Small-scale cereal farmers dominate agricultural activities in developing countries. These agricultural activities are characterized by low productivity due to lack of agricultural input information. This lack is restrained by the low use of ICTs caused by some factors such as the farmers' perception of ICTs and the ICTs' delivered information quality. We investigated these factors and their effects on ICTs' use by small-scale cereal farmers in developing countries. Sikasso region in Mali was selected as a case. A convenient sample size of 300 cereal farmers was selected. Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling technique was used to analyse the data. The results suggested that the perception i.e. relative advantage, compatibility and simplicity and the delivered information quality were able to explain 77.9% of the variance in the Use of ICTs to access and use agricultural input information. From these results, it is important to take the Relative Advantage, Compatibility, Simplicity and Information Quality as the main factors determining the use of ICTs in developing countries in the cereal production context. A further line of inquiry could be to gather data from other developing countries to validate or find out more factors in such settings.
ObjectivesInformation and communication technology (ICT) tools are increasingly important for clinical care, research, data management, international collaborations, and dissemination. Many technologies would be particularly useful for healthcare workers in resource-limited settings; however, these individuals are the least likely to utilize ICT tools, in part because they lack knowledge and skills necessary to use them. Our program aimed to train researchers in low-resource settings on using ICT tools.MethodsWe conducted a tiered, blended learning program for researchers in Kenya on three areas of ICT: geographic information systems, data management, and communication tools. Tiers included didactic online courses for 100-300 students for each topic, skills workshops for 30 students, and mentored projects for 10. Concurrently, a training of trainers course comprised of an online course and a skills workshop to ensure sustainable ongoing training.ResultsCourse ratings were high, particularly when participants engaged in hands-on skill building activities. Teaching that incorporated local examples was most valuable. Discussion boards were sometimes distracting, depending on multiple factors. Mentored projects were most useful when there were clear expectations, pre-existing projects or data, and clear timelines.DiscussionTraining in the use of ICT tools is essential to improve their use among researchers in low-income settings. However, very few training courses have been described. Our students demonstrated acquisition of new skills and felt these skills to be valuable in their workplaces.ConclusionsFurther and ongoing training in ICT skills should be considered in other low-resource settings, and could use our program as a foundational model.
This chapter covers design experiences gained by working with two Non-Governmental organizations and one day-labour organization for the informal job seekers and employers—day-labour market (DLM). The three design architectures implemented for the DLM organizations are presented. On critically discussing the designs, it is found that even when users are portrayed as similar in the way they work and the things they do, their Information Management Systems (IMS) functional software requirements remain contextual up to the details. The synthesis of the designs shows that there is need to focus on the different functional information needs, including the ones that may seem insignificant even where non-functional requirements may be the same for seemingly similar users. From this argument, it is important that information systems designers, especially for Day labour market organizations, should go deeper into their users and beyond the “about us” information to understand the unique features and requirements of each user group. In conclusion, designers should not assume that seemingly similar organizations/users can be approached from the “one size fits all” IMS perspective.
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