Implementing ICTs in Indonesia’s Small-Scale Fisheries: Identifying Common Implementation Challenges and the Development Paradigms that Shape Them
Abstract: Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most productive fisheries, with Indonesia’s small-scale fishermen responsible for the majority of production. Despite their contributions to global and national food stocks they remain amongst the poorest segments of the population and are most impacted by the sector’s various economic, environmental and political challenges. International aid agencies and non-governmental organizations have sought to address these challenges through a number of development cooperation solutions over recent decades. Over this period, changing development paradigms have shaped donor’s definitions of development, their objectives and the approaches taken—including increasing use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in program designs. Now, more than four decades after ICTs’ first applications in development, this paper seeks to examine how ICTs have been used to further Indonesian small-scale fishery development, how these approaches have been shaped by development objectives and beliefs set forth by prominent paradigms, and the common challenges that have resulted. To conduct this research, extensive desk-based research was first conducted to understand the priority fisheries challenges that initiatives have sought to address, followed by research on developmental paradigms and ICTs roles within. Empirical research was conducted to develop a case study on mFish, a development program which serves as the basis for analysis of trends in development implementation. Additional interviews, surveys, and in-field observations were also conducted to contextualize the case study within the experiences of other development cooperation solutions. Findings revealed a common set of challenges encountered during ICT implementation that are can be linked to previous development paradigms and their academic criticisms. These included insufficient engagement of end-users and a lack of understanding of truly participatory design, disconnects between design and on-the-ground realities, and a lack of emphasis on technology sustainability and donor integration. As a result of understanding these challenges and the beliefs that have perpetuated them, recommendations have been developed for more user-centered development approaches that acknowledge and move beyond part limitations.
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