Research papers

This article looks back at the Mahiti Manthana project, a joint project of IT for Change and Mahila Samakhya Karnataka which explores how women's mobilisation and organising processes can be strengthened through new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) systems. It draws conclusion about the learnings brought by the Mahiti Manthana experience, considering its meanings for development, especially in terms of negotiation of traditional gender orders in an increasingly globalised world.

kelu sakhiMahiti Manthana was a joint initiative of Prakriye and Mahila Samakhya Karnataka, undertaken between 2005 and 2009. Since its inception in 2005, the project primarily aimed at exploring the possibilities offered by community informatics practice, for strengthening the empowerment processes of marginalised women's collectives (locally known as sanghas) formed under the Mahila Samakhya programme of the Government of India, in three blocks (taluks) of Mysore district: Hunsur, H.D. Kote and Nanjangud.

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A two day photo exhibition was organised in the villages Hosavaranchi (on Jun 7-8) and Attiguppe (May 31-Jun 1), in Mysore district, to showcase to the community the learning of adolescent girls who participate in the 'Kishori Chitrapata' (Images by Adolescent Girls) Project, a collaborative intervention of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), 'Mahila Samakhya' (Women of Equal Value) Karnataka (a women's empowerment intervention of the Government of India), UNICEF and IT for Change. The project aims to contribute to girls' empowerment through Information and Communication Technologies like videos, audio recorders, digital camera and computers.

This paper was a contribution to the deliberations of the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms set up under the process for the World summit on the information society (WSIS). It is a summary of insights emerging from a study of 3 large scale ICT4D initiatives in India. It discusses issues relevant to financial mechanisms from a field level viewpoint, through the analysis of four key areas: (1) ICT-based services networks; (2) ownership issues in multistake holder partnerships; (3) infrastructure, technology and regulation; and (4) ICT funding in core developmental areas.

The authors discuss the process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and its positive outcomes in terms of Internet governance, and negative outcomes regarding the failure to establish a financing mechanism for Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD).

Parminder Jeet Singh wrote an article for the Economic & Political Weekly, commenting on the future of the Internet after agreements between telecom companies and specific websites (e.g. Google and Verizon in the US or Facebook and Airtel in India), which challenge the principle of net neutrality.

This paper, published in Women in Action (2, 2008) by Isis International – Manila, is a critique of the 'People's Communications for Development' (PC4D) framework that has been developed by Isis. PC4D seeks to rightly challenge the tendency of the dominant 'ICT for Development' (ICTD) frameworks to pull all existing development practice into a monolith that is centred on what may be called the 'revolutionary organising power' of the new ICTs, and attempts to put people back into the centre of development practice. Where PC4D is mistaken, this paper argues, is in taking the new ICTs as the main target of its critique.

This paper is a contribution to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) interactive discussion on the guiding concepts on the notion of the openness in the ICT4D field.

This article, published in the Economic and Political Weekly  (3 October 2009), is a report of the consultation on the 'Misuse of Communication Technology and Its Linkages with Violence against Women' held in Trivandrum (India) in March 2009. The article advocates that policy choices  need to avoid narratives of fear around new technologies, narratives that can effectively constrain women’s freedom to use digital spaces.

This research, supported by the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) and undertaken by IT for Change, seeks to understand how principles promoting women’s inclusion and gender sensitivity can be incorporated into Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) projects through an analysis of five interventions: Abhiyan’s Mahiti Mitra kiosks, DHAN Foundation’s Village Information Centres, the E-Krishi application within the Akshaya project, rural eSeva kiosks and the Community Learning Centres and Trade Facilitation Centres of SEWA.