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March 29 2011


ICT4D & TechSoup Summit: reflections one month on

(Cross-posted from http://beckyblab.com/)

It's been almost a month since I returned from the US and the TSG summit. While I was there, I got a lot of ideas from other Netsquared organizers and I was eager to share them with the community in Jaipur, though there's not much community yet to speak of. But it certainly enabled me to do a better job at communicating the value of Netsquared and using web 2.0 tools for social causes.

I can honestly say that I've maintained my positive outlook and dedication despite the challenges that I always face when returning from the US: lack of infrastructure, lack of understanding. Did I mention the heat? Somehow I didn't let these deter me and our Netsquared introductory meeting* is all set for Sunday!

One participant of the summit, who happened to be a previous colleague of mine in Bangalore, seemed to feel that the discussions at the summit were overly congratulatory. They've been happening for years--ICTs are great! They can save the world!--without a more nuanced understanding of the very real obstacles that we face every day in developing countries.

There were passing mentions, there were a few representatives, but I agreed with her that I felt more importance should have been given to the Global South. Yet is Silicon Valley really the appropriate or likely venue for that?


Sadhu & cellphone from http://techantropology.blogspot.com/


Nonetheless, I must say that my optimism remains in the potential for technologies to transform the world, within and without. My commitment is that much stronger now!

The subjective post-summit report goes into more detail about the specific aims and way forward. It will give you a sense of who all is involved in the larger TechSoup network.

*It's actually not the first Netsquared meeting I'm organizing, but now I've met and built trust with more of the "right kind" of people (working in social media and IT in Jaipur), so I think this time around will be more effective.


From a presentation by Nalaka Gunawardene

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