ICT OILS WHEELS OF DEVELOPMENT
In today’s world, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is the single biggest driver of development. We live in a knowledge based society where virtually way societal issue of consequence is directly linked to advances in Science and Technology that continues to define who we are and how well we live. Equally significant is how we choose to use the knowledge we create. The key is to generate knowledge, not just for its own sake but also for the sake of spurring innovation and then applying at least a portion of that innovation to addressing critical human needs.
After all, we are not only living in a world of unprecedented change, driven largely by Science and Technology, but also confront the stark reality of our everyday life. ICT must not only be used to satisfy human curiosity. They must also be used to help satisfy the basic needs of marginalized citizens.
To borrow the leaf expressed by G8 leaders in a broad statement of intent which they endorsed at the G8 2006 summit held in St. Petersburg , Russia , last July. “We will promote the global innovation society by developing and integrating all three elements of the knowledge triangle (Education, Research and Innovation). We will do so by investing fully in people, skills and research, and by supporting the modernization of education systems to become more relevant to the news of a global based society”.
At this juncture in Malawi, one would not hesitate, but concur with G8 leaders proclamation, looking at the current ICT advances, as gone are the days when people had to rely on top areas sitting there beating drums, resounding trumpets and blowing whistles in announcing important messages of wedding ceremonies, meetings and funerals to the dear ones.
But some quarters especially in remote areas are still using high grounds to supplement the many technologies that have been introduced although it occurs at minimal rates, as mortals both in rural and urban places posses and enjoy using cell phones in this day and age, some indigenous in remote areas are experiencing hurdles in using this device as they cover big distances when the need to get in touch with relatives and friends who are at far places arises as they go to a particular place to find mobile phone network service even though it tends not to be all that effective.
As is evident with a mere look at one of the stories carried in the ICT supplement to The Nation of 31st July 2007 of a picture of a Malawian woman villager wearing a cell phone around her neck is a true significant of ICTs boom in the country.
But great of these modern Information Communication Technology has much favoured the urban settings, putting the rural masses only to use limited communication technologies hence putting their appreciation and understanding of ICT quite trivial.
This oddity has unfamiliar side as many only hears stories of modern technologies like computers without seeing or even using them as these devices are sometimes none existence in their locality.
It is hard to convince a villager that messages of life and death can be conveyed outside their locale to reach the target both far and near in their urgency and entirety by the use of computer connected to internet by sending electronic mail, as people who went through the corridors of high learning institutions to bring such services to their kinfolks after completion of studies are always moving to towns and cities. And this does not require a connoisseur to conclude that villagers will carry on believing that phones are the only answer to fast communication in modern world if this trend continues.
Through the ambitious project of Malawi government of coming up with telecentres at rural level which will fridge telephone, internet, photocopying, television, lamination, photography and fax devices is a rightformula in solving this problem.
ICT is a new and exciting area as it offers a lot of unlimited opportunities and it is a wise idea to invest time and energy for harnessing the opportunities, which have the profound positive impact on our lives.