ICT4Peace in Africa

Today I came across details of the Bayanloco Community Learning Centre in Kaduna State, Nigeria. It’s a an interesting project in large part because of its emphasis on gender empowerment through the use of ICT complementing its focus of poverty alleviation and peacebuilding.

Although the description on APC’s website doesn’t clearly indicate how the project contributes to peace, the implicit assumption is that poverty alleviation through more equitable distribution of wealth and resources is able to mitigate the growth of violent conflict.

I found this description in particular interesting:

There is a perception that Africa is the ‘unconnected continent’, bypassed by the so-called ‘information age’, and that African women are disempowered victims of social and economic equality. What is not adequately recognised is that Africans, and specifically African women are being remarkably innovative, entrepreneurial and courageous in engaging information and communications technologies, in spite of limited access to resources and infrastructure.

This resilience in the face of serious challenges to development mirror those that are common in other parts of the developing world. I wonder, whether our emphasis on ICT4Peace needs to concentrate less on First World theories and research in ICT and more on strengthening the voice of ordinary peoples in the grassroots.

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