Empowering women through access to information: the sustainability of a community informatics project in Bangladesh

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Abstract

Community informatics projects are designed to provide access to information and communication technologies (ICT) that will enable communities to meet their goals. Although their aim is to foster the development of skills that will contribute to the wellbeing of the communities, the sustainability of the formats in which the information is provided to the community groups is rarely taken into consideration during project development. This paper reports on how the challenge of ensuring the continuity of access to information is being addressed in the context of a community informatics project in rural Bangladesh. The PROTIC project has been working since 2015 in three remote villages of Bangladesh at empowering women working in agriculture by providing them with mobile phones and access to agricultural information through SMS, mobile applications and a dedicated call centre. In the last stage of the project, the Bangladeshi telecommunication partner is developing an application to store all the SMS that were sent to the participants during the course of the project and is making plans to keep the information up-to-date after the end of the project and to charge a subscription fee for access to it. However, the participants themselves, conscious of the fragility of digital formats, have taken steps to preserve the information that they found useful in more durable analogue formats. This paper discusses these two initiatives and argues that the continuity of access to information should be planned for from the beginning in community informatics projects in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Digital Communities
Subtitle of host publication15th International Conference, iConference 2020 Boras, Sweden, March 23–26, 2020 Proceedings
EditorsAnneli Sundqvist, Gerd Berget, Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad, Jan Nolin
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherSpringer
Pages3-14
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030436872
ISBN (Print)9783030436865
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventiConference: Sustainable Digital Communities - Boras, Sweden
Duration: 23 Mar 202026 Mar 2020
Conference number: 15th
https://ischools.org/resources/Documents/iconf%202020/Call_Submissions_iConf2020.pdf (Website)
https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-43687-2 (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer
Volume12051
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

ConferenceiConference
Abbreviated titleiConference
Country/TerritorySweden
CityBoras
Period23/03/2026/03/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • Sustainable information
  • Community informatics
  • Analogue Back-ups

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