ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

New Information Models for Rural Populations in Developing Countries

Toni Carbo, U.S.; Ifeanyichukwu Njoku, Nigeria; Dr PR Goswami, India; and PK Jain, India

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


New Information Models for Rural Populations in Developing Countries

Sponsored by SIG/III and SIG/MGT

Sue O'Neill Johnson Consultant, International Library & Information Associates, 8505 Victory Lane, Potomac MD 20854 Email:

Kazanka Comfort General Secretary, Fantsuam Foundation, Hansken-KU, MaiAdiko-Rayfield, PO Box 8452, Anglo-Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria Email:

Dr PR Goswami Director, National Social Science Documentation Centre, 35 Ferozshah Road, New Delhi 110001, India Email:

PK Jain Assistant Librarian, Institute of Economic Growth, University Enclave, Delhi, 110007, India. Email:

There is a widespread belief in the developing world that the global explosion of knowledge may ameliorate the socio-economic conditions of the rural populace. What are the key information models that seem to be working in developing countries to remove illiteracy, and to enhance information literacy of the poor?

The challenges of Finding a Model that Works in Delivering Health Information to Rural Populations in Developing Countries

Sue O’Neill Johnson

Despite its massive potential, the current global information explosion has had surprisingly little impact on access to relevant, practical information for healthcare providers in developing countries, especially those working in primary care and local hospital settings. They continue to lack access to the basic information they need to learn, to diagnose, and to save lives. This paper covers some efforts in the U.S. to improve this situation. Some examples are studies of the healing value of traditional folk medicines; USAID and Centers for Disease Control work in the global HIV/AIDS initiative; NGOs working to improve healthcare for the rural poor, such as Interchurch Medical Assistance, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; delivering low cost or free journal information via the Health InterNetwork; and U.S. university projects in telemedicine and HealthNet SatelLife global communications.

Evaluation of an Information and Communication Technologies Program for Women in Rural Communities in Nigeria

Kazanka Comfort

This paper examines the relevance of ICT in rural communities from the perspectives of women clients of a micro finance project. Through focus group discussions, participant observation and in depth interviews, the clients’ knowledge and attitudes to ICT, their misgivings of its relevance to their daily lives, techno-phobia and how this is influenced by their educational levels, lack of reliable telecommuncation facilities in resource-poor environments, previous experiences and perceived benefits of the facilities are explored. ICT can also provide access to relevant information to promote community peace, and to document personal and community history, and vital registration New information model for Rural Population in India

PR Goswami

In India, there are examples which suggest that ICT is being used for the weaker sections of society by providing access to relevant and useful information. ICT based Soochanalayas (information kiosks) have been started in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh etc. by the NGO’s. Other projects include primary education centres and a system which provides access to government information. The challenge is to bring these agencies together in a highly fragmented society that is in a state of transition. How the Internet is a New Information Model for Rural India

PK Jain

This presentation discusses steps that are being taken in India to disseminate information via the Internet in rural settings, and what types of content in local languages need to be developed. In rural India, presently radio and television are the major media of information and communication. The rural areas are now connected through telephones. Poverty and illiteracy have prevented many rural Indians from receiving any adequate information. With 24 recognized languages in the country, language is a tremendous barrier to use of the Internet.

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