NETWORKED ICTS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A CASE STUDY OF TECHNOLOGY DIFFUSION IN KENYA
Calbreath, Katy Anne
As the information age matured from its beginnings in the mid-1990s, information and communication technology (ICT) increasingly became a recognized tool of development. Although use of ICTs in development projects continues to progress, the way in which these projects are organized is evolving. Much of the recent literature encourages bottom-up, or grassroots, development. However, given the complexity of ICTs, network technology diffusion for the purposes of development may require a new balance between change agents and local communities. Unlike stand-alone technologies, network technologies such as ICTs require interoperability and have high fixed costs. Coordinating these requirements may call for a centralized approach. Testing this hypothesis requires a conceptualization of the diffusion process, and the role that global change agents and local opinion leaders play in the diffusion process. In addition, consideration is given to how the nature of the technology, and the extent to which it is networked or not, affects the process. Finally, a case study of a World Bank technology diffusion development project in Kenya is examined to determine how the design of the diffusion process and the nature of the technology combine to affect the outcome of the diffusion process.
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