Designing Persuasive Systems for Rural Communities in Namibia

Posted in Completed Student Projects

By Mark Mushiba ( Masters completed 2014)

While current trends of use show that technology is increasingly being accepted into communities that were thought to be inaccessible either because of infrastructure or cultural barriers, the rate at which these technologies are being adopted is not significant enough to foster the much needed benefits. In light of the use of ICT in rural settings, one could say that technology is underutilized.This has recently become an area of concern since most of the world’s socio economic innovations are being delivered through technology. The effectiveness of some of these innovations depend on whether or not they are capable of successfully integrating themselves into rural communities in a way that their use is aligned with the behavior of the people they are meant for.

(continued...) The question of how technology is accepted into communities that haven’t fused with modernization enough to make them technically inclined introduces a special problem area that warrants investigation. Considering that training is facilitated in the best way possible, adoption of technology seems to hinge off on bridging cultural subtleties that are closely linked to behavior. The union between technology and behavior is a rare one or a recent one at that. Persuasive technology is the result of initiatives that attempt to sway the behavior of a user using some or other technological intervention. This research proposes the investigation of whether persuasive technology can improve the adoption of technology in rural communities by designing suitable interventions that fit the cultural nuances and value systems of the rural communities under study. Beyond the latter this research also seeks to produce a framework that can be followed for the general use of designing persuasive technology for Namibian rural communities.