The World Science Project

Our project is about the role of new media (mainly the Internet and mobile technologies) in less developed countries (mainly Kenya, Ghana, and Kerala (India).  We are the most experienced data collection team in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.  Please let us know if you have a project that has been going longer than 1994 and we will give up our claim (although we will be sad to know it).

The World Science Project was named–for better or worse!–by a child playing in the dirt, investigating a grasshopper (unfortunately, with a magnifying glass).  We kept the name because this became the primary web site for the main Science and Engineering Event for the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia (2005).

We link up with the West Africa Trade Hub (sponsored by US Agency for International Development) to produce a short trailer on their new initiative.

For many, it is obvious that the advent of the Internet has made the production of knowledge a global enterprise, with unlimited possibilities for communication, collaboration, and data sharing across international boundaries.

In many places this happened quickly: the rollout of the Internet and mobile phones have changed the conditions under which interaction takes place.  Like many rapid shifts, it is mostly studied in retrospect, but our project has examined communication in Ghana, Kenya and India since 1994.

But in much of the world, the Internet is merely one more unfulfilled promise. Most countries in Africa have minimal connectivity outside of Internet cafes in capital cities. Few agricultural researchers in West Africa make any regular use of the Internet–to do so means long distance phone charges to dial the nearest ISP in order to get a slow connection.

The reds and greens indicating teledensity on world maps are poor indicators of what is really happening in the diffusion of technology. One objective of our project is to assist research and educational institutions to build local area networks.  Our second objective is to understand what’s happening “on the ground” in terms of the diffusion and use of modern information and communication technologies.  We use a variety of methods– including ethnography, film, interviews, and surveys–to follow the diffusion of the Internet.  Since 1993 we have followed this process in Ghana, Kenya, and the State of Kerala in India.  In 2003 South Africa was added, followed by Chile and the Phillipines in 2004.

Poster (400kb PDF)

Brochure (621kb PDF)


Science & Development Network featured the following article on the project following the the World Summit on the Information Society.

More Internet access needed’ for science to go global

Project findings reported in The Hindu


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *