and Communications Workshop
Saturday 15 November 2008
Time: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Location: Royal Holloway, University of London, Geography
Department (Queens Building) in Egham, Surrey.
Form - to be returned by 10th November
of workshop presentations
use (and abuse) of the term “community” is nothing new in
the development sector. However, the availability of ICT tools and solutions
for use in developing countries has contributed to a new wave of attention
and emphasis on community and communities.This renewed interest is visible
in the work of researchers worldwide. There is an interest in studying
the role of ICT when applied to specific “communities” of
users – no matter how defined. The use of the word “community”
associated with “ICT” rarely questions about what is truly
new in the relationship between the ICT sector and the grassroots development
dimension of the “community perspective”.
aim of this workshop is to explore new meanings of the term “community”
in relation to ICT4D research, and new opportunities and challenges for
community-based development through the employment of ICT.
The workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners from very
different backgrounds, ranging from sociology, development studies, and
computer science. It will provide an opportunity for researchers and ICT
solution providers to discuss and debate different views on challenges
and the opportunity for the role of ICT in fostering sustainable communities.
questions and topics that will be addressed in the workshop include:
community to communities
• How does the concept of “community” change with the
introduction of ICT?
• Does it still make sense to define communities based on place,
work or ethnic- affiliation in the era of online social networking and
digital communities? Rural communities are generally referred to (or idealised)
as homogeneous entities, getting together and co-operating for common
• How do new communication technologies and patterns affect community
participation, cohesion and identity, when compared to “old”
ICTs such us radio and print media?
• What do we mean when we talk about community-based introduction
• Is there any concrete gain in the level of inclusion and participation
facilitated by the introduction of ICT?
• Are ICT agents of social change at community level, or do they
mostly reflect (or reinforce) previous power distribution and information/knowledge
divide within a community?
Communication patterns across networked communities
• Does the introduction of ICTs in rural communities contribute
to creating new horizontal flows of information and knowledge sharing
• Does this translate into new patterns of communication and collaboration
challenging the urban-rural dualism?
solutions for which communities?
• Beyond the generalisations of ICT4D and community lie questions
about the appropriate communication and technological solutions in support
of community development. Does community development require a specific
set of ICT tools and solutions?
• Is the rush for mobile applications inspired by specific community
needs or rather by the ambitions of ‘techie’ developers?
• The provision of ICT services to marginalised communities is a
contested territory. While mobile operators are progressively extending
their coverage into rural areas, most rural communities are still not
connected to voice and data communication services. Different approaches
and business models are currently debated, from micro-credit for village
phones to local franchising of mobile operators, to community-owned co-operatives
for the provision of non-profit ICT services. One of the most interesting
aspects of this debate is the issue of creation of community economic
growth through the provision of local and data services within a rural
area. Do low-cost ICT solutions offer a chance for a bottom-up independent
telecommunication development, or do they facilitate a new level of dependence
on corporate, top-down business strategies?
workshop is divided into two sessions highlighting the main questions.
Each panel will include practitioners and academics providing the context
for fruitful discussions. Each session starts with introducing the panel’s
expertise in individual presentations and concludes with a discussion
between the panel and the audience.
free sandwich lunch, as well as tea and coffee during the day will be
details of how to find the Queen’s Building at Royal Holloway, please
workshop is being organised by Niels Peter Nielsen (n.p.nielsen(at)rhul.ac.uk),
Ugo Vallauri (u.vallauri(at)rhul.ac.uk) and Uduak Akpan-Okon (U.Akpan-Okon(at)rhul.ac.uk).
Correspondence can be directed to any of the organisers.We are most grateful
to Cisco Systems for their financial support of this workshop
for Community and Communications workshop
Arrival (Tea & Coffee)
10.00 Welcome – Tim Unwin
Panel Chair: Niels Peter Nielsen
10.05 Shirin Madon – Impact of rural e-governance projects in India
10.30 Marek Tuszynski – Tactical Tech’s mobile-in-a-box tool
10.55 Josh Underwood – Progress and challenges of VeSEL
Informal lunch provided
Panel Chair: Ugo Vallauri
13.00 Richard Duncombe – ICTs and livelihoods in Uganda
13.25 Murali Shanmugavelan – PANOS’ work
13.50 Uduak Akpan-Okon – Sustainable Communities in the Niger Delta
14.15 Avril McIntyre & Partner – LifeLine’s work in the
UK and ZA
Tea & Coffee
Close – Tim Unwin
16.30 Finish and departure
those who wish to stay on, there will be an opportunity to visit a local
hostelry in the evening to continue the discussions
are most grateful to Cisco Systems for their financial support for the