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Small tech empowering communities

04 November 2009

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Small technology – big impact, a report from the US-based Academy for Educational Development shows how the new-age computing and communicating devices are making huge impact in the developing world. It argues that small technologies are providing new sustainable development solutions and enhancing local business opportunities.

Small technology – big impact: practical options for development

Publisher: Academy for Educational Development, USA, 2009

This publication, based on Academy for Educational Development (AED) experience, shows examples of the practical application of small technology that have a big impact around the developing world.

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It argues that technology has dramatically changed the world whereby almost anyone can “move” at internet-speed.

People who were marginalised are able to find information on acquiring micro-loans to start businesses, and villages previously unconnected to the telecommunications grid now have affordable cell phone access.

The document cites many examples of technological devices that are revolutionising rural communities. For example, flash drives are being used in almost every country as back up to electronic records, as a media transfer device, and as a means of communicating through shared information.

In the Philippines, payments of micro-loans are possible by cell phone, reducing time consuming and costly travel to larger towns or cities to service such loans.

Diaspora communities around the world wire money back home to their families using the “top up minutes/recharge” feature, thereby reducing costly bank or transfer fees as well as possible corruption.

In Rwanda, cell phones (using SMS text messaging) have been used for voter registration—both initial registration and voter verification. In Zambia and Uganda, cell phones linked to a Web site supporting data collection were used to determine school headmaster opinions about a particular change in education policy.

With the help of new technologies more than 1,200 villages in Nepal receives, and some even help to produce, original content on HIV/AIDS Prevention, health, trafficking, women’s empowerment, human rights, women’s rights, early childhood education, and sustainable livelihoods for millions of mostly rural dwellers.

The authors conclude that as technology becomes easier to use, more affordable and widespread, new sustainable development solutions are a reality.

Source : Eldis

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