Examining the PC4D approach - Redeeming ICTs in development

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.

The new ICTs trigger powerful forces that are in fact having a far-reaching impact on many or most of our social institutions. Due to the continuous flux, however, definitions are difficult to settle on. In such a context, the paper maintains, claims made within the PC4D discourse that traditional ICTs are more appropriate than new ones are therefore problematic, misleading, and potentially dangerous to development thinking and practice.

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