Application of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) to Rural Communities in Kenya


  • Rosabel Wanjiku Githinji UNITEC New Zealand



ICT4D, Rural Communities, Development, Telecentres , Kenya


There is growing evidence of the positive role ICTs can play in development, particularly in rural areas of developing countries using public services in the form of telecentres. Emphasizing proactive measures ensures ICTs serve as effective tools for social inclusion, social change, and widespread access, especially for the poor and disadvantaged communities. This research study explores the application of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) in a rural community in Kenya, by evaluating the Nguruman Community Knowledge Center (CKC), established in 2003 by a development organization. This study uses a participatory ethnographic research method that combines participatory techniques and ethnographic research, with the potential of feeding into action research. The research makes use of the communicative ecology approach in evaluating communication and ICTs for development. In this study, ICTs, particularly traditional ICTs (radio and television) significantly contribute to improving people’s living conditions by making information available that helps in solving real problems encountered. The expectations of community members who use these ICTs reflect their level of understanding of the relationship that exists between these tools and the improvement of their living conditions as well as enhancing development efforts. The study shows that the context and institutional framework for ICTs in Kenya are changing which reflects the government’s commitment to being part of the information society, especially in rural communities. Despite this, a gap exists between the aspirations of policymakers and the reality in rural areas owing to the poor state of ICT and general infrastructure. 


Acacia. (2003). Information and Communication Technologies for Development. Retrieved from › ... › Acacia › Projects › 1998-2005.

African Partnership Forum. (2008). "ICT in Africa: Boosting Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction." A document prepared for the 10th Meeting of the Africa Partnership Forum in Tokyo on 7-8 April 2008. Retrieved from:,3417,en_37489563_37637530_1_1_1_ 1_1,00. Html

ALIN-EA. (2005). ICT4D in Eastern Africa. Nairobi: Kenya.

Bailey, A. (2009). Issues affecting the social sustainability of telecentres in developing contexts: a field study of sixteen telecentres in Jamaica. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 36. Retrieved from

Bessette, G. (2004). Involving the Community: A guide to Participatory Development Communication. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Best, M. L., & Maier, S. G. (2007). Gender, culture, and ICT use in rural South India. Gender Technology and Development, 11(1), 137. DOI: 10.1177/097185240701100201

Bosamia, M. (2013). Positive and Negative Impacts of Information and Communication Technology in our Everyday Life.

Chapman, R., & Slaymaker, T. (2002). ICTs and Rural Development: Review of the Literature, Current Interventions and Opportunities for Action. Working Paper192. Results of ODI research presented in preliminary form for discussion and critical comment. Overseas Development Institute: London: UK. Retrieved from

Colle, R. D. (2007). Threads of development communication. In J. Servaes Communication for development and social change. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

Communications Commission of Kenya. (2010). What WE DO. CCK. Retrieved from

Davies, J. (2006). ICT in the health sector: Literature review. Retrieved from

Deane, J. (2004). The context of communication for development. Paper prepared for 9th United Nations Roundtable on Communication for Development 6 - 9 September 2004 FAO Rome, Italy. Retrieved from

Etta, F., & Pravyn-Wamahiu, S. (2003). Information and Communication Technologies for Development in Africa - Volume 2: The experience with community Telecentres. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Export Processing Zone Authority. (2005). Kenya Information and Communications Sector 2005. Retrieved from:

FAO, (2007). World Congress on Communication for Development: Lessons, challenges and the way forward. Washington: The World Bank. Retrieved from Ebrary Database.

Fillip, B., & Foote, D. (2007). Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development. Information Technology Applications Center of the Academy for Education Development. Washington, D.C. Available online at [April 20, 2008].

Gendall, K. (2008). Centering development: Education centers supporting rural development. Communication, 34(2), 238-254. DOI: 10.1080/02500160802456189

Gerster, R., & Zimmermann, S. (2005). Up-scaling pro-poor ICT policies and practices. A review of experience with emphasis on low-income countries in Asia and Africa. Retrieved from: : tions

Gill, K., Brooks, K., McDougall, J., Patel, P., & Kes, A. (2010). Bridging the gender divide: How technology can advance women economically. International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Retrieved from

Government of Kenya. (2006). National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy by Ministry of Information and Communications. Retrieved from

Granqvist M. (2005). Looking Critically at ICT4Dev: the Case of Lincos. Journal of Community Informatics, 2(1) Retrieved from:

Green, K. (2017). Projected New Jobs by Major Industry Sector, 2016-26. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from

Guislain, P., Qiang, C. Z., Lanvin, B., Minges, M., & Swanson, E. (2006). Overview. In World Bank Information and Communications for Development 2006: Global trends and policies. Washington D.C: The World Bank. Retrieved from http://www- AL0USE0ONLY1.pdf

Heeks, R. (1999). "Development informatics." Working paper series. Paper No.5. Information and communication technologies, poverty and development. Retrieved from

International Telecommunication Union. (2003). "Assessment of telecommunication and ICT infrastructure in Africa." Proceedings from the symposium on African ICT roadmap to achieve NEPAD objectives. Arusha, Tanzania, 1-3 April 2003. Retrieved from english).pdf

Jensen, R. (2007). "The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), market performance, and welfare in the South Indian fisheries sector." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 121(3): 879-924.

Jhunjhunwala, A. (2008, June). Entrepreneur-run rural Telecentres: A good model to ensure sustainability? In, Telecentres run as small, local businesses make a good model to ensure sustainability! Telecentre Magazine. Retrieved from

Kapondera, S., & Namusanya, D.M. (2017). Uses, benefits and challenges of using rural community telecentres as tools for development: the Case of Vikwa Community Telecentre in Kasungu, Malawi. Journal of Development and Communication Studies, 5(1), 1. DOI: 10.4314/jdcs.v5i1.1

Kariuki, G. (2009). Growth and improvement of Information and Communication Technology in Kenya. Retrieved from Gatana-Kariuki.php

Kenya ICT Strategy. (2006). 2006 Kenya ICT strategy: Collaboration and outsourcing for economic growth. Retrieved from

Labelle, R. (2005). ICT policy formulation and e-Strategy development. A comprehensive guidebook. Asia: UNDP-APDIP. Retrieved from

Levy, M. R., & Banerjee, I. (2008). Urban entrepreneurs, ICTs, and emerging theories: a new direction for development communication. Asian Journal of Communication, 18 (4), 304-317. DOI: 10.1080/01292980802344216

Maier, S., & Nair-Reichert, U. (2007). Empowering women through ICT-Based business initiatives: An overview of best practices in E-Commerce/E-Retailing Projects. Information Technologies and International Development Volume 4(2), 43-60.

Martin, K. (2008). Gendered behaviors and ICT initiatives in local communities. In J. Tacchi & M.S. Kiran. Finding a voice: Themes and discussions. New Delhi: UNESCO.

McNamara, K. S. (2003). Information and Communication Technologies, poverty and development: Learning from experience. A background paper for the infoDev annual symposium December 9-10, 2003 Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved from

Mefalopulos, P. (2008). Development Communication sourcebook: Broadening the boundaries of communication. Washington: The World Bank. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Melkote, S., & Steeves, H. L. (2001). Communication for Development in the Third World: Theory and Practice for Empowerment. London: Sage Publications.

Morris, N. (2005). The diffusion and participatory models: a comparative analysis. In O. Hemer & T. Tufte Media and global change: rethinking communications for development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Muya, E. M., Gachini, P. M., Waruru, B. K. (2001). Assessment of the effects of irrigation methods on crop performance in Nguruman Irrigation Scheme, Kajiado District.

Mwololo, Tim & Miroro, Obadia. (2014). Access and use of ICT and its contribution to poverty reduction in Kenya. 10.3362/9781780448152.005.

Nobuya, I. (2007). Communicating the Impact of Communication for Development: Recent Trends in Empirical Research. Washington, D.C: World Bank. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Nulens, G., & Audenhove, L. V. (1999). An Information Society in Africa? An analysis of the Information Society policy of the World Bank, ITU and ECA. International Communication Gazette 61(1), 451. DOI: 10.1177/0016549299061006001

Odame, H. H. (2005). Introduction: gender and ICTs for development: Setting the context. In Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen; Oxfam GB Gender and ICTs for development: a global sourcebook. Amsterdam: KIT; Oxford : Oxfam GB

Ogan, C.L., Bashir, M., Camaj, L., Luo, Y., Gaddie, B., Pennington, R., …Salih, M. (2009). Development Communication, the state of research in an era of ICTs and globalization. The International Communication Gazette 1748-0485; Vol. 71(8): 655-670; DOI: 10.1177/1748048509345060

Onyiengo, M. (2010, August 27). Landmark moment as new Kenyan Constitution takes effect. Voice of America. Into-Law--101632883.html

Otiso, K.M., & Moseley, W.G. (2009). Examining claims for Information and Communication Technology-Led Development in Africa African Geographical Review, 28, 99-116. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Parkinson, S. (2005). Telecentres, access and development: Experience and Lessons from Uganda and South Africa. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Petersone, B. (2005). Integrated approach to Development Communication: A public relations framework for social changes. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA.

Proenza, F. (2001). Telecentre sustainability: Myths and opportunities. Retrieved from

Rega, I. (2010). What do local people think about telecentres? A key issue for sustainability. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland.

Roman, R., & Colle, R. (2002a). "Themes and Issues in Telecenter Sustainability." Development Informatics, Working Paper Series Mo. 10, Manchester: Institute for Development Policy and Management.

Roman, R., & Colle, R. D. (2002b). "Creating a Participatory Telecenter Enterprise." Paper presented at the Participatory Communication Research Section in the annual meeting of International Association for Media and Communication Research, Barcelona, Spain

Schwab, K. (2018). The Global Competitiveness Report 2018. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from

Servaes, J. (2000). Walking on the other side of the information highway: communication, culture and development in the 21st century. Penang, Malaysia: Southbound.

Servaes, J. (2007). Communication for development and social change. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

Servaes, J., & Malikhao, P. (2005). Participatory communication: the new paradigm? In O. Hemer & T. Tufte Media and global change: rethinking communications for development. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Singh, M. (2005). "Communication for Social Change at the crossroads: Moving from Theory to Praxis A Case Study 'Balance Barabar'." Paper submitted to Intercultural & Development Communication Division Of the International Communication Association for the 55th conference at New York May 26 - 30, 2005. Retrieved from

Sosale, S. (2007). The panoptic view: A discourse approach to communication and development. In J. Servaes. Communication for development and social change. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage publications Ltd.

Spiezia, V. (2013). ICT investments and productivity. OECD Journal: Economic Studies, (1), 199-211. Retrieved from

Tacchi, J., Slater, D., & Hearn, G. (2003a). Ethnographic Action Research. A user's handbook developed to innovate and research ICT application for poverty eradication. New Delhi: UNESCO.

Thioune, R. M. (2003). Information and Communication Technologies for Development in Africa - Volume 1: Opportunities and challenges for community development. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

Tinio, V.L. (2003). ICT in education. Retrieved from

Tiwari, M. & Sharmistha, U. (2008). ICTs in Rural India: User Perspective Study of two Different Models in Madhya

Torero, M. and von Braun, J. (2006). Information and Communication Technologies for Development and Poverty Reduction: The Potential of Telecommunications. Washington, Johns Hopkins University Press and IFPRI.

UNCTAD. (2010). Information economy report 2010. ICTs, enterprises and poverty alleviation. Retrieved from:

Vaughan, D. (2006). ICT4D - Linking Policy to Community Outcomes. Retrieved from yOutcomesPDF.pdf.

Waisbord, S. (2000). Family tree of theories, methodologies and strategies in development communication. Prepared for the Rockefeller Foundation. Retrieved from

Watson, V. (2007). Beyond the digital divide: Mapping communicative ecologies among indigenous communities and ICT consumers. In J. Servaes & S. Liu Moving targets: mapping the paths between communication, technology and social change in communities. Penang: Southbound.

Wole, M. O. (2008). Gender and National ICT Policy in Africa: issues, strategies, and policy options. Information Development 2008; 24; 53 DOI: 10.1177/0266666907087697

World Bank. (2002). Information and Communication Technologies: A World Bank Group strategy. Washington D.C: World Bank. Retrieved from Ebrary database.

World Bank. (2006). "African private sector development. Tourism: An opportunity to unleash shared growth in Africa." Note No. 16 July 2006. Retrieved from pdf

Zhao, J. (2008). ICT4D: Internet Adoption and Usage among Rural Users in China. Springer Science and Business Media B.V. 2008. Retrieved from




How to Cite

Githinji, R. W. (2022). Application of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) to Rural Communities in Kenya . SCIENCE MUNDI, 2(1), 15–25.