Telecenters and community economic development in peri-urban areas of Ghana

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Tizala-Jatoe, Eunice
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of how access to telecenters can enhance the livelihood capacities, computer skills, knowledge and attitudes of the poor. The study employed a double case approach; data were analyzed using qualitative techniques; and the livelihoods framework was used in presenting the study findings based on an examination of key components of the framework. Findings from the study provide evidence that the training programs and services of the telecenters are patronized primarily by the elite, including workers from government agencies as well as students. The study findings also suggest that the scope of the telecenters for promoting the livelihood capabilities and strategies of social groups including farmers and agri-food traders from marginalized communities is limited. The study concludes that the goal of the telecenter initiative has not been achieved; thus, an in-depth understanding of the interconnections between the key components of the livelihoods framework is central to promoting the livelihood capacities of the poor through telecenters. The study recommends the formulation of proactive policies to improve telecenters responsiveness to the needs of marginalized communities, periodic government monitoring and evaluation of telecenter initiatives, and awareness creation within communities of ICT-enabled strategies that promote community economic development.

telecenters, community economic development, peri-urban areas, Ghana, livelihood capacities, computer skills, knowledge, attitudes