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Telecenters and the expansion of human capabilities among rural women

Edda Tandi Lwoga (Department of Mathematics and ICT, College of Business Education, Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)
Wallace Chigona (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 11 February 2020

Issue publication date: 7 September 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to assess the contribution of telecenters in expanding the capabilities of rural women to achieve their development outcomes in three rural districts in Tanzania.

Design/methodology/approach

The study conducted 12 focus group discussions with 37 rural women users and 36 rural women non-users of telecenters and semi-structured interviews with telecenter managers in the selected districts. The framework for the study is based on Sen’s capability approach.

Findings

The study noted that telecenters may enable rural women to build some capabilities (social, financial, human and political capabilities), and inhibit others, resulting in diverse development outcomes, based on the choices made and conversion factors. These conversion factors included institutional factors (inadequate computers, space and personnel, unreliable electrical power and slow internet connectivity) and individual factors (multiple responsibilities, status, low-level of education, language barrier, lack of information and communication technology (ICT) skills and technology efficacy and inability to afford ICT short courses). Other conversion factors (e.g. availability of affordable ICTs) enabled rural women to build their capabilities.

Originality/value

This is a comprehensive study that provides findings for rural telecenters to plan and allow rural women to expand their capabilities and achieve their development goals in Tanzania or other settings with similar conditions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) and National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa for funding this study.

Citation

Lwoga, E.T. and Chigona, W. (2020), "Telecenters and the expansion of human capabilities among rural women", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 69 No. 6/7, pp. 501-520. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-11-2019-0136

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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