Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Interview with Dr. Irene Susan Egyir

Dr. Irene Egyir was the lead researcher in the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman project .She shared her views a bout the project at an output dissemination workshop on the project.
What is your name and what position do you hold in the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman Project?
I am known as Dr. Mrs Irene Susan Egyir and i work with the University of Ghana, Legon as a lecturer but in GINKS, I am the lead Researcher for the Mfantsiman Research Project.
What was the purpose of the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman Project?
You know we have growth and poverty reduction strategy for the nation and I think GINKS is trying to enhance knowledge sharing for poverty reduction so its main objective for the research was to find mechanisms and tools for generating, storing, disseminating information through the use of modern ICTs but in order that we find out whether underprivileged communities can be part of the knowledge enhancing through ICTs, GINKS went there in 2005 to start such a research.
What were some on the interesting findings from the Mfantsiman Project?
The first objective was to have a best practice tour and one of the interesting findings in the tour was the fact that when you want to implement such a project, you should have a knowledge club so we were able to put together women who were basically old food producers into an ACCASI club. ACCASI stands for Atakwa Community Centre for Knowledge Sharing through ICTs. The second objective was to find out what they needed most and through sample surveys and focus group discussions, we found out that, they needed where to find low cost credit for their food production activities. Third was to also scout for what modern ICTs and other traditional and conventional ICTs they use to source for information. We realise that they don't use any modern ICTs, however, they know about computers but not much about internet. They also knew about television, they knew about digital radios but did not know how to use it, so we trying to use the internet, mobile phone and computers to link them to holders of knowledge. These holders of knowledge are service providers, the extension people, money or financial institutions and other groups that help in group dynamics so that is also one of the interesting things we have been able to achieve. we were also able to put together a resource centre in that village and train these women. Most of them were illiterate, some had some number of years of education and at the end of May 2007, we have able to get these people to break the myth concerning older women and gadgets. So they were able to operate DVDs and also log onto the computer and retrieve information that has been repackaged for them and I believe that these are some of the interesting findings that we came up with. The fact that women knew what they wanted, we could get what they wanted, repackage with them, put them on computers and they themselves can retrieve it at any time and share with others. These are some of the interesting findings that have come out of the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman project.

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