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ICT for Sustainable Development: Evidence from Nguruman Community Knowledge Centre, Kajiado County, Kenya


Rosabel Wanjiku Githinji

Abstract

For over a decade, development partners have advocated the application of ICTs as tools for poverty alleviation especially ta rgeting the agricultural sector. To provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of the CKC on the Nguruman community, the participatory ethnographic research methodology, combining participatory techniques and ethnographic approaches, was used. The use of this approach with the potential to feed into action research. I selected certain elements of the Ethnographic Action Research (EAR) developed by Tacchi and others. This research was undertaken in Nguruman, a rural Sub -location situated in arid and semi-arid land within the Olkiramatian Group ranch about 40 kilometers from Maga di town at the foot of the Nguruman escarpment in Kenya. The findings show a general view of Nguruman as being relatively developed. Participants originally from Nguruman compared its current state of development to earlier years and said it is developed. However, participants who are not originally from Nguruman say the area has considerable development when they compare it with other communities in Kenya. Like the participants from the focus groups, those from the interviews described development in terms of infrastructure such as roads, communication services, community institutions, and socio-economic conditions such as an increase in population, cultural issues, and education. Most of theparticipants, especially those originally from Nguruman, mentioned that the infrastructure of Nguruman has improved when compared to its former state some years back. For all the participants, the perceiving influencers of the development of Nguruman were commonalities in the emerging issues such as gender and cultural issues, illiteracy, and the value of education. A comparison of the participants’ communicative ecologies reveals different communication and information patterns and activities unique to each individual. Each individual uses different ICTs and links these ICTs to his/her social network to enhance communication and information patterns. Based on the findings, it is recommended that development communication that emerges from successful rural development calls for the conscious and active participation of the intended recipients at each phase of the development process. Rural development cannot occur without changes in the attitudes and behaviors of the people concerned. Emphasis should be on the planning of communication initiatives, focusing on dialogue rather than one-way communication as support to development initiatives.