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ICT Knowledge Sharing & Information Management Forum Report

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May 01 2010, Uganda [UG], Livelihood opportunities

This is a brief report of the forum ‘ICT for Rural Knowledge Management and Sharing: An input into poverty reduction strategy?’

Held in April 2005 in Seeta, Uganda, the forum emanated from the C3Net Dgroup (online discussion groups and communities) and was sponsored by Hivos and hosted by BROSDI (Busoga Rural Open Source & Development Initiative). Participants were composed of members of the C3Net Dgroup, Hivos representatives, facilitators from India, Uganda and Canada, and guests from IICD.

Background to the forum
In October 2002, 25 people from 11 different countries participated in the first South-South travelling forum on ICT-enabled development, organised by the Indian M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). The participating practitioners, project managers, government officials and researchers were united by their keen interest in the contributions of multi-purpose knowledge centres in rural development. The visitors concluded that rural ICT centres, if properly designed and managed, can be much more than just ‘access centres’. They can become community owned ‘knowledge centres’ that directly and indirectly empower people living in rural areas.

A discussion group, C3Net - Community Creation Content Network - was formed as a platform where more and upcoming issues on ICT for rural development would be discussed.

Today, a number of projects have directly or indirectly benefited out of the discussions.

Amongst the issues widely discussed by the members of the C3Net, was that information is a vital tool in enhancing poverty reduction provided the information is packaged to suit the user. Hence it is important to understand what constitutes useful data/information and knowledge. The identification process in rural settings is not well-formulated or shared among practitioners, more often ICT has been equated to provision of hardware, software and connectivity. There has been little attention as to what content is relevant for the target community

After identification of useful/relevant data, the next question is how this data/information can be managed and the knowledge henceforth derived be shared in order to attain the project objectives. Information Management is frequently confused by ICT people with ‘data processing’ - it is a wider subject under which data processing is but a part. There is need for rural ICT players to develop, equip themselves with the necessary framework, skills and tools of IM.

IM & KS is about a system with components/elements that form subsystems; and subsystems form systems and systems that could in turn form supra-systems, etc. Lack of two-way flow mechanism among system nodes only leads to its confinement to an individual or community thereby retarding development.

Information management is a critical element in the activities of a large number of social, governmental and law-enforcement agencies. It involves the discovery, propagation, and aggregation of information shared by multiple participants in these activities.

IM & KS is all about what you know and what you choose to pass over to others.

The moderators then proposed a forum that would address the pertinent issues on ICT-enabled information sharing and knowledge management for (rural) development. The forum would enhance participant’s ability to facilitate formulation and implementation of IM & KS system in rural areas as well as enhancing information sharing among C3NET members.

This forum builds on two previous forums that were focused on rural access to ICT as a social, economic and political empowerment facility. The IM&KS forum is intended to focus on content rather than access, as such; it will be a working forum where members will laterally learn from each other, from experts as well as from communities. Emphasis will be on African perspective to IM & KS. Participants will also discuss ways to enhance online C3NET role.

Download the full report below.

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