BRIDGE BUILDERS

African Experiences with Information and Communication Technology

Office of International Affairs

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1996



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--> BRIDGE BUILDERS African Experiences with Information and Communication Technology Office of International Affairs National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1996

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine for their special competence and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report has been prepared by the editorial subcommittee of the Advisory Panel on Planning for Scientific and Technological Information (STI) Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Support for the project and for this report was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. A limited number of copies of this report are available from: Office of International Affairs National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Additional copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue. N.W. Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20418 Tel: 1-800-624-6242 or (202)334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-68711 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05483-4 Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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--> Panel on Planning for Scientific and Technological Information (STI) Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa Co-chairs DR. JOHN BLACK, Chief Librarian (retired), University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada JANE BORTNICK GRIFFITH, Chief, Science Policy Research Division, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Members DR. GBADE A. ALABI, Department of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria STEVE CISLER, Senior Scientist, Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, California DR. NANCY HAFKIN, Head, Pan African Development Information Systems (PADIS), United Nations/Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia DR. HEATHER HUDSON, Director, Telecommunications Program, University of San Francisco, McLaren College of Business, San Francisco, California DR. BERNARD LOWN (IOM), Lown Cardiovascular Center, Brookline, Massachusetts THEOPHILUS E. MLAKI, Director of Information and Documentation, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania DR. ALEX TINDIMUBONA, African Science and Technology Exchange, Kampala, Uganda Staff WENDY D. WHITE, Senior Program Officer, Office of International Affairs PAMELA GAMBLE, Assistant, Office of International Affairs

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, non-profit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is concerned with the development of international and national policies to promote effective application of science and technology to economic and social problems facing both industrialized and developing countries. OIA participates in international cooperative activities, engages in joint studies and projects with counterpart organizations, manages scientific exchange programs, and represents the Academy complex at many national and international meetings directed toward facilitating international cooperation in science and engineering. Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland, Dr. Harold Forsen, and Dr. David Rall are the foreign secretaries of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, respectively.

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--> Preface Bridge-Builders: African Experiences with Information and Communication Technology brings good news from that continent. This volume tells sixteen remarkable stories—first-person accounts of how information and communication technologies (ICT) have been successfully introduced into institutions for the benefit of scientists and engineers in sub-Saharan Africa. The projects described by the authors are case studies that focus on the lessons learned in designing and implementing projects dealing with scientific and technological information (STI) and that examine the impacts these projects have had. For the most part, these are not big projects in terms of funding. They do, however, demonstrate just how much can be accomplished through leadership, dedication, and determination. The authors are very honest in discussing the problems they faced and the lessons they learned. By providing this systematic examination of the lessons learned by these project managers, the National Research Council's Advisory Panel on Planning for STI Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa hopes to encourage the donor community and many others in the STI community to engage in strategic planning for STI and to strengthen the design and management of scientific and technical systems. The Advisory Panel expects this volume to contribute to the development of national STI projects that are based on a firm and educated comprehension of what is already in place and to catalyze necessary linkages between STI institutions and actors so that national STI networks can be developed to support African scientists and engineers. The stories told by these authors should also encourage managers of other fledgling STI initiatives whose objectives are similar or complementary.

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--> This volume has been a long time in the making. Since 1989, the Advisory Panel has observed the STI scene in Africa with growing interest. Through a number of workshops and seminars in Africa and through the travel of staff and panel members, we have had the opportunity to observe, first-hand, the growing impact of STI in Africa. We have also been privileged to meet the authors from the volume and many others who are struggling to bring ICT to their institutions and countries. The authors included in this volume are not the only successful ICT project managers in Africa and the panel regrets that it had neither the time nor the resources to bring more success stories to light. We hope that the NCR can salute additional projects in future volumes of case studies. In the meantime, we trust that those bridge builders whose work is not described in this volume will be encouraged to share their activities with us and with others in their countries who can benefit from their experiences. This volume would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the authors themselves. They patiently wrote, rewrote, answered questions, and brought their contributions to the standards demanded of them. The editorial review committee, which I also chaired and which was composed of panel members Nancy Hafkin, Theo Mlaki, G.B. Alabi, and Alex Tindimubona, gave much of their time to read drafts of the studies and make queries of the authors. Their knowledge of the field and their expertise on the situation in Africa have been invaluable. As chair of the Advisory Panel, I wish to acknowledge the Carnegie Corporation of New York, whose generous support of this project made this volume possible. Realizing that information and communication technologies could only be tools of empowerment for those who had access to them, Carnegie helped to "jumpstart" the information revolution in Africa by supporting many of the projects described in Bridge Builders. By supporting small pilot and demonstration projects, Carnegie has helped innovative project managers overcome the social, technical, political, and economic barriers to introducing new ideas and technologies. I also wish to acknowledge the leadership role of the Office of International Affairs (OIA) of the National Research Council. Since 1989, they have been helping donors, policy-makers, and project managers realize the benefits and problems associated with the introduction of information and communication technologies. Through this and proceeding projects, they have encouraged the Advisory Panel and others to study many aspects of STI activities and to concentrate on the role information and communication services can play in decreasing scientific isolation and in improving the effectiveness of scientific research. Most of all the OIA, through this Advisory Panel, and Carnegie have proven that small projects can have a big impact. Projects that encourage the process of learning, familiarize users with computers and other information technologies, and demonstrate the use of these technologies in an everyday setting often have a greater impact than large projects that tax scarce resources.

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--> Finally, on behalf of the Advisory Panel, I want to give particular thanks to several OIA staff members. First, our appreciation goes to Pamela Gamble, who made sure everyone arrived at the writing workshops when they were supposed to be there and who handled all other logistical concerns with grace, good humor, and her usual efficiency. We also want to thank Wendy White, the NRC program officer who assisted the Advisory Panel throughout its activities. Her knowledge of the African STI environment and the people involved, combined with her sensitivity to the African context, has been invaluable to the work of the panel and, in particular, to the completion of this volume. Her willingness to share her expertise and to provide moral support to all involved goes far beyond the line of duty. Together, the Advisory Panel members, the case study authors, and the OIA staff have a broad understanding of STI, an appreciation for the unique opportunities and challenges in Africa, a thorough knowledge of ongoing STI activities, and a demonstrated commitment to create an enabling environment within which African STI networks can flourish. Their wisdom, vision, and dedication are reflected in this report. John B. Black, Chairman Advisory Panel

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--> Contents     INTRODUCTION   1     CASE STUDIES ON THE INTRODUCTION OF CD-ROM TO UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES   11     The CD-ROM Service for the University of Dar es Salaam, by John M. Newa,   13     CD-ROM for Health Information in Zimbabwe, by Helga Patrikios,   27     Background Summary: African Index Medicus Project,   45     Communications for Better Health Project in Zambia, by Regina Shakakata,   47     CASE STUDIES ON DESKTOP PUBLISHING   63     Desktop Publishing at the University of Zimbabwe, by Xavier F. Carelse,   65     Desktop Publishing at the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, by Albina Kasango,   85     Environmental Publishing Network—ENVIRONET at ICIPE Science Press, by Agnes Katama,   95     Innovations in Desktop Publishing at the African Academy of Sciences, 1989–1992, by Alex R. Tindimubona,   109

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-->     CASE STUDIES ON ELECTRONIC NETWORKING   121     Electronic Networking for the Research Community in Ethiopia, by Lishan Adam,   123     Networking in West Africa, by Moussa Fall,   141     Background Summary: SatelLife and HealthNet,   153     MUKLA: Evolution of a Homegrown Network in Uganda, by Charles Musisi ,   157     The UNIMA Fidonet Network: Computer Networking for Communications in Malawi, by Paulos Nyirenda,   177     Background Summary: A Global Computer Network for Change,   189     Bringing the Internet to Zambia, by Neil Robinson,   191     CASE STUDIES ON THE COLLECTION, MANAGEMENT, AND DISSEMINATION OF LOCAL INFORMATION RESOURCES   215     NAPRECA and Its Role in the Dissemination of Information on Natural Products Research in Africa, by Ermias Dagne,   217     A Socioeconomic Development Information System for Botswana, by Stella Monageng,   233     KEMRI's Management Information System, by James N. Muttunga,   247     The Ghana National Scientific and Technological Information Network Project, by John A. Villars,   259     CONCLUSION   273     APPENDIXES     A   List of authors   281 B   List of acronyms and abbreviations   283 C   Glossary   285