1. Can ICTs be innovatively used in the absence of minimum literacy levels among the poor?
I believe that ICTs cannot be used in the absence of minimum literacy levels among the poor. I am from a poor rural area where only radios are owned by the majority of the households. Televisions, telephones and newspapers are accessed by the minority of the households and they are normally shared amongst the relatives and neighbors. When it comes to accessing computers and internet connection you have to travel to town for one to access these facilities. The villagers rely on information from informal networks of trusted family, friends and local chiefs, and these networks do not satisfy the information needs of the people. This shows that even if ICT systems could be introduced in the village it does not necessary mean that it will improve access to information as it is very difficult for illiterate people to gain the benefits of technology even if there can be a wide access to knowledge and information. The powerful obstacle to the use of ICT tools in poor societies is illiteracy and low level of education. For instance, if computers are to be be provided for poor societies but they do not have the knowledge of what a computer can do for e.g. to store information, and access to internet there is still a big variance between ICTs and poor societies.
2. How can the same ICTs be used for multiple purposes? What steps are needed to use, say the Internet for meeting the educational and health needs of poor female farmers in an isolated rural community?
ICTs can be used for multiple purposes for example, a computer lab in a school should not only be reserved for learning ICT skills but also be at the disposal of the math and science classes for enriching their work, and/or available to teachers for their own professional development, or opened for use after school hours by the community for informal education, or for other such uses. Low rates on ICT...
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