October 26, 2011

The ‘ICT4D Postcards Project’

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It was 2004, and I was working on a project which took me to the intersection of technology and international development. Much to many people’s surprise, mobile phones were beginning to make their way into parts of rural Africa, including areas like that in the photo. This is Bushbuckridge – an area which straddles Kruger National Park in South Africa. These women spend most of their days queueing for water, and we pulled up one morning when I took this shot. I use it a lot in my work. It highlights the challenges we face in the development community, and challenges me to think hard about the role of technology – if any – in improving people’s lives.

kiwanjaLuxury Travel Stories is about the idea of connecting the world via ‘stories’ in postcard format. A photo with accompanying text no more than what would fit on the back of a postcard.

Last month I was invited to contribute a postcard to the Luxury Travel Storiesproject, and chose the photo and text above You can view the post, and those from other contributors, here. The whole site is based on the idea of “connecting the world via ‘stories’ in postcard format. A photo with accompanying text no more than what would fit on the back of a postcard.” Like “Dear Photograph” (which I blogged about here), it’s a simple but compelling idea.

One of the things I’ve always maintained is that we often know little about the background and motivation of people working in our field, and how they came to work in it. So in part as a way to rectify this I thought it would be great to put together a slideshow of ICT4D-related postcards to share online.

If you work at the intersection of technology and international development and have a favorite photograph – one you’ve taken – with a technology/development theme and would like to take part, send it to [email protected] with your name, a short description of when and where it was taken and what it means to you. Remember, the text needs to fit on the back of a postcard, so keep it concise. And if you know anyone who you think might want to take part, please pass this on.

Once I have enough I’ll pull everything together and drop it into Slideshare. If enough people contribute it might be fun to map the photos, and stories, on Ushahidi.

Looking forward to reading your stories and contributions!Ken Banks is founder of kiwanja.net, a site that helps nonprofits use mobile technology to serve their communities’ information needs. See his profile page, visit his blog, contact Ken or leave a comment. Follow Ken on Twitter at @kiwanja.

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One thought on “The ‘ICT4D Postcards Project’

  1. There is a free service called Place Stories http://ps3beta.com/about that will not only facilitate postcard sharing (see the pic, click on it to read the postcard), but it will also map it on a Google maps mashup