Not just a tool. taking context into account in the development of a mobile app for rural water supply in Tanzania

A. Wesselink, Robertus Hoppe, R. Lemmens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The 'eGovernance' hype around the potential of mobile phone and geoweb technologies for enhancing 'good governance' is soaring. In East Africa, the extensive use of mobile telephony adds to the imagined promises of ICT. We reflect on the assumptions made by the proponents of such tools, using our own action research project as an example. We took great care to consider context in the development of software for enhancing empowerment and accountability in rural water supply in Tanzania. However, we found that the rural water supply context in Tanzania is much more complex than the contexts for which successful mApps have been developed previously. Institutional analysis and public administration theory help to understand why. Rural water supply shows institutional hybridity, with water being at the same time a private, public and common-pool good. In addition, in accountability relations, many informal mechanisms prevail where explicit reporting is not relevant. Finally, our proposal sat uneasily with other ongoing iGovernment initiatives. We conclude that we need to consider eGovernance tools as political Apps that can be expected to trigger political responses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages21
JournalWater alternatives
Volume8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Tanzania
water management
accountability
administration theory
action research
public administration
responsibility
good governance
East Africa
empowerment
research project
software
water
rural water supply

Keywords

  • METIS-311130
  • IR-97027
  • ITC-GOLD

Cite this

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Not just a tool. taking context into account in the development of a mobile app for rural water supply in Tanzania. / Wesselink, A.; Hoppe, Robertus; Lemmens, R.

In: Water alternatives, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2015, p. 57-76.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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