Strengthening Rural Livelihoods provides a useful and balanced review of the influence that mobile phones and the Internet can have on supporting the livelihoods of rural people, and particularly farmers in Asia.
Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D and Professor of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
Based on thorough, balanced field research, this book makes a valuable contribution on the impacts of emerging information and communications technologies among rural farming communities in Asia.
Ken Banks, creator of FrontlineSMS and 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
Enthusiasm amongst international development agencies about harnessing the potential of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development has waned as observers have recently questioned the impact and sustainability of such interventions. By presenting the findings of research specifically designed to measure impact on livelihoods, Strengthening Rural Livelihoods offers new evidence for the development benefits of ICTs.
The book presents an overview of six research projects within the Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia Pacific (ENRAP) research program. It asks if ICTs enabled farmers to sell beyond local markets and at better prices, and whether there have been social gains in linking geographically disparate households and social networks. Using a control trial approach in four out of the six project case studies, and critically assessing the pros and cons of this methodology including the ethical implications, the authors have provided significant new insights into how to overcome the challenges of mainstreaming ICTs into rural livelihoods and more effectively measuring its effects. This book will appeal to academics, civil society organizations, practitioners and students who are interested in what works and what doesn’t work when applying ICTs to rural livelihoods.
David J. Grimshaw is Head of the New Technologies International Programme at Practical Action, a Senior Research Fellow at the Department for International Development, and a Visiting Professor in Information and Communications Technology for Development at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Shalini Kala is the ENRAP Coordinator with Canada’s International Development Research Centre, Regional Office for South Asia, New Delhi.