Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the socio-economic effects of internet use at the community information centres (CICs) on livelihoods in three regions of Ghana. Sustainable livelihood framework was used as a lens to understand the phenomena being studied. Primary and secondary data collection methods were used. Three CICs in three regions were purposively selected and qualitative research method was adopted for the study. The data were analysed using Nvivo. The findings showed that sending email information was largely the reason why people used the Internet. We found that through the Internet, people learn, develop new business ideas and expand the market for their businesses. Internet service users cut costs of operation as well as increasing returns on investment. The internet as a social technology has also made business promotion and product launch accessible and affordable. Several small businesses have found ways to use theInternet to increase their brand awareness and get more clients at a minimal cost, and improved social discovery. With social networks like Face book and Twitter, people have easily kept up with all old friends and also made new ones both far and near. Despite these benefits, the use of Internet services at the CICs was bedeviled with some challenges such aspoor internet connectivity, cost of internet services and lack of staff skills to leverage its potential and empower clients. The result of the study provides a deeper understanding of the subject area, based on empirical evidence from the three regions of Ghana. The study recommended that CIC staff should develop a mind-set that is much more customer-focused and should treat the most underprivileged members of the communitiesastheirmostvaluedcustomersaswellastryingtounderstandtheirneeds and CIC project initiators need to be aware of the barriers that hinder people in marginalized communities from using CIC services. Efforts should be made to expand the benefits of the technologies to the majority. Failure to do this would mean that very few people would benefit from the CICs and the digital divide between rural and urban areas would still widen.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.