HEdIS team member Prof. Ulrike Rivett from the University of Cape Town visited the University of Oldenburg. Not only did she held a guest lecture on Information Communication Technology for Development, abbreviated as ICT4D, we also had a group meeting to start planning ahead for the coming months.
In her lecture, Prof. Ulrike Rivett talked about ICT4D – mobile technologies to leapfrog development in Africa. She works in a research team on Information for Community Services, iCOMMS, a research team within the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town. iCOMMS’ work focus lies on how ICT can enhance service delivery through socially responsive research to support government in delivering on its commitments. Her lecture introduced German students to the concept ICT4D and the role of mobile phones in ICT4D, as well as application design, design thinking and stakeholder engagement. ICT4D is used for international development that is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The essence of ICT4D is to bridge the ‘Digital Divide’ and collect mobile data in order to make better decisions thanks to better information. Since a large number of people have access to mobile phones it has great development potentials. This is due to the fact that it offers accountability and transparency, resulting in increasing democracy and public participation, which is especially interesting in the political context of South Africa. She, for sure, illustrated the potential of ICT4D but also how controversial and complex the concept of development and the design of technical solutions is. Students were also able to get a better understanding of research in an African context. South African regions and African countries in general cannot be generalised, there are different set ups and settings, which have to be accounted for.
Besides the guest lecture, we were able to take some time to talk about upcoming events of the HEdIS project in 2018. Further information on our activities in 2018 will be published on this website soon.