Technology and Neighborhood Improvement

Engineering AND Neighborhood Improvement


MARCH 2009


In modern environment, technology has invaded lots of factors of human daily life. From its gigantic affect on our schooling and professional advancement, to the a lot more subtle presence of little gizmos littering our houses, technology is almost everywhere.

The reasons for these pervasiveness would boil down to some traits that technology by alone possesses. 1 these attribute, which is of main interest to lots of scholars, is the seeming absence of obstacles to the distribute of technology. It conveniently penetrates societies and even to remote communities, and when it reaches its vacation spot and catches on, it gets seemingly hard to end its distribute. As a consequence of this, client technology like mobile telephones, computers, PDAs, radios and televisions have come to be commonplace in areas like Africa, even with all the obstacles one particular would have envisaged.

Regrettably, it does not need to have a lot assessment to know that even though technology usage is expanding fast in Africa, we still have quite a few developmental problems in our continent. This is a condition exactly where sophisticated technology is coexisting with underdevelopment in Africa. With all the electricity that technology wields, it will be a handy training to research the ways in which it can be used to resolve some of these quite problems it has appear to meet. In essence, employing our little gizmos to resolve our big problems.

This is the background towards which this research is undertaken. Inquiring no matter whether our problems can be solved at all, then enumerating situations exactly where advancement assignments that use technology have been set to do the job, and concluding by inspecting the scenarios and drawing classes from them.



The limits to what the human head can conceive and attain are raising. Additional discoveries have been manufactured, a lot more points have been made, a lot more theories have been proved and disproved, a lot more equipment have been manufactured and a lot more problems have been made. Scientific technology has been the driving power guiding all these. Science has certainly proved to be a strong instrument which has touched lots of people today and has shaped lots of communities.

According to the Concise Oxford dictionary 10th edition, technology is the software of scientific awareness for useful uses. Plainly from this definition we can see that scientific awareness may exist theoretically but it only gets technology when it is used in useful settings. For example we may say the awareness of the procedures of up-thrust and buoyancy is theoretical, having said that useful utilization of these procedures to manufacture airplanes could be termed plane technology.

Once again in accordance to the Concise Oxford dictionary 10th edition, a group is the people today of an region considered collectively, while advancement is spelled out to necessarily mean to develop or induce to develop and come to be much larger or a lot more sophisticated. By deduction, group advancement could be spelled out to be the expansion or development of a group of people today.

Currently, the environment has come to be really technological, and points which in the seventies would have handed for science fiction are now so commonplace that they have almost come to be necessities. From every corner of the environment, technology has world wide acceptance, it is ubiquitous and has the ability to drastically modify situations.

Any endeavor to ascribe reasons for this pervasiveness of technology will have lots of suggestions, some of which are that equipment have been verified a lot more efficient than humans at some responsibilities, equipment are considerably less mistake vulnerable, impartial and never ever get drained like humans. Another could be the greater sophistication of humans and the attendant need to have for similarly challenging messengers to aid us conduct lots of responsibilities, which is joined to the fascinating nature of technology that when a a lot more sophisticated way of accomplishing a little something is observed, it gets almost unthinkable to try out to do it by “aged fashioned” indicates.

With these significant scale interplay of these and lots of a lot more elements, there is little rationale to be stunned by the sudden emergence of automated equipment to take care of the little responsibilities of aged cleansing flooring, washing clothes, cutting bread, mixing cake and so forth. the record goes on and on.

And that is much from all and the record of revolutionary possibilities is countless. In real truth, some of these innovations have shaped the environment and there are lots of examples to cite. The discovery of electric power and the radio wave both of those improved the environment. Currently, computers are switching the environment even a lot quicker. Now with mobile telephones, new alternatives have appear and our creativity has come to be the only limiting variable. We can only hold out for the up coming big issue to be made and who is aware what it will be?

The picture of technological development is not a absolutely rosy one particular. Without a doubt, there are some minuses to science as perfectly, these as the introduction of new kinds of danger which appear as a consequence of revolutionary kinds of technology, for example the nuclear bomb came from nuclear technology, unforeseen genetic mutations are as the consequence of genetic engineering, and the quite a few and little talked about chemicals which can ruin the ozone or heat the world.

The seriousness of the drawbacks of technology have prompted some people today to argue that technological development, which is an example of scientific advancement, is generating us a lot more of sophisticated entities but considerably less of humans. In other words and phrases, we have come to be better scientists, bankers and industry experts and worse human beings. Martin Luther King puts this argument succinctly when he explained “Our scientific electricity has outrun our non secular electricity, we have guided missiles and misguided males.”

The drawbacks that technology provides are problems which involve serious assessment to verify what can be done to get rid of them or at the very least lessen their outcomes due to the fact technology has absolutely appear to stay, and it would be to our benefit to find out how to do the job with it in ways that will be the most effective to us.

But irrespective of the drawbacks detailed in this article and the lots of a lot more unnamed, we have seen that we can still derive lots of added benefits from science and given that we are living in, or at the very least appear from, a section of the environment exactly where advancement is still a big headache, we ought to be the initially to start a serious research of this phenomenon and see how finest we can use it to our benefit. We may be stunned to see that there is a good viability in employing our little gizmos to resolve our big problems.

Enable us make it clear that the intention of this paper is not to existing technology as the magic treatment that will clear our multitude of problems in a whiff, technology alone will not resolve Africa’s problems because our problems are way too sophisticated, way too deep and way too frustrating for any simplistic plan to be effective. We can only attain achievements when if have a a lot more thorough solution to the dilemma, to incorporate stable determination to serious investigation, institution of the suitable structures, and the using of expected initiatives. It will be incorrect to suppose that technology in alone is inherently good, and just utilizing it alone will be ample to attain any good result3. Even though technology may be able to do anything, people today will have to have the eyesight to generate it in the correct course.

Only with this awareness can we make any meaningful gains in the advancement agenda.

In our individual context, Africa has proved that sophisticated technology could coexist with underdevelopment. Individuals have satellite televisions whilst there are no instructors in the school rooms, we have cell devices and pocket PCs and devices but our streets are still not named thoroughly, there is still a significant variety of illiterates amongst the people today who own and use cell telephones, spreading of healthcare information is still a problem even though a good deal of people today have entry to radio and Television set. This sorry record is countless.


CAN TECHNOLOGY Seriously Deal with OUR Problems?

From healthcare, entry to water and daily life expectancy, to governance, industrialization and even the top quality of human daily life, there are quite a few problems confronting African communities.

Currently we are explained to be living in the information age, an period exactly where entry to information is the new driving power of the environment. The proliferation of the Internet and Globe Large Website has lowered the whole environment to a large audience with unprecedented entry to vast portions of information. This interaction is unencumbered and the formation of alliances is unhindered by bodily distance, countrywide or political borders4. With all the dynamics that this modernity provides, technology stands tall as a favourite to attain any meaningful sustainable advancement for lots of reasons.

Principal amongst these reasons is the fact that there is improved awareness of underdevelopment amongst Africans on their own, which could be due to the information age, and an improved belief that our situations can be turned close to. This is markedly various from decades ago when there was a good deal of resignation and despair amongst black industry experts. Evidence to assist this would be the observation that a lot a lot more considered is remaining directed at the Africa integration agenda and increased notice remaining paid to the Economic partnership agreements (EU- ECOWAS).

Another favourable indicator is the expanding variety of experienced and qualified technological industry experts on the face of the continent. Granted, the improved figures by on their own will not be a good indicator, but with the holistic solution talked about previously, one particular can see a signal of hope which demonstrates that there is quite large prospective for achievements in a perfectly though out plan to use technology to resolve our developmental problems.

Another good point is the specific do the job that is remaining carried out by various teams employing various ways (experiments of the indigenous chieftaincy method for e.g.) at attempting to resolve the very same problems. This is clear evidence to condition that over and above the level of determination, there have been actual attempts at dilemma fixing. Even if some of these attempts have not been effective due to the quite a few issues in the way, the experiences have been obtained and classes have been drawn from them which would be utilized for foreseeable future use.

Last but not least there are regions exactly where main strides have by now been manufactured in Africa. Statistics display for example that there have been extraordinary improvements in woman student enrollments in areas like Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia5. This is absolutely a feather in our cap and these regions may provide as boosters to face the remaining dark spots.

All these indicate that we may possibly be closer than at any time to fixing our problems, and all that may be left will be a number of large pushes ahead.

This is exactly where technology arrives into the picture. It is the one particular issue that looks to know no obstacles, catches on conveniently and has the electricity to change even the most remotely inaccessible areas on earth to budding organization cities. It is ubiquitous. Its innovations speed up by the thirty day period. As a consequence, it is the most possible instrument to attain anything meaningful.

In the early 90’s, scholars described Africa as remaining left in a technological apartheid six. Currently having said that, with greater globalization maybe a slightly better picture can be painted. Even though Africa is not in the league of the innovators of the most novel initiatives and we may not be generating as good use of systems as we ought to, or as some other individuals are, we would still have a little something favourable to report. For example, in some scenarios, Africa actually has comparable human and components means. Thus, “apartheid” would no for a longer time be a precise definition of the condition as it stands.

As said previously in this paper, technology alone will not resolve our problems. But with quite serious concerns employing energetic participation, a thorough and perfectly though out plan that incorporates technology will be a quite feasible remedy.

Nonetheless using a glimpse at all the attempts manufactured so much and their attendant issues and outcomes if any, one particular may say confidently that will all the right accompanying compliments, technology will manufactured quite considerable gains in spurring the advancement agenda on.

CHAPTER three:

HOW IS TECHNOLOGY Staying Utilised TO Clear up Problems?

Throughout lots of nations close to the environment, people today have manufactured serious strides at making use of technological awareness to resolve all way of problems. Several problems have arisen out of these attempts, and underneath are quite temporary summaries of some of these areas exactly where useful scientific awareness has been utilized for the expansion of the group. ELECTIONS

In Africa’s current governance background, elections have normally been a problem. It is tricky to locate a completely free of charge and truthful voting training, whilst contested elections, unfair procedures, non clear irregularities and very simple ineffectiveness are commonplace. With a background of poverty, it is not way too hard to fully grasp why the stakes are so large in African politics and why electricity is quite beneficial in this section of the environment. This not withstanding having said that, there is a good variety of unrests that could have been averted if any election is verified to be truthful, free of charge and clear to an appreciable diploma.

Attaining this best diploma has proved hard for reasons of the sophisticated interplay of some elements which includes, a authorities started electoral commission, a winner will take all placing, and no determination to commit to the correct virtues. Figuring out that electricity is so beneficial when you appear from this winner will take all placing, it is actually tricky to permit go of control of the electoral system. This is one particular determination for the dishonourable functions that sad to say we see really frequently.

Simply because elections are really involving and they involve elaborate packages that span a series of areas (from a voter’s property to the polling station, the collation middle, the electoral commission headquarters, the public domain and back again to the voter’s property), It follows that except you are attempting to make public exhibition of your nefarious action, you would need to have to be tactical to be effective at these dishonorable functions. The techniques used may vary but they invariably entail series of functions that are created to avoid information from getting into the public domain. So that for example, figures could be improved whenever so lengthy as the authentic and authentic ones do not get into the palms of the public.

If democratic management were being truly comprehended, there will be no endeavor at election rigging. But due to the fact we are at the moment not in that best stage, election monitoring is one particular instrument we can exploit to at the very least lower the ability for cheating.

Cell mobile phone technology is remaining used in election monitoring in some African nations less than a new method of election monitoring termed “parallel reporting”. Parallel reporting is only an solution to election monitoring whereby unbiased observers distribute information of the votes counted at the simple level, which is the polling station. The figures are then relayed to an unbiased middle exactly where they are collated and cross checked with formal figures declared by the electoral commission.

1 benefit of this plan is seen that it will make it ever more hard for an electoral commission to endeavor to fraudulently sway the final results in the favour of any of the contesting events. The spreading or relaying of the final results figures are done mainly with cell telephones. Senegal is an example of a region exactly where this undertaking has been effective.

three.2 Healthcare

The figures obtained from healthcare investigation are fascinating. Figures display that a significant variety of the world’s HIVAIDS troubled people today are living in Africa. At the very same time, one particular of the expanding markets for client electronics these as cell devices, handheld Computer system and so forth may be observed in this article in Africa. This signifies a inhabitants overlap, and it is only prudent that some sum of investigation has been directed toward trying to locate ways to incorporating technology in the therapy of the quite a few ailments on the face of the continent7.

Tuberculosis (TB) has lengthy been known to be one particular of the deadliest ailments known to person. Apart from the menace that this really infectious bacterial disease provides to human daily life, it also enjoys some added notoriety for lowering the sufferer’s immune method to make it uncomplicated for other ailments, which may have many degrees of harmfulness, to assault the sufferer.

As if that were being not ample, TB has a lethal practice of mutating at the the very least case of drug non adherence. Thus any TB caregiver is aware that a client who demonstrates non compliance with drug procedures is obviously not intrigued in getting healed. As a consequence of this, over the several years, ways to enforce spiritual adherence of treatment have been tried but achievements has mainly eluded caregivers.

In South Africa, there is a quite laudable undertaking, the SimPill’s award-winning Adherence Technique undertaking, which utilizes a authentic-time administration method to enhance adherence to prescription drugs prescribed to address chronic diseases – significantly tuberculosis, which is a considerable induce of loss of life of people today living with HIV.

three.3 SOCIAL Problems

Significant assignments that use technology to handle social problems have been carried out in South Africa. 1 these concept named Fahamu’s Umn Yango (that means &lsquodoorway’ in isiZulu) has been carried out to curb domestic violence by equipping people today with cell telephones as resources to monitor and report abuse. Below this plan, victims use cell telephones to simply call a predefined and well-liked variety and give aspects of the abuse.

The worry of remaining victimized has normally manufactured it hard for victims, witnesses or relations to action up and lodge issues to the suitable authorities. There are examples of areas exactly where people today had claimed abuses and had been picked upon by the abuser. We have had mates of a sufferer reporting an abuse of their pal only to go property to be abused on their own by their spouses as punishment for “poking their noses in other people’s organization”. These good citizens were being manufactured to pay back the price tag for exposing a improper issue.

This worry has been completely removed less than this undertaking because of the provision of anonymity, the telephone simply call could be manufactured in secret, and even the aspects of the reporter are not normally expected. This is a sharp contrast to the condition in the earlier exactly where victims, neighbours, or witnesses were being expected to wander into a law enforcement station to make a formal report.

Apart from successes chalked in the variety of studies that are received, there has also been a reduction in the figures of abuse scenarios. This may be partly due to the deterring sensation amongst would-be abusers that, any passerby keeping a cell mobile phone may possibly just make positive they get a check out from a law enforcement detective for wife or husband battering.


Engineering has also been set to good use in farming.

Farmers who rear cattle in compact herds, over time, acquire a personalized connection with the animals, the farmer is aware all of them and can discover a missing animal or a sick one particular with just a look. Nonetheless, because it will take months of mindful observation of the behaviour of every cow to know every animal perfectly ample to get notice when there is an an infection or when an animal does not ruminate thoroughly, this process would be ineffective if it were being carried out by a human shepherd with a significant herd.

To treatment this condition, the technology of vocal tags has been formulated in Europe. This undertaking employs a tag, which is a belt equipped with sensors and worn close to each individual animal’s neck. These sensors monitor several indicators these as the animal’s fee of rumination, voice clarity, digestion and respiration and send the details collected to a central computer.

Over time the computer is aware what is usual for every cow and will notify the shepherd when a little something goes improper with a cow.

The benefit of this undertaking is that a farmer can get swift and certain action like giving therapy to the individual animal included. This removes the need to have to give basic solutions to the whole herd, which is both of those time and revenue throwing away.

These are some of the ways that technology is remaining used toward greater advancement.



No make any difference how promising an concept or undertaking appears, there are bound to be problems encountered in the deployment of the undertaking. In accomplishing the above assignments, following are some of the problems one particular is probable to be faced with:

In the election monitoring application, misinformation has been discovered to be one particular of the problems starring the application in the face. It is accurate that when all the information is not localized in the palms of authorities, then a good deal a lot more transparency will be reached, but it is also accurate that mass misinformation continues to be an uncomfortable chance.

Another dilemma could occur when there is a condition exactly where people today do not necessarily believe in the diploma of independence of the so termed unbiased observers. It may guide to a dilemma exactly where events could forged a slur on the reputation of the observers so as to use the resulting mistrust to established the stage for a attainable rejection of the final results.

Overall this is a laudable concept and if a indicates of verification were being additional, the figures would necessarily mean a lot a lot more to a good deal of people today.

Whilst celebrating the successes chalked, it is critical to notice that a variety of other elements necessary to development prior to a condition could transfer toward a a lot more democratic model of governance. According to African political expert, Sheldon Gellar, these improvements incorporate: strengthening unbiased media, expanding and making certain liberty of civil society, decentralizing electricity, ceding a lot more control to local governments, empowering women of all ages and bettering judicial techniques to make certain independence and electricity to punish.

Governance is one particular region that is established to enjoy some added benefits of this phenomenon when used judiciously, unilateral rule and arbitrary action may be lowered toward a a lot more participatory solution to management in Ghana

Engineering could aid attain these aims to some extent, as interaction was the essential to overcoming oppression.

In some of the scenarios, these as the election monitoring or domestic violence reporting, the internet could be used to supply communities with indicates to connect, to organize and get good information which is not managed by the authorities. Nonetheless, this is not useful in Africa due to the fact only a very small proportion of Africans have very affordable entry to internet.

In the healthcare undertaking, simple mismanagement has been discovered as one particular of the reasons why lots of assignments seem to be to skid to halt immediately after remaining piloted. Required funds are not normally available to these who need to have them.

Another dilemma noticed was that the people today who will be employing the undertaking are not normally consulted in the coming up with and setting up of the tips, so there is a absence of interaction among beneficiaries, wellness industry experts, technologists, and managers.

Another dilemma was the theft of cell telephones. Despite the fact that cell telephones are a relatively small-cost technology, they still maintain appreciable price in poverty-stricken regions, and are usually stolen. And, these theft is probable to increase as these devices come to be a lot more and a lot more sophisticated. Nonetheless this is really debatable due to the fact some analysts argue that getting rid of a cell mobile phone to a thief is considerably less of a economical reduction than getting rid of a a lot more high priced equipment.

In the domestic violence undertaking one particular stumbling block was the interaction hole among the many events included in the method. Feed-back was mainly missing and people today could not explain to no matter whether their enter was handy – or received, and in some scenarios, law enforcement officers who acquire messages reporting violence towards women of all ages may not be ready to answer.

Another dilemma was the unlucky condition exactly where some unscrupulous people today manufactured the do the job a lot more hard for the authorities by elevating wrong alarms. This could be dealt with by schooling and the incorporation of punitive actions.

Nonetheless to use successful punitive actions, even a lot more sophisticated technology will be expected, for example to pinpoint a individual cell mobile phone subscriber, and get action towards them like blocking their Subscriber Id Module (SIM) Cards and so forth.

And the standard dilemma of funding in lots of assignments is at any time existing as perfectly, and it is the a lot more predominant one particular in the animal rearing undertaking.



Granted, there are issues that exist in employing technology to attain advancement aims, but these endeavours still maintain good prospective and the costs of any impediment will not stand in comparison to the menace of underdevelopment and poverty. So we can only attempt to do the job more challenging at these remedies.

Our advancement attempts and endeavours ought to consider a lot more severely about sustainability and scalability. 1 critical thing to consider in this course is the affordability of the programmes we strategy and acquire. The a lot more very affordable alternatives have a bigger chance of achievements, so the fact that most of the advancement assignments do not involve any terribly sophisticated or new gizmos is certainly nice to notice.

Also all over the generation and deploying of any undertaking, ample session ought to be carried out to make certain that there is a basic get-in into the concept from the creators to the beneficiaries. This will make an concept command a prevalent perception of possession.

The top quality of the administration ought to also be improved and actions ought to be set in location to make certain the correct points are done.

Figuring out the dilemma is fifty percent the remedy. We by now now have increased awareness and we have manufactured some attempts at fixing them. Putting our functions alongside one another to draw the classes and re-strategizing with a new solution -technology, is absolutely the way to go. I am self-assured of the viability of this new solution.


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