UNESCO Chair in ICT4D signs partnership with the University of Canberra

Paddy Nixon, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra, signing the MoU with Tim Unwin, Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London

The UNESCO Chair in ICT4D signed a partnership Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Canberra on 28th March during the International Symposium on Digital Inequality and Social Change (ISDISC) convened by the University’s Research Cluster for Digital Inequality and Social Change (RC-DISC), led by Dr. Ahmed Imran, who is also an Affiliated Member of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D.

The MoU provides the basis for extensive collaboration between the two research groups, focusing particularly on:

  • Research collaboration
  • Workshop and conference convening
  • Research visits and exchanges, especially for early career researchers
  • Collaborative grant applications
  • Implementation of practices to reduce digital inequalities
  • Policy recommendations

This closely reflects the University of Canberra’s interests in developing research in the field of ICT4D, building its transnational networks, and increasing its reputation in digital inequality research and practice, while also reinforcing the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s commitment to crafting partnerships with cognate bodies, developing new ways to reduce digital inequalities, and developing collaborative research activities. It will also provide opportunities to build closer collaboration between colleagues from other disciplines in both institutions.

ISDISC was a hybrid event held at the Univeristy of Canberra and brought together researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines across Australia, with many virtual contributions also coming from elsewhere in the world.

The International Symposium on Digital Inequalities and Social Change being opened by the Executive Dean of the Univeristy of Canberra’s Faculty of Science and Technology, Prof. Janine Deakin, with Dr. Ahmed Imran in attendance.
Participants at the ISDISC conference held at the University of Canberra, 28th-29th March 2022

Tim Unwin’s keynote address at ISDISC on Marginalisation and empowerment: exploring digital inequalities is available here.

Our latest Working Paper: how migrants in South Africa use digital tech

Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D are leading Work Package 9 of the MIDEQ hub (funded by UKRI GCRF and Royal Holloway, University of London) and are exploring how digital tech can be used to reduce the inequalities associated with migration, especially in four corridors: Nepal-Malaysia, Ethiopia-South Africa, China-Ghana, and Haiti-Brazil. The third of our working papers presenting data on the uses of digital technologies by migrants in South Africa has just been published within the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s publication series. Key findings and abstract are as follows.


Key findings

1. Migrants in South Africa are very diverse, making subtly different usage of digital tech – while smart phones and the Internet are the dominant technologies in use, context nevertheless matters in how they are used.  2. Very few migrants make any use at all of apps that have been developed specifically for migrants – and even those 3.7% that claim to do so may not have actually used apps that were deliberately designed for them  3. Many migrants have limited knowledge in how to use the full potential of
their mobile phones – basic training in digital skills and safety might therefore be a valuable intervention for them
 

Abstract

This working paper forms part of the output of Work Package 9 on technology, inequality and migration within the MIDEQ Hub, a multi-disciplinary research project in 12 countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, including the Ethiopia-South Africa migration corridor.  It presents the results of an online survey of 297 respondents mostly currently living in South Africa (92.2%), and mainly from Ethiopia (59.8%); 92.7% of them identified themselves as migrants, with the remainder being family members of migrants (6.2%) or returned migrants (1.1%).  Following a summary of the methodology, which explains the impact of COVID-19 on this research and why an online survey was used to replace our originally planned interviews and focus groups, the paper provides an overview of the most important results and an exploratory data analysis, focusing on the potential influence of age, gender, countries of origin, migration status, and occupational status on the ways in which respondents use digital technologies and for what purposes.  Three important conclusions for the subsequent stages of our research on the inequalities associated with migration and how digital tech may be used to reduce these are: first, the migrants responding to this survey are from very different backgrounds, and these have some strong influences on their use of digital tech; second, very few migrants make any use at all of apps made specifically for them; and third, many migrants still appear to need basic training in the safe and secure use of digital technologies.


To read this paper in full (v.3 .pdf) please use this link.

Other UNESCO Chair in ICT4D Publications are available here.

Uses of digital technologies by Nepali migrants and their families

Members of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D are leading Work Package 9 of the MIDEQ hub (funded by UKRI GCRF and Royal Holloway, University of London) and are exploring how digital tech can be used to reduce the inequalities associated with migration, especially in four corridors: Nepal-Malaysia, Ethiopia-South Africa, China-Ghana, and Haiti-Brazil. The second of our working papers presenting data on the uses of digital technologies by Nepali migrants and their families has just been published within the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s publication series. Key findings and abstract are as follows.


Key findings

1. Nepali migrants and their familes make extensive use of digital technologies – especially smart phones and the Internet for a wide range of purposes, and not just for audio and video calls2. Very few migrants make any use at all of apps  that have been developed specifically for migrants – and even those 8.7% that claim to do so may not have actually used such apps      
3. Migrant use of digital technologies increases through the migration journey – only 46.4% had used digital tech daily before migrating, whereas 85.4% used them daily while in the migration destinations.        

Abstract

This working paper forms part of the output of Work Package 9 on technology, inequality and migration within the MIDEQ Hub, a multi-disciplinary research project in 12 countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, including the Nepal-Malaysia migration corridor.  It presents the results of an online survey of 266 respondents in and from Nepal, 58.5% of whom identified themselves as migrants, with 28.1% being family members of migrants, and 13.4% being returned migrants.  Following a summary of the methodology, which explains why an online survey was used to replace the originally planned interviews and focus groups, the paper provides an overview of the most important results and analysis, focusing on the potential influence of age, gender, countries of origin and destination, migration status, and occupational status on the ways in which respondents use digital technologies and for what purposes.  Three important conclusions for Phase Two of our research are: first, the vast majority of Nepali respondents have smart phones and access the internet very frequently for a wide range of purposes; second, simply designing another new app may not be particularly valuable; and third, it might well be wise to work with, or build on, technologies and apps already in existence, so as to improve them in ways that could increasingly empower migrants.


To read this paper in full (v.4 .pdf) please use this link.

Other UNESCO Chair in ICT4D Publications are available here.