The objectives of the shared resource Program intergration in Rural Africa are: –
The Integration of development with education.
To stimulate the intellect through physical activities.
To broaden the horizon of experience of the students.
To reverse the rural to urban migration and to give a multi-skill base for specialization.
The system of ‘Learning while Doing, in real life situation’ , involves doing community service work in real life as part of education. Thus students learn while doing development work, in sense development works gives the student opportunity to learn. Education and Development have been integrated.
Bridging the Digital Divide:
With the understanding of digital divide, several agencies are also talking about bridging the digital divide. Interestingly, ICTs have been touted as the solution to development. It has been suggested that digital access could well be linked to wealth accumulation. Victor, Philip suggests a positive correlation between teledensity and GDP per capita for low and middle-income countries. As for Internet access, Thomas Schauer feels that Internet has not existed for sufficiently long, and it is not possible to examine whether poor countries which have put a focus on overall development (wealth first!) subsequently have better opportunities to create an information society or whether the strategy should be to invest massively into the IT infrastructure in order to create subsequent wealth.
Rural Information Needs
But what relevance do ICTs have to rural consumers? Can ICTs be the solution to poor infrastructure for health, telecom and education in rural India? What are the information needs of the rural consumer? Many of these questions are answered . Based upon a survey in a rural areas in Africa, following information categories were arrived at: –
o Rainfall (forecasting)
o Cropping Pattern
o Modern Techniques of Cultivation/Farming
o Irrigation (Sources)
o Information on Market and Market Prices
o Distance Education/Learning
o Information on Schools & Virtual Schooling
o Information on Soft loans & Financial Institutions
o Information on Government Go downs
ICTs for Rural Development- Cases from Africa
Having identified the various information needs for the rural consumer, the next question that arises is: what kind of model is appropriate to serve the rural communities? What is the size of investment required? What problems and challenges an organization is likely to confront if it sets out to provide such services? Will these services make an impact that would justify investing in ICTs for development rather than investing directly in health, sanitation, water, power, roads etc? During the course of last few years, a number of ICT for development projects have come up in Africa.
We are working to increase ICT foot print in Africa through shared resource computing and our current objective is to enhance the spread of use through internet kiosks all over Africa.