The Practice and Need for Rural ICT for Development Evaluation: An Experience of the Siyakhula Living Lab Baseline Study




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International Development Informatics Association



Peer reviewed



Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been identified as essential tools in supporting rural development as information and knowledge are key strategic resources for social and economic development. A number of cases exist where ICTs are known to have beneficial effects in communities. However, there are also cases where ICTs have made little difference, or have actually worsened the development status in a rural community. The benefits and challenges associated with ICTs in rural areas need to be questioned in terms of the relevance and actual impact of such programmes on rural development. Fundamentally, development organisations should be aware of the need for evaluation and its significance for ICT projects that aim to support development. On the other hand, ICT projects that have attempted to implement evaluation frameworks are also confronted with shortcomings and challenges which influence the reliability of evaluation conclusions. It is essential that these shortcomings and challenges are understood, so as to improve existing evaluation frameworks, and/or to develop frameworks that more effectively address them. A Baseline Study of the Siyakhula Living Lab in the Eastern Cape of South Africa presents an example of an evaluation approach of the first stage of an ICT project evaluation. The practices applied and experience illustrate the benefits and challenges associated with conducting this evaluation approach.



evaluation, rural development, living lab, information and communication technology


Pade, C. and Sewry, D (2009) The Practice and Need for Rural ICT for Development Evaluation: An Experience of the Siyakhula Living Lab Baseline Study. 3rd International Development Informatics Association (IDIA) Conference. Digitally Empowering Communities: Learning from Development Informatics Practice. Kruger National Park, South Africa, October 2009.


Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)