Great part of my research is in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). ICTs are considered to have an enormous potential to make a difference to the life of marginalised communities and people living in the developing world. According to Heeks (2008), ICTs can integrate isolated communities into the digital era. Unwin (2009) adds that they can support rural development and improve the lives of poor and marginalized communities.
However, the enthusiasm associated with ICT4D “has often been exaggerated and misplaced” (Unwin, 2009, p. 360), and ICTs are recognized to also perpetuate and increase the same inequalities that ICT4D scholars are trying to reduce.
I employ and endorse a critical approach to the field, one that advocates for research and interventions that:
- encourage researchers’ and practitioners’ reflexivity and declared positionality;
- envision a strong collaboration with and participation of local stakeholders;
- prefer bottom-up voices and tailored, contextually relevant propositions to top-down, one-size-fits-all interventions.