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Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 11:12

Like so many aspects of our life, democratic debate is increasingly moving online. Yet it seems like every time citizens adopt a new digital tool or enter a new digital space to voice opposition, repressive governments respond with a whole arsenal of tactics to dampen dissent and deny their right to opinion and expression. For every new activist tactic there are three or four state countermeasures. New research has found that this digital game of whack-a-mole is playing out across Africa. An issue about which the activists, analysts and academics of the African Digital Rights Network are conducting research and raising awareness.

 

For all of us, the right to be heard and to influence decision-making on issues that affect our lives is a cornerstone of open democracy and a sustainable development goal. In an increasingly digital world being heard means making use of mobile phones and social media – especially during a pandemic when social distancing makes public protest both difficult and dangerous. Marginalised groups have repeatedly made creative use of digital technologies to create spaces online to give voice to neglected issues, influence debate, and hold to account those with power. #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are powerful...

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Hacking Open Data on Development Aid

FrontlineSMS founder Ken Banks wrote an interesting blog recently asking why so many of us technology for development (ICT4D) types are content to work remotely.

 

African Women in Tech: mapping initiative launched

Six months ago I was fortunate to work alongside Lukonga Lindunda co-Founder of BongoHive (Lusaka’s Technology and Innovation Hub) on a piece of crowdsourced research to find out how many other T

Should ICT4D Be More Agile?

Some software developers swear by Agile methodologies. Agile is a group of techniques for developing software that pro-actively involves a team of intended users and staff from the commissioning organisation in a collaborative design process, which  is able to accommodate people's chang

Digital Mapping as a Tool for Social Transformation

In 1854, John Snow plotted cholera deaths on a map of London’s Soho district to diagnose the cause of a deadly outbreak that was ravaging the community. By mapping the geography of cholera inciden

The Problem of Legacy Humans in Technology Projects

Most IT projects would be an unmitigated success if only it wasn’t for humans.

 

Humans have an annoying habit of resisting change and refusing to conform to the often rigid requirements of a database ontology or software application.

 

Can Raspberry Pi Transform the Sorry State of IT Education?

Is the $25 Raspberry Pi – a basic computer on a single printed circuit board – capable of transforming the sorry state of IT education in our schools?

Asikana Network - Zambia

Failed by academia and constrained by convention, geeks are self-organising to equip themselves with the expertise and experience needed to solve social problems and enhance their personal development.

The Problem With Open Data

Recent initiatives have dramatically increased the range of previously “closed” data being made “open” by the government, including data sets on travel, weather and healthcare.

What Computers Can’t Do

Sorry to rain on your parade, but computers can’t transform education any more than social media can depose dictators.

Computer Aid Milestone

Last week the not-for-profit agency Computer Aid International celebrated providing its 200,000th computer to education and health organisations working in 112 countries worldwide (including the UK).

Open-Source Technology in ICT4D

This week I had to prepare a tutorial on ‘Open & Subversive Technologies’ for students of ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London. It got me thinking about the importance of enabling users to genuinely ‘appropriate’ ICT for Development, and the extent to which free & open-source technology might help make user appropriation of ICT for Development possible.

Raspberry Pi – Total Cost of Ownership

The Raspberry Pi is a computer on a single printed circuit board.

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