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BOLD 2003: Development and the Internet

Module I
Module II
Module III
Module IV
Module V


Conclusion: Tying it all together

By Teaching Fellows Nandan Kamath, Urs Gasser, Isabel Neto and Rebecca Brackley

Reading Assignment
The Million-Dollar Question
Time To Share


After four weeks of reading and discussion on ICTs and Development, you are now familiar with some of the theoretical and practical issues involved in current initiatives [Architecture, Entrepreneurship, Learning and Policy].

While there have been some unavoidable, often necessary, overlaps between the contents of the previous modules, we have largely attempted to keep each of those modules distinct, for the sake of simplicity.

Now, it is time to understand how these work in relation to each other. Are the various broad approaches complementary or exclusive? Does one category of initiative diminish the need for another? Do we need to pursue any of them with greater urgency? Are some better conceived of as longer-term approaches rather than near-term ones? What evaluative framework may we use to prioritize approaches and initiatives?

Unfortunately, the real world gives us little luxury to experiment. We are unable to pursue every promising initiative that appears to have some potential; many unavoidable tradeoffs have to be made in view of limited resources and difficult financial allocation decisions. Sometimes, the decisions will be made for well-understood reasons, with empirical data and information as backing. At other times, tough choices need to be made with little background information; both theoretical understandings and a well-honed instinct are important weapons in a decision-makers armory.

In this interactive, concluding, module, we hope to introduce you to some of these complexities and decision-making processes. First, we will guide you through a case study. You will role-play as the President of a developing country who has to make financial allocation decisions for the country’s forthcoming ICT development strategy. You will be given background information as well as briefings from various local ministries. How will you make these decisions and what reasons will you give to support them? What do you think is the way forward for your country? This is our figurative “Million-Dollar Question”.

Once you are done with your decision, we will conclude the series with what we consider one of its most valuable components. Each of you will be given the opportunity to share your personal and professional experience with the rest of the BOLD community. We would like to invite you to write about a particular “ICT for Development” project that you are involved in, know about, or have recently learnt something about. We will use the H2O discussion software so that discussion of your chosen initiative is fostered and encouraged. We hope this will provide all of us with the opportunity to learn more about the various initiatives being undertaken all over the world, at a time when much is to be gained from working together on issues and problems that we all care about.

Background Readings:

Read the DOT Force “Report Card”.

Listen to Jonathan Zittrain's summary of the discussion in this audio clip (or read a transcript here).

Click here for a couple of additional readings

Part A

The Million-Dollar Question:

You are Veri Bold, the newly elected President of the Democratic Republic of Berkmania and you have an important decision to make.

To continue, click here.

Part B

Time to share:

Sign up for the H20 discussion group (if not already signed up earlier in this series). Once you are registered, you will receive notification when it is time to respond to the following questions.

Share any “ICT for Development” project that YOU have either been involved in or heard/read about. (Please feel free to select any of the projects we have discussed or mentioned during the series if you need some inspiration).

What are the contours of the project? What are its aims and objectives, and how is it working to achieve them? Are you impressed by the project and do you believe in its approach? If so, why? If not, why?
Could you place this project in the context of the approaches this Series has highlighted?
What are the complementary projects, if any, that the success of your chosen project relies on?
What are the legal, political and cultural hurdles that have been overcome and still need to be overcome for the success of the project?
Has this series made you reassess the goals and approach of this project? If so, how?
Do you have any constructive suggestions to make to those running this project?

Suggested length: 750 to 1000 words (with only 2 rounds on H2O)