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Building community capacity in evaluating IT projects: Outcomes of the LEARNERS project

Lennie, June, Hearn, Gregory N., Simpson, Lynette E., Kennedy da Silva, Emma, Kimber, Megan P., & Hanrahan, Mary U. (2004) Building community capacity in evaluating IT projects: Outcomes of the LEARNERS project. Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This report details case studies, findings and outcomes from the LEARNERS project (Learning, Evaluation, Action & Reflection for New technologies, Empowerment and Rural Sustainability), which was conducted from 2001 - 2004. The project was undertaken in collaboration with two communities in rural Queensland - the Tara and Stanthorpe Shires - and five industry partners. It involved implementing and conducting an ongoing evaluation of a participatory process for evaluating community-based communication and information technology (C&IT) projects. The goals of the LEARNERS process which was trialled in the project were: • the long-term sustainability of C&IT initiatives; • increased collaboration and cooperation between people and organisations from various sectors in rural communities; • enhanced community capacity in using participatory planning and evaluation methods; • increased community participation and inclusion in planning and evaluation processes; • the development of learning communities; and • giving value to empowering forms of leadership based on collaboration, sharing information, networking, encouraging participation, and supporting people. A rigorous, continuous evaluation of the project’s methods and activities and a detailed analysis of the empowering and sometimes disempowering impacts of the project was conducted. From this research, we identified a number of ‘critical success’ strategies for conducting and evaluating participatory action research (PAR), community capacity building and community C&IT projects. The macro context of the project was policies and programs that aim to build community capacities and leadership, develop learning communities, foster participation, inclusion and empowerment, and increase the sustainability of rural communities and C&IT initiatives. Enhancing the leadership of rural women involved in C&IT projects was one of the aims of the project. A critical approach was taken which recognised the complex barriers to community participation, the need to use rigorous methods to evaluate claims for empowerment, and the need to consider why C&IT initiatives have often failed and what can be learned from successful models.

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ID Code: 4389
Item Type: Report
Additional URLs:
Keywords: information and communication technology, community development, action research, evaluation, methodology, community capacity building
ISBN: 0646442686
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified (200199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre
Deposited On: 01 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 23:26

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