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Access to technology creates socioeconomic advancement

Technology, alongside good governance, is considered one of the greatest enablers for productivity and improved quality of life. ¹ 

  • Access to new technologies, one of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, helps create beneficial economic impact and boosts socioeconomic advancement.
  • Less than 20% of the global population – those concentrated in industrialized nations – benefit from technology.
  • The lives of another 6 billion people on our planet could be improved, and even saved, through access to the kinds of basic technological advancements that most of us take for granted.

This statistic is a perfect example of the 80/20 Principle, Pareto’s law of the vital few, a concept he developed in context of the distribution of income and wealth among populations. The Pareto principle states that in many instances roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The reason most technologies have not been successful in developing regions is they have been created for the developed world so have been a poor fit. Little attention has been paid to the appropriate selection and development of sustainable technological solutions for the unique issues faced by populations in developing regions.

The opportunity to positively change this is what excites us at iAID. This imbalance in access and availability to appropriate technological innovations for developing regions is what drives our vision and mission.

¹ Brewer et al. “The Case for Technology in Developing Regions”. Published in Computer (Volume 38, Issue 6, May 2005)

 

Selection vs Accessibility

The challenge in the developing world is not always accessibility to new technologies and tools, but often a misguided selection process and inability to make corrections mid-path when desired outcomes can’t be delivered.

The technology needs in developing regions differ to those in industrialized nations in terms of cost, power and usage. Using existing off-the-shelf technology designed for the industrialized world is often a poor fit for developing nations, resulting in abandoned programs and wasted funds.

If the public value of modern innovations can be unleashed to better fit the needs of developing nations, the quality of life and ability to advance economically for marginalized people who need them most can be hugely impacted.

This is what underscores ALL iAID programs.

At iAID the definition of technology is almost unlimited, spanning various categories and open to the unknown.

It might include:

  • physical infrastructure
  • machinery & equipment
  • information & communication tools
  • education & skill building

Correctly selected and implemented, technologies have a huge role to play in disasters and emergencies, as well as in rebuilding affected communities. The right technological tools and the right training can sustainably counteract the effects of poverty, danger and social injustice in poor communities.