Assessing the contribution of information technology to socio-economic development: A case study from rural South Africa
Keywords:ICT for development, socio-economic development, social systems, systems thinking, structuration theory, autopoiesis
AbstractThis paper addresses the challenge of assessing an ICT for development (ICT4D) project’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the broader community where it is implemented. It argues for using a systems approach to deal with this challenge, since systems thinking is concerned with the performance of the total system. Systems thinking is seldom used in ICT4D, and is lacking in existing ICT4D impact assessment frameworks. In this paper, the authors apply a social systems framework in an ICT4D case study. The framework is used to describe and assess the contribution of the ICT4D project to the socio-economic development of the larger community. Since Community Informatics (CI) embraces a broad socio-technical systems view, the work is relevant to a CI audience.