From IT for Change's Annual Report for 2013-14

Participatory Action Research on KOER

We have begun a 'Participatory Action Research' on STF-KOER with support from IDRC , in which we will explore, with the KOER teacher core team, “whether and how, a bottom-up approach, where participants collaboratively and actively co-create contextual resources ('embedded' within a 'community of learning'), can support effective OER models”. The broad objectives of the action research are to study how a collaborative OER model can be embedded within a local ecosystem of a “community of teachers”, in Karnataka state, in India and to understand how such a locally anchored, collaborative OER model can develop effective processes of creation-curation-adoption that contribute to sustained use of OER and teacher development.The ROER4D is a research network of scholars from the global south and the research will be undertaken in countries in South America, Africa and Asia.

Women-gov action-research project=

This year, we have continued 'Women-gov', a feminist action-research project supported by the International Development Research Centre, Canada (2012-2014), which aims at developing contextual models that harness the potential of digital technologies, for gendering local governance structures, and bringing deliberations on gender justice from the standpoint of poor and marginalised women into the public domain.
This project has utilised the new informational, associational and communicative possibilities opened up by digital technologies,for strengthening marginalised women's engagement with local governance processes, and their claims-making,across three sites in the Global South: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mysore (India) and Cape Town (South Africa). IT for Change is providing conceptual leadership to this project, and spearheading the India Intervention strategy. The partnering organisations in Brazil and South Africa are Instituto Nupef and the University of the Western Cape, respectively.
Focusing on the systematic pursuit of knowledge around the relationship between technological affordances, exclusion and citizenship, Women-gov explores the promise of emergent techno-social spaces for reclaiming women's 'active citizenship' as a political idea. It seeks to intervene in and learn from, building and strengthening marginalised women's on-going struggle for substantive equality in relation to formal structures and spaces within the State sphere, the 'local' public sphere and the knowledge / academic sphere.

The Women-gov feminist action research project has encouraged a rich sharing of experiences across the three sites in Brazil, India and South Africa on realising the promise of the information society context, for furthering marginalised women's citizenship in the post-colonial context. This video showcases the interaction between women participating in the India project, and researchers from Brazil and South Africa, and was shot by one of the women participants.

Methodology and site-specific strategies

In Brazil

Instituto Nupef works with 30 Afro-Brazilian women community leaders in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro helping them tackle urgent concerns, such as poor quality of public services in their communities; and mainstream hegemonic cultural norms in formal and informal institutions. In this endeavour, Nupef utilises the collective action possibilities opened up by the Internet and social media platforms.

In India

Prakriye – Centre for Community Informatics and Development, the field centre of IT for Change has been exploring the potential of digital technologies using community media (specifically community radio and community video) as a vehicle for citizenship pedagogies and digitally enabled information centres for helping women access entitlements. The project also deploys an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) to network women through the mobile phone, and aims to use participatory mapping opportunities offered by Open-Source GIS platforms.For more details, see Prakriye.

In South Africa

In South Africa, Women-gov has drawn together students from an historically black university, the University of the Western Cape, and young women associated with NGOs in Cape Town to galvanise the collective strengths of these differently-located young women by providing training,resources, and political guidance that will facilitate their public participation and community involvement around violence against women, as well as integrated transport services and public employment programmes.

Building feminist frameworks for the digital age: other research assignments

We have continued our work on compiling the insights from our two-year, IDRC supported, Asia-wide programme on Gender and Citizenship in the Information Society (CITIGEN-Asia) that concluded in February 2012, into an edited volume of 14 essays. This book that synthesises our theory-building efforts around the question of feminist politics in the information age, will be published by Zubaan Books in mid-2014. Another significant research assignment we undertook during 2013-14, was the preparation of a 'Gender and ICTs' brief, commissioned by BRIDGE, IDS Sussex, for DFID, detailing a policy and programme road-map for promoting the gender justice agenda in the digital age.