ICT4D Scholarship

IFITT ICT4D SCHOLARSHIP COMPETETION 2013: MEET THE WINNERS!

In 2013 IFITT launched the IFITT ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies fro Development) scholarship in order to fund two talented researchers to attend ENTER2014 in Dublin. The scholarship intends to promote research excellence from developing and emerging countries to provide a positive impact onto researchers respective communities through the application of ICT in tourism. 
 
Launched in mid 2013 the first edition of the IFITT ICT4D scholarship collected 14 submissions from 12 countries. The two top students have been chosen through a rigorous peer reviewed selection process by a panel of academic experts. 
 
On behalf of IFITT board the academic panel is happy to welcome in Dublin:
 
Mrs. Konosoang Mipti from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (South Africa), who submitted a paper entitled “The potential use of ICT enhancing agrotourism in Lesotho”.  (Please see full profile of the winner below)
 
Mr. Atanu Garai from Indira Gandhi National Open University (India) who submitted a paper entitled “Improving Carrier Access during Rural Emergencies (I‐CARE)” (Please see full profile of the winner below)
 
Mrs. Mipti and Mr. Garai will be IFITT guest at ENTER2014 in Dublin and will present their studies during the PhD Workshop (Tuesday, January 21st). 
 
“On behalf of the IFITT board and on behalf of the selection panel I am honoured to welcome at ENTER 2014 Mrs. Mipti and Mr. Garai. I am also delighted by the success of the first IFITT ICT4D scholarship competition. We are planning to re-launch the competition also for ENTER2015 hoping to meet other interesting individuals and researchers from around the world that are willing to make a contribution to their communities through the research in IT and tourism.”  Said Alessandro Inversini, IFITT ICT4D Scholarship Coordinator. 

 

Atanu Garai

 

Atanu Garai designs and implements ICT solutions for improving delivery and uptake of public services in public sector programs for rural jobs, food security, finance and health. In his current assignment with IPE Global, Atanu helps design and implementing mobile payment to workers employed in Indian rural jobs program MGNREGS, fund management by the Panchayati Raj Department, among other initiatives in Odisha (India). Previously, he led the development of ICT strategies for improving public health interventions in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for Abt Associates, IntraHealth International, and Population Council. Atanu has received a graduate degree in e-Governance from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland). He is currently pursuing a master degree in computing in School of Computer and Information Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University (India). As part of this degree requirement, he is working on the project Improved Carrier Access during Rural Emergencies (iCARE) which shall use volunteered vehicles otherwise remains idle available with rural Indians to transport beneficiaries during health emergencies to the health facilities. In iCARE, health workers shall enrol volunteering vehicles in a call centre which shall assign vehicles available in locations nearby to beneficiaries requesting vehicles for transportation. Through the ICTD4D scholarship by IFITT, I am expecting to work with the mentor in design, implementation, and evaluation of the iCARE intervention.

Interview with Atanu: 

When and why did you decide to research in the area of information technology for tourism development?

 

Tourism is a key source of income for a large section of population in in Odisha (India). In other states, opportunities for investment and growth in tourism industry is quite high. Some states like Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, among others have made good number of showcases of the tourism initiatives in the web. Some others are still lagging behind. In this regard, private and public sectors must cooperate in developing websites to inform potential tourists about facilities and travel. I have long been interested in exploring the potential of information technology in tourism sector.

What is your study about?

I am pursuing a graduate degree in computing in the School of Computer and Information Sciences (SOCIS) in IGNOU. The curricula provides practical and theoretical education and training in design and development of computer applications. In the course of this study, I shall design, develop, and implement a software application as part of the project work.
The project Improving Carrier Access during Rural Emergencies (iCARE) aims overcoming challenges in providing timely, cost-effective, and reliable transportation primarily to pregnant women and their families to visit their nearby healthcare facilities. In rural and remote India and elsewhere, pregnant women and their families remain reluctant to avail institutional delivery, often due to limited and timely information on access to carriers. In this project, a software will be developed for enrolling the volunteered vehicles and connect the beneficiaries and volunteer vehicles through a call center.


How do you think your study can provide a positive impact onto your community?

The study helps me in connecting to a number of teachers and peers in the academic and practitioner community in the disciplines of computing and information technology. The knowledge gained in the practical aspects of software development and research on human computer interface will help develop software applications acceptable to the community health workers participating in the iCARE project.

Where do you see the tourism development in your country in 20 years if your study would be realised on a large scale?

Though the iCARE project is yet to be proven on the ground for its efficacy, it has the potential to be useful in tourism sector as well. We would highly appreciate if you could send us this information soon.

Contact Atanu at: agarai@ipeglobal.com2.

 

 

Konosoang Mpiti

I am a Mosotho girl aged 30 and currently doing my Masters degree in Business Information Systems under the Faculty of Informatics and Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). I started my National Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management in 2006 to 2008 and passed all my subjects and then continued with the BTech program in Tourism Management which I successfully finished in the year 2009. Other qualifications include: Business Administration (NQF Level 4) which I obtained from the Institute of Business Studies and Secretarial Studies from the Integrated Business College. 

I am currently working as Information Technology Postgraduate Administrator at CPUT. I also worked Kuoni Private Safaris; one of the leading tour operator in South Africa. I would like to work in an environment where my potential will be used fully. I am a quality driven person and willingness to learn is part of my career strengths. I enjoy doing research work; I am always interested to know when and how things happen and why in order to gain more knowledge and understanding. I love challenges and always willing to put extra effort at all times.



Interview with Konosoag: 

When and why did you decide to research in the area of information technology for tourism development?



I started working on this research early 2013, I’ve always liked doing a research in Tourism management, and however my work experience and educational background has also contributed a lot. I work in an IT department so I thought it would be interesting if I can integrate both Tourism and IT in my study. 



What is your study about?

Please give us a brief insight!

My study is about: The potential use of Information Communication Technology to enhance agri-tourism in Lesotho. 
Agritourism represents a significant form of strategy that supports rural communities and enhances the sustainable rural development. Over the years, technology has changed the nature of business transactions between the consumers and suppliers of goods and services. Like any other industry, changes driven by technology posed a major challenge in agritourism production and marketing especially to farms that do not have access to and knowledge about technologies in agritourism. This study is about exploring how the different types of ICT available for agritourism can help contribute to local development and help overcome potential barriers that may inhibit the use of these technologies by farmers in rural communities of Lesotho.



How do you think your study can provide a positive impact onto your community?



Agritourism is faced with a number of challenges that impact farmer’s abilities to obtain income from the land. Contribution of agritourism to development depends on the generation and delivery of new technologies and these technologies are described as information intensive.The significance of this research is to provide the farmers with a practical and communicable framework which identifies the different types of ICTs that are available for farmers in rural communities to use with the aim of contributing towards agritourism developments and factors that inhibits the use of these technologies in agritourism projects. It also aims to contribute to the body of knowledge and increase understanding on how these technologies can be used by farmers to enhance agritourism.



Where do you see the tourism development in your country in 20 years if your study would be realised on a large scale?



Tourism development is still in its development stage as compared to the other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADA). However; the government of Lesotho has taken the necessary steps in order to promote levels of ICT accessibility in the tourism industry as well as utilisation in its communities despite its poor ICT infrastructure and high level of poverty. Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology (MCST) is responsible for ICT development, broadcasting, media, postal services and science and technology in the country, with the aim of increasing radio, television as well as mobile coverage, the number of internet users in the country, fixed telephone and promotion of IT.

In 20 years time, tourism will be well-developed; the agritourism industry will have the potential to overturn negative economic impacts by bringing in visitors, creating new jobs and local ventures for rural communities. Some of the potential and benefits associated with tourism development are listed below:



• Generation of secondary income for tourism stakeholders

• Development of new consumer markets and increasing awareness to local tourism products
• Preserving the virtual and maintaining the tourism landscape
• Development will also help in attracting other businesses and small industries
• Making provision for certain infrastructure
• Helping educate consumers and tourists about tourism related activities

• Enhancing the rural identity of communities and emphasizing the importance of tourism in local communities
• Helping create name recognition for their tourism products and services

 

 

 

 

 

 

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