UCT CS Research Document Archive

Using Activity Theory to Understand Technology Use and Perception among Rural Users in Uganda

Ssozi-Mugarura, Fiona, Ulrike Rivett and Edwin Blake (2016) Using Activity Theory to Understand Technology Use and Perception among Rural Users in Uganda. In Proceedings 8th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, pages 1-10, Ann Arbor, MI, USA .

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Implementing technologies in developing communities often involves working with people that have a very different context from the researcher in terms of lower literacy and less experience with technology. Having worked with three rural communities in Uganda and introduced an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) intervention for water management, we use activity theory to analyse people's activities in relation to the use and uptake of the community-based ICT tool. To understand the contextual factors that influence the use of the tool, we proceed from our activity theory analysis and we unpack the perceptions and attitudes that rural technology users have towards technology. Our findings provide insights into what motivates and demotivates people in rural communities to use ICTs. We use our findings to substantiate the relevance of the intangible impacts of ICTs such as empowerment, social cohesion and improved self-worth for rural technology users. We recommend that technology designers be open to the unintended uses of the technologies they introduce in rural communities.

EPrint Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:Technology use, Rural communities, Activity theory
Subjects:K Computing Milieux: K.4 COMPUTERS AND SOCIETY
ID Code:1122
Deposited By:Ssozi-Mugarura, Fiona
Deposited On:29 November 2016
Alternative Locations:http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2909609.2909650