|dc.description.abstract||Since the 1990s, a lot of resources have been invested by governments, bilateral and
multilateral donors and other international development organizations to support ICT-forpoverty-
reduction initiatives and projects. The results have been mixed and some projects
have been downright failures. Whereas various reasons have been advanced for this state
of affairs, researchers have observed that there exists insufficient knowledge on the
process of converting the ICTs to capabilities, especially the contextual circumstances
and facilitating conditions that enable the conversion, leading to poverty reduction
outcomes. This research sought to address this gap, with a view to explore how
conversion takes place.
The research was inductive and utilized revelatory multi-case studies and microethnography.
The case studies involved semi-structured interviews of informants and a
focus group, while for the micro-ethnography, the researcher visited the location of the
projects in the cases and stayed there for a sometime, interacting, observing,
interviewing. This happened in three phases over a period of one and half years. The two
cases were located in Western Kenya and involved basic ICTs skills training to poor rural
communities. The informants were beneficiaries of the training projects who had gone on
to utilize their knowledge to improve their well-being. After collection of the data,
transcription was carried out followed by analysis, which led to a carefully written
account of the cases.
The research established that conversion involved three stages: decision to acquire
knowledge to utilize ICTs, establishing whether the ICT-enabled functioning opportunity
is valuable, and determining ability to achieve the functioning. The research opened the
black box of conversion and traced the interaction of the different factors, resources and
ICTs. It mapped out how ICTs and other resources interact and affect each other, how
conversion factors affect each other and resources and the influence resources have on
conversion factors, and how this enabled or constrained conversion.
In conclusion, it became clear that personal conversion factors affected the key
determinants of each stage of the conversion process, and hence played a key part in
conversion. This is reinforced by the fact that even where the same ICT intervention is
availed to the community, the actual capability an individual converts from ICTs depends
on the characteristics of the individual. Social conversion factors clearly have an
influence on each of the identified stages in the conversion process. On the actual
capabilities converted from the ICTs, it became clear that they are not all basic: they are
mixed (basic and non-basic) and the basic capabilities were not necessarily prioritized by
From the research findings, it is recommended that conception and design of ICT-forpoverty-
reduction initiatives and projects should be capability-sensitive: they must take
personal and social conversion factors into consideration. They must also consider the
resources that are required.
From the research, the following recommendations can be made for ICT-for-povertyreduction
Work with the community to identify valued basic capabilities that the interventions
will seek to achieve.
Identify the personal and social conversion factors at work in the community, and the
availability of resources that are likely to affect the adoption, use and conversion of
ICTs to valued capabilities
Adopt capability-sensitive designs.
Awareness creation and community engagement to address negative discourses on
ICTs, and education to give the required ICTs knowledge may be necessary||en_US