ICT and Sustainable Development

Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) has been increasingly recognized as a significant tool for poverty reduction in poor and low-income developing countries. Currently, there is high level of interest and commitment from various quarters, including governmental agencies, private organizations, international development organizations and NGOs to explore, adapt and implement technology-based projects to speed up activities aimed for sustainable development of rural and marginalized communities in remote and inaccessible areas. The rapid advancement and consumption demonstrated by technology users in developed countries and also in progressive cities and towns in developing countries have encouraged interventions extending ICT to the poor and the underprivileged.

Technology demonstrates the most immediate impact over a community struggling to become sustainable. The impact becomes visible when a poor and old woman suddenly has a mobile handset in her hand and she is using it to communicate with her migrated children. An underprivileged woman farmer in a remote village is found using a telephone to find out the vegetable prices in the market. An unemployed youth opens a cyber café in a village and provides education on ICT to children. Remotely located health centers adopt telemedicine to provide advanced healthcare services to communities.

Such situations demonstrate community empowerment in the most swift manner. Years and years of skill development and knowledge transfer get quickly sustainable when technology is found right in the hands of the poor community. When technology gets adapted, the community is able to react, feel the power and also explore new opportunities. This is where sustainable development begins…