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SETTING THE STAGE Introduction 2 From the ground up... ICTs should not be regarded as a discreet sector. Rather, they should be applied as tools to help.

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Presentation on theme: "SETTING THE STAGE Introduction 2 From the ground up... ICTs should not be regarded as a discreet sector. Rather, they should be applied as tools to help."— Presentation transcript:


2 SETTING THE STAGE Introduction 2

3 From the ground up... ICTs should not be regarded as a discreet sector. Rather, they should be applied as tools to help meet existing development objectives. They are a means to an end. There is a danger that supply-side ICT solutions driven by donor expectations can be applied in a way that in fact exacerbates development problems and gender differentials. Where ICTs have been successfully appropriated at the local level, you are likely to find a strong existing social network of users with similar or common interests or goals. In other words, individual access to ICTs on their own does not ensure that the technology will be used by women for their empowerment. Rather, ICTs only become advantageous to women when they are able to organize themselves around information that meets or addresses their specific needs. 3

4 Designing a participatory ICT training workshop Typically an ICT training workshop is most effective when it situates ICT within an immediate context and brings together participants who share common information objectives. Women farmers or small business owners who are likely to benefit from sharing information with each other will have an incentive to use ICTs to communicate with each other long after the training. Conduct a simple needs assessment prior to the workshop that asks women what it is they want to learn. Their first responses may focus on access concerns, but will provide the facilitator with a good sense of the knowledge gaps to be addressed. Bringing local knowledge economy stakeholders to the workshop will enable participants to form alliances with ISPs, business support services, financial intermediaries, employment agencies, career counselors and other institutions. In this way, the facilitator designs a training program in collaboration with participants, resource persons and local ‘mediator’ organizations. This ensures full and active participation on an ongoing basis between participants and local resource persons, and maximizes the learning process. The training is people-centered rather than goal-oriented and is guided by a process of self-discovery. Providing on-line ‘laboratory’ conditions for participants to experiment with and experience web navigation and software packages encourages confidence building, skills in problem solving and self-empowerment. It is a particularly effective mode of training for women, who value the creation of networks and peer groups to build alliances, support each other and share ideas. 4

5 What do women commonly want? Women want to influence the decisions that affect the lives of their families and communities as well as their political and economic environments. Women want to be better informed but they also need to have their own information, experiences and ideas valued and organized into voices for change. Poverty is often about the lack of voice and influence and as well as a lack of wealth or resources. When women can articulate their needs and concerns, when they can push for change that addresses their priorities, then people-centered development will take place. 5

6 Module outline This module has four sections: 1.Good practice gender principles & guidelines (referred to as First Mile Principles) 2.A step-by-step guide to gender-sensitive ICT development for Medium and Small Enterprises (MSEs) (technology transfer template) 3.How women are applying ICTs as business, banking, commercial and management tools 4.Links to other training materials in this sub- sector 6


8 First Mile Principle I Assess ICT capacity needs among men, women and different social groups, build this into the project planning, allocate budget and capacity building towards ICT development Be cognizant, in any aspect of capacity building, training, or outreach to women, that there may be a role for ICTs (see slide 29 for example) Incorporate a range of interactive audio-visual and digital tools to enable women to gravitate towards and to choose different uses of tools for different purposes 8

9 First Mile Principle II Poor women are most effectively reached, not as individuals, but as groups – and this requires both leadership at the community level and individual participation Set aside time and space for women to familiarize themselves with keyboards, or the basics of the Internet. Breaking this “virtual wall”, is a first step. The very activity of emailing each other, or finding a local product on the web has immediate impacts on women’s regard for the use of ICTs. Conduct the training at a computer training center that has hours open to the public. This will help to ensure that women return to the ‘familiar’ space to try out their new skills. 9

10 First Mile Principle III Use ICTs to connect the first mile, work with “infomediaries” who are reaching women in a dynamic and learning oriented approach This is probably the most important engagement factor of all. Consolidate and build upon the work of existing activities and outreach of NGOs, groups and associations that are already focusing their work with girls and women. Applying an ICT platform to these activities not only encourages ICT familiarity amongst the women, but also promotes transparency and accountability (see slide 17 for example) 10

11 First Mile Principle IV Conduct research into existing gender information systems and design ICT initiatives that build on these networks and that involve local participation Don’t assume that just because women are using ICTs, it means that they are empowered! There are examples where women engage in, for instance, earning an income from selling cell phone services. But she remains uneducated and does not access ICTs herself for life long learning (see slide 34) Be on the look out for the pushing of ICT related activities on women, that increase their household burden, or that place them in debt, without clear information, learning or empowerment impacts. 11

12 First Mile Principle V Build local people’s capacity to use existing technologies and information to improve their livelihoods (rather than focus on identifying uses for new technologies) Encourage community driven-initiatives that value indigenous information and promote local decision- making using a range of communication tools (i.e. this could include radio, television, newspapers and newsletters). 12

13 First mile principles require a supportive policy framework The development of ICTs and the benefits that may accrue to women are conditional upon the countries’ and regions’ ability to support effective, pro-active and deliberate policies that push for the social inclusion of women in all spheres of economic and social activity and decision-making. In the absence of deliberate policies, the diffusion and use of ICTs and their intended benefits can actually exacerbate existing income and economic divides, with the poorer sections of the population being further marginalized, exploited and impoverished as a result. ICT programs and policies must be developed to increase people’s access to information, to enhance the transfer of these technologies to resource-poor areas so that people can learn how to use these tools, and to improve the quality and delivery of education and other public services. 13

14 A comprehensive checklist … can be found at: Connecting the first mile: investigating best practice for ICTs and information sharing for development By: Surmaya Talyarkhan, David J. Grimshaw, Lucky Lowe (Intermediate Technology Development Group – ITDG) the_first_mile_summary.pdf 14

15 A STEP BY STEP GUIDE … Section II 15

16 A Step-by-step guide to gender-sensitive ICT development for Medium and Small Enterprises (MSEs)  Stage I: Base information and factual bank  Stage II: Setting Objectives  Stage III: Implementation  Stage IV: Evaluation  Stage V: Maintaining fluidity & flexibility in the program design 16

17 Stage I: Base information and factual bank The first stage involves building up a factual bank of the differences in male and female-run MSEs. One way is to identify businesswomen’s associations and involve them in information gathering to gain an understanding of the particular needs of women clients and the business culture of women in their national context. Considerations in this stage include: gather information on the role of women in financial management and in local business practices, their roles in decision making and its relation to their economic earnings, responsibilities and ambitions determine existing systems of financial and business management that women already have access to, what kinds of business associations and service centers women already tap into and what needs are not currently being met involve businesswomen and their organizations in discussing the role that ICTs can play and learn more about their needs and objectives. By discussing directly with businesswomen about their goals, we may learn that she seeks to overcome strategic barriers that include social as well as economic dimensions analyze how businesswomen establish access and control of resources, how this impacts their business decision making, and what their immediate obstacles are. 17

18 Stage II: Setting objectives When setting objectives the following questions need to be considered: identify the “entry points” to reaching out to businesswomen, such as existing membership of chambers of commerce or business service providers identify women-run businesses that are viable businesses and not just income-for-survival initiatives design and conduct training “outreach” workshops that provide an “applied training” environment to enable businesswomen to understand the three dimensions of ICTs in business (see slide 24) work with regulatory bodies to determine what policies need to be implemented to ensure that women have equal access to ICTs as men identify the range of support services that would prove helpful to women in order to ensure that they participate in literacy, skills training, decision- making, etc. Determine the feasibility of supporting some of these client- specific services determine strategies to ensure that women’s perspectives and input are incorporated into the decision-making processes. 18

19 Stage III: Strategies of empowerment Empowering women refers to bridging the gaps that exist with men and endowing them with the skills, experiences and capabilities which allow women and men to operate on an equal basis. There are four dimensions to empowerment in an enterprise development arena: Technical skills and entrepreneurial capacities Access to and control over economic resources & bargaining power in the marketplace Public image, perceptions about women’s work and self- image Women’s entrepreneurial leadership and organization 19

20 Stage IV: Evaluation Although there is some overlap between the implementation and the evaluation phase, it is important to critically assess the program and evaluate what changes, if any, need to be made to better accommodate the interests of women. The following key data, qualitative and quantitative, should be collected and considered in this phase: Collect average monthly statistics on how many women participants came to training events, how many dropped out and why, how many return to further training events? What software, software training and support service do women entrepreneurs in the region prefer, what is the upward trend in use of services? How have the women responded to the financial and support services offered? How have they benefited personally, in the context of their family, and with respect to larger society? Which groups of women have or have not been reached with services? 20

21 Stage V: Incorporate lessons learned After obtaining information through monitoring the implementation of the organization’s objectives, there needs to be a feedback mechanism to incorporate the lessons learned into management decisions. If a weak link is identified through the monitoring phase, the program can be strengthened through changing program design in response to findings. It is important to learn from the previous steps of implementation and evaluation to determine what works and what proves to be inefficient. After gathering that feedback, staff and clients should collaborate to determine if and how program design should be influenced to incorporate new information. 21

22 Recommended on-line resources A Manual in two parts for practitioners - Gender- oriented Entrepreneurship Promotion (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) A Manual in two parts for practitioners - Gender- oriented Entrepreneurship Promotion ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and (WED) Capacity Building Guide(WED) Capacity Building Guide IFC’s Women in Business Program and WIN case examples IFC’s Women in Business ProgramWIN case examples DFID/IDPM’s Women’s ICT Based Enterprise for Development practical guidance handbooks DFID/IDPM’s Women’s ICT Based Enterprise for Development World Bank ICTs for Women’s Socioeconomic empowerment World Bank ICTs for Women’s Socioeconomic empowerment 22


24 The three-dimensions of ICT Connectivity: changes the mode and immediacy of communication (changes economic and social organization) e.g. mobile telephony Computing (changes business and information management practices) e.g. data management Commerce (changes modes of exchange, production and distribution) e.g. virtual malls 24

25 ICT perceptions and uses Potential role of ICTs according to women entrepreneurs in UgandaPerceptionPercentageTime saving: 15.9Search for outlets:14.5Information on trade:14.5Communication with suppliersand customers:40.7Cost savings: 4.3No answer:10.1Total100.0 Source: ‘Consolidated report on monitoring women entrepreneurs in the CEEWA project sites’. May 2001Consolidated report on monitoring women entrepreneurs in the CEEWA project sites In an age where many women in developing countries are interacting with ICTs for the first time, ICTs are very often perceived almost entirely as mechanisms for connectivity and communication. Its applications for computing, information systems management and commerce are given secondary importance. In fact, all three dimensions of ICTs are equally important in determining the overall impact of ICTs. This table provides evidence that communications use of ICTs outweighs all other uses. 25

26 ICTs in the marketplace The interface of ICTs in the marketplace has many direct implications for women – in the agricultural sector, in industries where women are an established workforce, (e.g. garment industry), and in the service sector. ICT applications in the marketplace can be categorized into three sub-groups: ICT platforms that support micro, small and medium enterprises Manufacture, servicing and repair of the full range of hardware and software that comprise ICTs ICT Services Sector includes programming and applications in primary, secondary and tertiary production: embracing a wide spectrum of applications and remote services from electronic communications to management information services (such as medical transcription, data processing and insurance claims processing) to advanced distance learning tools and software design 26

27 Linking entrepreneurs with their markets Knowledge and information are key drivers of growth and key aspects of all stages of business development. Information about prices, markets, policies and regulations that may affect a business sector, as well as information on buyers and producers is important for all enterprises ICTs can be used to level the playing field by providing small entrepreneurs with access to new information and knowledge that otherwise may remain in the hands of elite individuals and institutions Small niche businesses in particular, such as tailoring, travel services; hand-made crafts are able to transcend the barriers of size, time and distance through the use of the Web. This can present opportunities for rural and urban women - who often are both the producer and retailer - to shift business interests to their favour, or to strike new business deals hitherto unreachable 27

28 Direct links with markets - examples Shea Butter Sales in Burkina Faso When the women of the Songtaaba Association, an organization that markets shea butter skin care products in Burkino Faso, started using ICTs, their profits more than doubled. The use of cell phones and computers helped them to run their businesses more efficiently. The Association currently provides jobs to more than 3000 women in 11 villages. To provide the women with regular access to ICTs and improve marketing and sales of their products, the association set up telecentres in two villages which are entirely managed by the rural women trained by Songtaaba. The organization also set up a website which the women manage. This has been particularly successful in boosting the visibility of the producers. Since the site went on line two years ago, orders were up by almost 70%. (also see similar story in Mali)also see similar story in Mali Women cake sellers – Tortas Peru Initiated in 1996, Tortas Peru is a woman- owned enterprise that uses ICT to reach and service a wider market. A network of housewives take Internet orders for their cakes. Tortas Peru also targets over 2 million Peruvians who live outside the country through their website, clients in San Francisco or New Zealand can send a home-made cake to friends or family in several major cities. The tortas are prepared and delivered by one of the housewives in the network. Customers can order a cake from a catalogue and pay using credit cards, cheques, money orders or electronic payments. To maintain low prices the company is based mainly on the Internet, making it necessary for the housewives-member to be familiar with computers and Internet. 28

29 Computerizing production A garment factory in Sri Lanka, employing a workforce of 6000, 95% of whom are women, uses computerized machines for design, sewing and embroidery – producing 700,000 pieces per month. The high literacy rate means that the women in the workforce are easily trainable, and the computerization ensures that timelines, pricing and quality standards meet the requirements of the international market. Source: Asia and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology International competition is forcing the garment industry in Bangladesh to upgrade its manufacturing and marketing processes using new computerized and communications technologies. As these are introduced at different levels of the garment manufacture and marketing processes, women could be positioned to take advantage of the opportunity for applied training in computerization in the industry. This training could arguably afford women more mobility between jobs, as the basic IT functions become applicable elsewhere. 29

30 Computerizing finance The financial intermediary sector that services small businesses is extending its reach to poorer sections of the economic community and to those clients who might not otherwise have access. ICTs can service the small businesses in many ways such as: Adapting and simplifying accounting and loan tracking software; Computerizing financial reporting and performance measures, making them cost-effective, secure and accessible to both borrowers and lenders; Providing individual borrowers with secure user-friendly account access through location points in local banks, post offices, and other community centers; Taking savings and credit schemes through mobile banking, smart cards, handhelds, and modified ATMs, to bypass the traditional methods of providing bank services. 30

31 Examples of computerized financing The Loan Performer software grew from humble beginnings in Uganda and now services micro-finance institutions in 50 countries. Various software packages are contributing to the increase in efficiency of many Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs). HISAAB, for example, is group-level microfinance software designed for illiterate and uneducated users. Currently the software is used by:Loan Performer software Sero Business Women, Tanzania Mara Women Empowerment Assistance, Tanzania Women’s Finance House, Botswana National Association of Business Women, Malawi Tanzania Women Entrepreneurship (WEDTF), Tanzania Pamoja Women, Kenya Where women workers are unable to visit the bank after work—being met at the factory door on pay day and being able to deposit her pay with the help of a mobile banking representative means that she can make a payment towards a loan, add to her savings, and in this way, her financial literacy is deepened. At the same time, women might not have access to government scheme information, which allows them to tap into the financial subsidies that they may be due. As this kind of information becomes available over the Internet – the same ICT devices that bring credit and savings management to women can also be used to record and monitor women’s use of these facilities. As banking services become a built-in function of mobile wireless telephony, these aspects of recording and completing transactions will expand. 31

32 Opportunities in the ICT Services Sector The ICT Services Sector covers trade, transport, and financial, technical and professional services. The primary IT aspect of the service sector is in information processing, particularly data entry, and publishing. Other opportunities are in call centers and in software development. Opportunities for women come not so much from the high value end of the information processing work, such as software programming or system analysis, as from the relatively low value added operations that include a wide range of activities from customer services in call centers to secretarial work for medical transcriptions. These are categorized as Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) jobs 32

33 ICT sector business examples Cell Phone Repair Small Business Development for Women, Cameroon Mobile phone penetration in Cameroon increased from 0.02% in 1999 to over 12% in 2005; by 2006 mobile phones represented more than 95% of all telephone lines. A long established women’s business association, ASAFE, identified this escalation in cell phone use as a viable opportunity for young women. The program supports the creation of small scale enterprise in rural and peri- urban areas for cell phone maintenance. Women are trained to repair cell phones, sell them and run viable businesses. They gain technical and management training over two weeks and a loan to acquire 10 cell phones, pay for needed equipment and rent a small space. CISCO Systems Networking Academy The Cisco Systems Networking Academy, established in 1997, is an ICT training program with locations worldwide that teaches students to design, build, and maintain computer networks, and prepares them for industry-standard certification as networking professionals. To increase female enrolment, CISCO uses female role models in advertisements and promotional materials. The curriculum also includes a training module on gender equality, and the women also received training in management, entrepreneurship, and gender issues. ad/index.html 33

34 A cautionary comment – cheap labour in an ICT Value Chain may not empower women The export shoe industry in one developing country employs about 25,000 people of whom women are the majority. Between 1998 and 2001, exports rose to $20.5million and the initial three firms exporting shoes to a major developed country increased to 10, about 200 new jobs were created- many filled by poor women from nearby villages. Because many of the exported shoes require handiwork – village women are subcontracted to do delicate hand stitching in their homes. Although women were able to take advantage of the opportunity of home-working and micro enterprises in the shoe industry, they did not themselves have any direct participation with ICTs, they were the indirect beneficiaries of a business that used ICTs to promote competitiveness and efficiency in the market. Women did not receive any training in the use of ICTs, they were merely supplying a labour-intensive product within the supply chain. 34

35 Some final reminders Work directly with women to help them determine what kinds of ICTs they can apply to their day-to-day activities Engage them in determining their needs and training priorities and how best the training could be delivered and by whom Involve stakeholders from the wider community to establish dialogue and relationships beyond the actual training Build a support system among women using ICTs for business so they can help each other over time. 35

36 For more details… Please contact Nidhi Tandon :

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