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University of Pretoria (2017)

Can Telecentres successfully empower communities ? Planning Design Execution and Evaluation of a South African Rural-agricultural Telecentre

Van der Merwe, Daisy Margaret

Titre : Can Telecentres successfully empower communities ? Planning Design Execution and Evaluation of a South African Rural-agricultural Telecentre

Auteur : Van der Merwe, Daisy Margaret

Université de soutenance : University of Pretoria

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2017

Résumé partiel
This thesis is an in-depth micro study that adapts the participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) method to study the planning, establishment and post-establishment phases of a telecentre in a deep rural-agricultural setting in South Africa. The PM&E Method forms part of the humanistic, person-centered approach of the Ethnographic Paradigm which promotes the research participants as the central characters in their own development process since their opinions, suggestions and recommendations are collaboratively discussed and included in all Actions undertaken. Thabina was chosen for this study, for two reasons : Firstly, being the first small-scale Irrigation Scheme in South Africa to be transferred into a water user association (WUA) by the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), it provides the researcher with a local community that is already organized into an homogenous unit and second, the fact that the community is geographically located in a deep rural agricultural area of South Africa. The community is therefore a developing community at a low level of development, which may according to the literature, benefit from development communication and information. For example, the farmers have to comply with the rules and regulations of the Department of Water Affairs, which could be easily adhered to if the financial and management systems were computerized. The farmers also have to communicate with other stakeholders, roleplayers and agriculture-related organizations. The participatory approach, which forms part of the ethnographic discipline, as used in this study, was based on a four phase participatory process. In this thesis a generic four-phase participatory process is developed by extracting from existing models in the literature the ingredients that would best fit the circumstances of this case study. The complete model framework would have to take into account the institutional structure of a telecentre as well as that of a WUA, a Trust, a Cooperative, a Community Development Programme and many similar organizations, being established by means of the participatory paradigm. This generic four-phase participatory process (structure and actions) was then adapted to the specific circumstances, conditions and situation of the (mostly) illiterate farmers of the Thabina smallscale irrigation scheme. During these four consecutive, participatory phases of the fourphase participatory process, the community (farmers) participated in the decision making processes and all comments and suggestions of the farmers were taken into consideration before any decisions were finalized by the Management Committee. At the completion of each phase the actions taken during that phase were evaluated by means of formative PM&E in collaboration with the Management Committee. This interpretative research method was chosen as the researcher could operate as a participant observer to the interactions between the farmers. This means that the research process will be presented as a narrative description it will be presented as a "chronological rendering", as suggested by theorists for the Ethnographic Paradigm in which this participatory approach is classified. A telecentre per se is a room or office with appropriate information and communication technologies (ICT) by means of which applicable information could be obtained, assessed, accessed, created and managed and communication established in order to address the socio-economic development needs of the community.

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Page publiée le 5 septembre 2017, mise à jour le 15 mai 2018