There is no research relating to the application of information and communications technology (ICT) to women’s businesses in coastal areas in Bengkulu. In order to achieve understanding of ICT and women in coastal areas, this research project is focused on coastal women entrepreneurs and their use of ICT.
This research was conducted in two phases; the first was at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, for two months (February-March 2012) and the second was in Bengkulu, Indonesia, for six months from April to September 2012.
The notion of ICT, poverty and women in coastal areas is central to this study. Women are often seen as lacking knowledge of ICT. Thus, an ICT role model is needed for the empowerment of women. In order for women to have access to ICT, they need to have relevant skills. Even though there are government poverty reduction programmes, women should realize that they can contribute to their family incomes through the use of ICT.
Another important thing is how women can make good use of natural resources. ICT is only an additional tool to expand women’s creativity in their products and distribution. These are important because sophisticated government poverty reduction programmes are not always meet with a desire by women to boost their family incomes.
I will use feminist Participatory Action Research (PAR). The main feature of this is the role of women and ICT in coastal areas. The key issues investigated in this PAR study are ICT programmes. Possible advantages and disadvantages for women using ICT in order to access markets will be explored, as will potential resources and problems for women living in coastal areas, affecting production and prices of fish products for them.
The resources used by women are fish, coconuts and other natural items. Several research questions have shaped the direction of this research, such as What problems do women face that could be solved by technology? How can women be involved in technology design to ensure their needs are met? and How does the dissemination of innovation apply to women in this coastal area? Based on earlier research and discussion, it is clear that this urgently-needed study will be significant in poverty reduction in families with women producers who have insecure incomes.
The expected outcomes of this study will enhance women’s knowledge of ICT and their skills in its use, and boost their ability to increase their profits. This activity is expected to have positive economic impacts, as a positive reinforcement of poverty reduction programmes through the use of ICT among women in coastal areas in Bengkulu.
24 July 2012