Contribution of information and communication technologies for women empowerment and development: A comparative case study of Tanzania and South Africa (2013 -2015)
This study seeks to examine the contribution of ICT to gender empowerment, rural livelihoods and poverty reduction in selected regions in Tanzania and South Africa. In particular, the study seeks to establish the current status of ICT sector development in the selected rural areas of Tanzania and South Africa, secondly to determine the use pattern of ICTs, and impact of ICT use on gender empowerment and rural livelihoods of the people living in the selected rural areas, to identify enablers and barriers to effective utilisation of ICTs , and lastly to make policy recommendations based on the findings of this study. The study will be guided by two models: the Alternative Evaluation Framework (AEF) of the impact of ICTs on human empowerment (Gigler, 2004)and Sustainable Livelihood Framework (DFID, 1999). The study will be carried out selected rural districts which have presence of ICT such as telecenters, community radio and telecommunication signals in Tanzania and South Africa. In each country, six rural districts surrounding the tecenterswill be selected. The study will use a multi-case study research design. A mixed paradigm methodology will be adopted and the quantitative research will be used as a dominant paradigm. Data will be collected in two phases: first phase will comprise quantitative paradigm, which will be used to inform the qualitative paradigm in the second phase. Based on study findings, the study will provide recommendations to Tanzania and South Africa governments, especially government authorities in charge of ICT developments, which can assist them in developing and implementing appropriate ICT policies and strategies. The findings can be useful in undertaking policy measures to ensure that users recognize the importance of ICTs in empowering gender and improving their livelihoods and reduce poverty. Increased access and usage of ICTs call for a need to formulate policy frameworks that would ensure favourable conditions for users to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by ICTs. The lessons from the study may be applicable to other developing countries.