September 24, 2017

Final Report Released: “Connecting People for Development: Why Public Access ICTs Matter”

The research report comes from the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington Information School. 

From a TASCHA Blog Post

While you’re likely reading this on your personal computer, enjoying reliable and fast internet, millions of people around the world still lack private access to this increasingly necessary resource to function and prosper in today’s world. How do those people connect to digital society? For many, digital inclusion is found at a library, a telecenter, or a cybercafé – their local public access ICT venue. For over a decade, significant investments have been made in these venues. However, their ability to contribute to development outcomes has come into question in recent times, spurred by the spread of mobile phones and other new technologies and applications. The Global Impact Study was designed to advance knowledge in this field by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs.

Today, we are excited to announce the release of the study’s final report, Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter.

The report is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, based on thousands of surveys, interviews, and other data collected across eight low and middle income countries. Situating public access in the context of national development, Connecting people for development summarizes the study’s key findings, discusses some disputed issues, and offers recommendations for policymakers, public access practitioners, and researcher.

Direct to Final Report (242 pages; PDF)

Direct to Executive Summary

Libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés play a critical role in extending the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to a diverse range of people worldwide. However, their ability to contribute to development agendas has come into question in recent times. The Global Impact Study was designed to address this debate by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs in eight countries: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Lithuania, the Philippines, and South Africa. This report summarizes the study’s key findings, situating public access in the context of national development, discussing some disputed issues, and providing recommendations for policymakers, public access practitioners and researchers. The results show that a central impact of public access is the promotion of digital inclusion through technology access, information access, and development of ICT skills. Both users and non-users report positive impacts in various social and economic areas of their lives.

Direct to Surveys and Data

See Also: Comment About Report from IFLA

Hat Tip: @mattrweaver

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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