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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 1, No. 3 (2005) open journal systems 


MIS sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Three case studies from The Gambia

Jan I Sander, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
Philip J Bell, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
Stephen D Rice, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)


Abstract
Many national and international aid agencies, government and non-governmental organisations (NGO), see the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a rapid way of helping the economies and governance of less developed countries (LDC) through improved management and more effective dissemination of information. Attempts to achieve these aims by the introduction of several aid agency funded ICT schemes in The Gambia - a typical LDC - have failed. This paper suggests that such failures stem from two fundamental causes: the aid agencies do not understand the operational - human and physical - environment in which the ICT systems are to operate and, equally, the intended beneficiaries are unaware of how ICT systems can be usefully employed in their day-to-day tasks. Failure to correctly employ ICT systems has resulted in the wastage of scarce development funds and the diverting of scarce local skilled personnel away from other, productive tasks. To achieve real and sustainable benefits from ICT schemes in such LDCs a phased implementation project model is proposed which includes, in addition to the provision of hardware and software solutions, ICT awareness building and training of user personnel as well as ongoing monitoring of the system's impact. Before significant ICT project development starts management must understand and agree that the scheme's introduction will benefit their work. Moreover, they must fully commit to change and adapt their working procedures in ways that will enable them to benefit from the added functionality provided by the ICT system.


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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556