mountains symbolize essential communications sites for cell towers
and other hardware, yet the people dwelling in those same mountains
seldom seem able to reap the benefits (economic, technological) in their
own indigenous communities, even in industrialized countries. The
advantages of modern ICTs seem to skip over them. Perhaps Martha Davies
could comment on this Andean example, since she has done so much to help
bring ICTs to local communities in Peru.



Scott Robinson wrote:

 Peter Burgess' recent post is on the mark. His comments re
 accountability and the lack of same in the Development Business are
 germane to any evaluation of the World Bank Group, its websites and
 investment strategies. A recent discovery of mine merits mention here:
 an IT for development and community telecenter conference in northern
 Peru two months ago programmed a visit to a highland village
 inaugurating a low power community radio station (using truck batteries
 for power). En route to and fro our group shoehorned into two
 microbuses passed the largest gold mine in Latin America, Minera
 Yanacocha. With its satellite-fed Internet connection to its offices on
 the pÂ…ramo, above 3500 meters, it seemed logical to request the company
 offer fixed wireless connectivity to the many villages within and on the
 perimeter of its extensive subsurface mineral concessions impacting
 several communities. Upon return home, I discovered there is a dispute
 being adjudicated by the internal IFC Ombudsman office re this mine, and
 that IFC has a 10% equity share in the operation (with Newmont Mining,
 Denver, Colorado).

 We can only ask why can't the good World Bank / Int'l Finance Corp.
 planners and program officers see fit to add a minor line item in the
 project budget that would offer the virtues of connectivity to those who
 have none and whose livelihood is placed at risk by toxic, mercury
 spills in their delicate Andean highland econiche?






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Re: [GKD] Digital Divide vs. Social Divide.

2002-04-03 Thread John Lawrence

To Yacine: It is hard to disagree with your pithily expressed
frustration, or sharp definition of the social schisms underlying the
'digital divide' (DD) however I would suggest there is some
political utility in keeping these two words as a sort of quick
shorthand.. if it can focus the attention of policymakers ...  DD
resonates at several levels, after all, one of the first references was
in the US (then) Vice President Gore's introduction of a US Internet
policy, and what could be called the 'Carthage' principle... where he
said that if the information highway bypassed his birthplace, Carthage,
Te (pop 2251), he was not interested in promoting it... and the big
question was how to build on-ramps accessible from small rural areas
admittedly this ignores critical development  issues like literacy,
language of access, utility of information, and modalities in
zero-electricity regions. but I would not disregard the value of the
DD label as a good shorthand for mobilizing political will and thus
(hopefully) resources ... while surely we  must not ignore
underlying social factors which are truly important, the speed is so
precipitous at which community Internet access technologies are moving,
we can scarcely afford to wait...here follows a quick personal
(admittedly 'northern') anecdote to illustrate.for years like many,
I have used all kinds of devices/strategies to get at my email while
travelling... and found it sometimes easier in Africa or India than in
rural US or UK...but when an Internet cafe popped up in London Heathrow,
with branches in some motorway rest areas out in the countryside..I
joined happily, and received a little card (named E-Internet Exchange
with a logo suspiciously close to UNESCO's!)..that was stamped each
time, promising bonuses to frequent users... now, it seemed, my access
problem was solved for pennies a visit EXCEPT I had not allowed for
the vagaries of the 'free' market system (nor the awesomely steep
technology curve)... two weeks ago I smugly steered my car into the
Oxford (M40) motorway service center to have a coffee and pickup my
email.. but lo and behold.. the shiny computer consoles were nowhere
to be seen, no eager service person ushering me to my keyboard, just
tables, trays and people eating I found the 'manager' who apologised
and said there was just not enough business to justify continuing the
cyber-investment.so I began to twitter through early stages of
e-withdrawal ...on the way back through London, I found part of
the reason for the demise of roadside E-Internet
Exchange..near Victoria Station is a cavernous
cybercasino-type facility (which did not honour my little card)... where
there were at least four times as many consoles, and no expensive 7/24
service-person, just cash machines like a swiss busstop, where you put
in your coins or banknote, and out comes a unique password... good for
60 minutes... you then wait your turn for one of the scores of folks to
get up ... you leap in, sit down, enter your password at the prompt, and
the Internet is yours interestingly, this is only a block from the
new DFID HQ one wonders if that is pure chance? this is the first
time I have encountered this kind of automated Internet cafe... but
maybe others have seen it elsewhere? certainly it must be confined (like
big hospitals, well-financed public schools) to wealthy, probably urban
areas? again endorsing the metaphor of the 'digital divide'.

Yacine Khelladi wrote:

  Just as we seek to close the Digital Divide between the North and South,

 We are sick and tired of the digital divide problem. The REAL problem
 is how are we going to use the Strategic opportunities offered by the
 ICTs to close the SOCIAL divide. And avoid digital divide initiatives
 that deepen the social divide. This is not a semantic problem, but a
 vision that encompasses all of our objectives, methods and actions, to
 use ICTs for sustainable human development.




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Re: [GKD] Integrating Western and Traditional Information Systems

2002-02-22 Thread John Lawrence

This gets at the heart of development efforts to match western
infotechnologies and local social and cultural processes. Particularly
interesting is the effort to understand the differences in perceptual
organization, and therefore knowledge 'management' at the most
fundamental levels. Can I ask, have you considered the implications for
possible education system applications, and e-learning approaches?

Stuart Hawthorne wrote:

 The literature covering the implemention of Western designed information
 systems in developing countries frequently attests to the difficulty of
 matching the world view of the local community with the way knowledge is
 represented in the system. This difficulty arises because the local
 perspective is, or is historically derived from, a community-centered
 approach to information sharing. It is holistic and essentially
 deductive. This contrasts with the inductive, segmented nature of
 Western information systems. While there is much descriptive comment on
 the problems this mismatch causes, little attention has been given to
 identifying the operational differences at the analytical level. Our
 view is that if we can identify the actual processes that occur in the
 community-based information processing system, we may be able to develop
 information systems better suited to the user in the traditional
 community. This will provide the means for the traditional user to
 access indexed information under his own familiar perspective and
 facilitate access by the traditional user to Western datastores. Given
 our backgrounds, our interest lies largely with the traditional
 Melanesian community but have a strong suspicion that there are general
 principles that apply to all community-based (historically oral)
 information systems employing distributed storage. For example, given
 system requirements, it seems determination of relevance has to occur at
 a different, probably later, time in the retrieval process than it does
 in Western systems. The anecdotal evidence points in this direction at
 least.  We would very much like to make contact with anyone working in
 this area or to learn of any related research we may consult.





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Re: [GKD] Project Trains Women in Computer Skills (India)

2002-02-13 Thread John Lawrence

Mridula, thank you for this update on the INFODEV-supported SITA and
MitraMandal, around which you raise crucial questions of job placement
for project trainees. As I'm sure you know, the relationship between
training and presumed 'jobs' that hypothetically await successful
trainees has always been one of the most vexed and difficult problems
facing program designers/evaluators, and is by no means limited to
India, or even to these kinds of approaches or communities. I think the
issue is broadly at the base of all 'human resources development'
strategies ( the subject of the forthcoming ECOSOC 2002 High Level
Segment), and symbolic of major shortcomings in HRD policy and practice.
Assumptions under which public training programs are usually themselves
'marketed' include statements about increased job-skills, without
specifying how those job-skills are identified, or defined, or even if
they are empirical (i.e. derived directly from the contextual
'job-market' which trainees will face). Yet outcome measures usually
include measures of 'placement', again usually short-term without regard
to how long or how successfully the job-entrant does over time. Western
literature (including western 'expert' studies of worldwide HRD
vocational education and training programs) is replete with evidence
that those who successfully complete training programs either have
difficulty finding jobs, or find them in very different areas from those
in which they were trained. So I suggest this is not just a problem for
SITA trainees, but raises much broader questions. Many countries today
are full of high school, even university graduates who are unable to
find jobs commensurate with their expectations or perceived skills
levels.

The work that SITA has done is groundbreaking and has surely brought
hope and gratification to its 400+ women who have completed the
training. Just bringing the IT world closer to life of poorer Indian
communities may be seen as a benefit in itself, though scant reward for
those who want the training to lead to tangible improvements personally
in their own livelihoods.

The SITA webpage states that each trainee was given a Certificate and
assistance in getting employment. I am curious to ask what kind of
assistance that was, and to what extent it was based on actual
(empirically supported) knowledge of employment opportunities in
communities where the trainees lived, their own aspirations/expectations
regarding 'job' pursuit, and  the expectations of those who would employ
the succesful trainees.

Is there any possibility that the training for these women could lead to
(parttime?) employment in some way as outreach workers (analagous to
community  health assistants) serving as official links between
government (state and local) and local communities as frontline liaison
persons? Or could they become themselves basic trainers in their own
communities regarding introduction of IT into these communities? Im not
sure of precedents for this, but perhaps others on this network can
identify some?





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Re: [GKD] Acknowledging the Digital Divide

2002-01-07 Thread John Lawrence

I was going through Grand Central station in New York City just before
Christmas, and while buying bagels in the new GC market, I struck up a
brief post 9/11 commiseration with  the person serving me ( a woman).
She assured me confidently that 9/11 was a function of the huge global
social divide (although she didnt use that word... she phrased it more
in terms of communication lack)... and said that all would be solved
eventually by the Internet...all the world needed was free, open and
equitable access for all to all information and knowledge and
problems would be resolved... we didnt get into any snaggy little
details like absent electric power or local language issues... (that
would have destroyed the moment) but I was genuinely struck by the power
of her 'faith' .

It is naive however (in my opinion) to believe that universal access to
information somehow will resolve the world's philosophical, religious,
and ethical divides. Just give the same 'information' to the standard
experimental psychology sample of university students (the basis of most
of today's western psychological theory) and see the statistical
deviance in resulting behavior even around the normspeople read the
same tea-leaves differentlyfind the same book/movie variously
enjoyable or tedious, and rice pudding hideous or delectable

So in this interesting thread I resonate to the idea of direct voicing 
(the original purpose of the GKD List) and access to services. I also
like Alan Levy's admonition to keep social development un-imposed, using
various kinds of e-platforms as facilitators.  But the reality is that
free markets have inevitably favored the well-heeled, and therefore
those with substantial assets to begin with. So not surprisingly, this
asymmetry is already clearly evident in the spread and utilization of
e-technologies. As learning has generally throughout human history been
the province of the learned (building exclusion upon exclusion) the real
challenge for digital-divide opponents is to welcome diversity (usually
at odds with conservatism!), and pay the (high) costs to traditional
institutions that will inevitably result.




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Re: [GKD] RFI: Cost of Bridging Digital Divide?

2001-12-05 Thread John Lawrence

To Nihil Desai...
you raise  interesting issues in your laconic treatment of the
numbers. which connect to Remigio Achia's zinging criticism of
expensive western consultants, in the following way not only do they
(we) come in with expense accounts and a marked reluctance to venture
forth from the eastern US seabord or national capitals in order to
articulate influential policy advice, but (they) we come in with a heavy
western 'numbers' bias, based on extensive graduate exposure to western
professors of statistics, theories of central tendency, and a form of
analytical mechanics which may perhaps turn out to be as limiting to
understanding human behaviour as Newtonian theories did to physics.
the issue of information as a public good has been thoughtfully adressed
(eg OXFAM http://danny.oz.au/free-software/advocacy/oicampaign.html) and
technologies also, though tangentially, in the new UNDP Human
Development Report (e.g. p95, 96)...



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Re: [GKD] South Africa's Kwa-Dukuza Digital Village

2001-10-10 Thread John Lawrence

Thanks for pointing to the  intriguing summary of the Digital Village
effort. One quick question: the following quote:

 records of members are kept for those using the digital village.
 Members book in for half hour slots at a time and depending on how full
 the Centre is a member may re-book for additional time

is encouraging, but I could not find any information in the article on
how actually the users spend their time.. has any tracing been done
of individual access to materials... how long on a specific site for
example?



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Re: [GKD] Welcome Back to the GKD Discussion!

2001-09-12 Thread John Lawrence

I'm really glad to see the return of this forum... as an inaugural
addict, I've been in withdrawal. Rather than suppose (or impose) a theme,
my contribution is a quick question:

the world's mountain regions contain some of the most remote, and
poorest communities, often with profound natural (not to mention
spiritual) resources, and Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 singles them out for
special focus in terms of conservation, sustainability and poverty
reduction. yet these regions remain on or outside the edges of the
communications revolution.so,  is anyone aware of specific public
and/or private sector  initiatives to bridge these gaps ... after all
laptops/cellphones have functioned effectively for (relatively) wealthy
climbers and sportsters on Mt Everest so links are potentially
achievable. does this technology penetrate positively into mountain
communities anywhere? and is it welcome? productive in improving the
quality of life?




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Re: [GKD] Why aren't more people online?

2001-07-12 Thread John Lawrence

Very useful analysis I would add illiteracy and language restrictions
to this causal pattern, but doesn't this raise an important policy question
concerning the digital divide? Since time can only exacerbate the gap
between those who are already profiting (in various ways) from Internet
technology, and those who are not even able to access it, what should be
the policy approach? Just let time pass? Or work aggressively to extend
and put in place the necessary infrastructures where the demand is
evidenced?

Steve Cisler wrote:

  Why aren't more people online? The answer is obvious to many GKD
  readers. Here's an interesting international study about the
  situation
 
  The San Jose Mercury News' writer David Plotnikoff alerted me to it:
  http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/opinion/daveplot/dp062101.htm
 





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Re: [GKD] Re: Digital Divide: good and bad

2001-03-22 Thread John Lawrence

For an extraordinary visual 'take' on the global didgital divide, list
participants might wish to look at the composite night picture of the
globe taken from orbiting DMSP satellites, at:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap001127.html 

While admittedly a mixed sampling, it is one more window on differential
access/use of electricity  I found the Korean divide, Puerto Rico as
compared with the rest of the Caribbean, and of course the African
continent, especially interesting.



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[GKD] Call for papers: A Digital Divide? Facts, Explanations, Policies

2001-03-12 Thread John Lawrence

For information.


Subject: [DEOS-L] call for papers: Digital Divide
From: Teri Harrison [EMAIL PROTECTED]

  CALL FOR PAPERS
   EJC/REC: Electronic Journal of Communication/
   La Revue Electronique de Communication

  A Digital Divide? Facts, Explanations, Policies

  Interested scholars are invited to submit manuscripts for a special
  issue of Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue Electronique de
  Communication (EJC/REC) that will focus on research and theory
  concerning the so-called digital divide.  Presently, heated discussions
  are taking place in America and Europe, in particular, about whether
  there is such a digital divide or not.  And when it is deemed to exist,
  the next question is whether it will close or widen in years to come.
  Most of this discussion is politically charged.  Solid scientific
  research and analysis are scarce.  In the meantime, official statistics
  are beginning to appear, like those of the US Census Bureau, summarized
  in the NTIA's reports Falling through the Net I, II, III, the
  Eurobarometer and United Nations Development Reports.  However, research
  and analysis based on these resources and other primarily descriptive
  statistics does not take into consideration the multifaceted nature of
  access, the social, cultural, and psychological causes for lack of
  access, the need for theory to explain these problems and policy
  measures to address them, and the contributions that a communicative or
  psychological perspective can provide.

  We invite manuscripts that address the digital divide and any of the
  problems associated with understanding its nature, its origins, and its
  potential solutions.  In particular, we welcome:

  * Empirical studies related to the existence of a digital divide
  (clearly defined) among one or more of the categories of income,
  education, occupation, age, sex, race and ethnicity.  Multivariate
  analyses are preferred.

  * Summary statistics and other concise descriptions of distributions
  of computers, networks, skills and uses around the world, including
  Northern America, European Union, Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia and the
  Third World.

  * Explanations of (in)equalities based on longitudinal data and/or
  multivariate models, new conceptual distinctions, and/or theories of
  (in)equality in the information and network society.

  * Studies highlighting problems of attitudes towards digital
  technology, digital skills, usage styles and actual usage in different
  social contexts, with special attention to the social categories
  mentioned above.

  * Studies supporting or refuting popular claims about digital
  technology and its opportunities to solve inequalities.  For example,
  has digital technology enabled higher rates of political participation
  in general or has it benefited the existing political elite and already
  politically active with yet another instrument to increase their
  advantage?

  * Descriptions and analyses of concrete policy measures pursued by
  governments, corporations, union-, consumer- and user groups and civic
  institutions.

  Manuscripts should be prepared following guidelines of the American
  Psychological Association (4th ed.).  Authors should be careful to
  remove all personal references from the manuscript to allow for blind
  review.  Manuscripts must be submitted electronically.  After acceptance
  both a hard copy and an electronic copy will be required.  Deadline for
  the receipt of manuscripts is July 31, 2001.

  Notification of (non)acceptance within 5 weeks (receipts in June and
  July 2 weeks longer).

  Authors should submit manuscripts to the Guest Editor:

  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

  Prof. Dr. Jan A.G.M. van Dijk
  University of Twente
  Department of Communication
  Chair: Sociology of the Information Society

  Post Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede
  THE NETHERLANDS

  Contributions will be reviewed by the editorial board of this
  special issue:  Jan A.G.M. van Dijk, University of Twente NL, Kenneth
  Hacker, State University of New Mexico, Joe Straubhaar, University of
  Texas, Austin and a fourth communication researcher from a third world
  country, to be confirmed.

  The Electronic Journal of Communication/La revue electronique de
  communication, one of the first five electronic refereed scholarly
  journals ever created, has been in continuous publication since 1990.
  For more information, see http://www.cios.org/www/ejcrec2.htm.

Please forward this announcement to interested individuals.




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[GKD] Re: Overestimating the Digital Divide

2001-02-27 Thread John Lawrence

This is a good point. We found many occasions in our early UNDP
experimentation with e-LISTS where southern access was through northern
servers. This included ex-pat nationals who were studying/posted
temporarily to northern countries, as well as those using northern dialup
services from southern sites.

But is this the only, or even the major dimension on which we should
judge the socalled divide? Other factors where enormous variability
exists between countries/continents include costs of telephone or other
access, connect reliability, service backup, not to mention cultural
inhibitors, censorship, and other government delimiters (e.g. routine and
invasive surveillance) one of  the biggest dividing issues is the
dominance of the English language... I went through JFK airport in New
York earlier this month and saw a billboard in the American Airlines
Terminal proposing  that Chinese would be the most used INTERNET language
within a decade, and (said the announcement) `that's when it gets
interesting'.



Richard Heeks wrote:
 
  The global digital divide between North and South - the
  industrialised and the developing nations - is undoubtedly great.
  But it is also overestimated.
 
  Why?  Because we tend to use invalid models of connectivity in
  the South: models that rely on Northern notions of one email
  account serving one individual; and pre-global notions of
  Internet hosts and accounts merely serving their host country.
 
 




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