The Low-Tech Way to Reach Everyone on Earth
We often focus on new technologies – developing the newest app or handing every teacher a tablet – as if they are magic bullets to solving the world’s development problems. While it would be great if this were true, if “innovation” was indeed the answer, we know that the reality is not so simple.
A recent article in The Guardian cautions practitioners to “avoid the lure of the shiny gadget”, arguing that the best tech doesn’t need to be the newest tech, a lesson that rings true for us at Equal Access. Our experience is in accordance with other practitioners in ICT4D who argue that older technologies cannot be dismissed, and that technology convergence, rather than the latest new ICT, holds greater transformative potential.
Radio and mobile is a perfect match for connecting with vulnerable people in hard to reach places. IVR supports our radio and television programs by enabling listeners to call in at any time and engage with the program through regular polls, accessing short form audio content or radio excerpts, and allowing listeners to leave open ended qualitative feedback for our production teams.
As a result, through regular feedback from the target audiences, we are able to monitor the uptake of key messages in real-time, and make mid-course corrections if we find there may be disconnect between the target messages that are broadcast and how they’re being understood on the ground.