'The Gift of God': Exploring the Role of a Digital Diaspora in ICT4D Project Implementation

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Guddireddigari, Sriram, Grunfeld, Helena and Johanson, Graeme (2011) 'The Gift of God': Exploring the Role of a Digital Diaspora in ICT4D Project Implementation. In: IFIP WG 9.4: Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries : 11th International Conference: Partners for Development - ICT Actors and Actions : Kathmandu, Nepal, 22-25 May 2011. International Federation for Information Processing, Laxenburg, Austria, pp. 336-361.


The paper explores challenges and opportunities in a project for Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) in southern India. The project is the Vicky Standish e-Education Centre (VSeEC) serving five remote south Indian villages. The key project stakeholders are: individual members of the Indian diaspora, Indian diaspora associations, dedicated professionals from other backgrounds, all providing support, knowledge and resources over the Internet; local users and beneficiaries of the digital intervention; potential future users; other villagers deriving indirect benefits from the project; and an Australian-based NGO, The East West Overseas Aid Foundation (TEWOAF). TEWOAF’s founder and supporters mainly comprise members of the Indian diaspora globally, non-diasporan host country nationals, and include local development partners who provide a significant portion of the intellectual and technology capital. The VSeEC is managed through a combination of local employees and overseas volunteer advisers. This unusual way of managing a telecentre operation presents challenges and offers opportunities for all stakeholders to manage and to learn together. Our small case study finds that there are clear advantages of an informal group of experienced experts with multiple ethnicities using ICTs in the service of a small, marginalised rural community. There are other projects where members of a Digital Diaspora (DD) and non-diaspora collaborators contribute to projects in the developing world, but they have not been researched. With access to ICTs becoming more widespread, this form of developed-developing teamwork is likely to increase accordingly. Whether it will always work as smoothly and effectively as the case described in this paper remains to be seen.

Additional Information

Paper 46

Item type Book Section
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/9703
Official URL http://www.ifipwg94.org/conference-proceedings-dow...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
Historical > SEO Classification > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Keywords ResPubID24470, ICT4D, transnational, telecentre, focus group, Uluru Children’s Home, Northern Territory, VSeEC, ICT, educational technology, communication technologies, Vicky Standish e-Education Centre, India, economic development
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