The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) ICT Policy Monitor was involved in a number of research activities during 2006. The first was a collaboration with the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) and the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) to research: “Effective access of rural communities to broadcasting in equal opportunities: A key strategy for digital inclusion in Latin American and the Caribbean.” The project posed the question: “How can broadcasting be used as a digital inclusion strategy?” and identified the barriers and restrictions that rural communities face to access broadcasting effectively. It also highlighted specific case studies and best practices in public policies.
The second was a collaboration between APC and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) as part of the Building Communication Opportunities (BCO) alliance to assess ICT4D policy process learning and evaluation, and in particular, the policy participation around ICT4D processes in Bangladesh, Bolivia and Uganda.
In Bolivia, we learned important lessons about intervening in national ICT policy context. One of the main lessons was the need to consistently bear in mind the complexity of the policy process. The temperature of the political climate needs to be measured constantly, and policy advocates need to make different risk analyses.
There was clear evidence of the need to ensure the inclusion of all stakeholders, particularly rural and poor communities, to determine the real priorities that the policy process should include in order to truly enhance development, as well as the need to advocate strongly around their inclusion in policy formulation and implementation. The social and economic conditions of Bolivia demanded research at the earliest stages of the policy process in order for advocates to have a solid understanding of the context in which the ICT4D policy processes would play out.