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Culture, Technology, Development and the Underserved Societies

Cultural values and beliefs are passed on from one generation to another and as some of our readings for the class explained, modern technology alone will never be able to turn around an economy.

Majority of the failed development projects in ICTD also have some knowledge to pass in these regards. Some of them documented that the people from the underserved societies do not trust foreign experts in solving their problem. Hence, the project does not work, and as such, I remember some research in which an external researcher got a different response from the one that a familiar face got. Why is this so? This can be likened to the cultural value of the people.

In his book “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, Walter Rodney have an almost same argument to explain, and at this moment, those African countries that have developed have some deep cultural value imbibe in them.

Since we have all seen that sustainable development comes from the bottom up, I think there is a need for development practitioners to pay close attention to culture as a means to developing the underserved societies, just as the Micronesia paper suggested.

Also, as Kentaro Toyama observed, technology all by itself does not solve a problem, people amplify the use of it. And as the conversation these days suggested that designing for the underserved societies should be with them and not for them; also the “Hear our voice” video said the poor are asking the development practitioners to listen to them and to give them a voice in solving their problem.

All these are saying the same thing, which is – before the underserved societies become underserved, they once have some working methods of solving their challenges, and as such, they know best what to do – they only needed little help.

But the question remains, are they willing to hear the voices of the poor?

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