#TBT Thesis Proposal

#TBT Thesis Proposal

This paper discusses the role of mobile phones in improvement of rural livelihoods the rural urban area of Ruiru.

Access to and use of mobile phones has increased dramatically over the past decade. Mobile phone subscriptions in sub Saharan Africa has increased by 49 percent annually between 2002 and 2007 compared to 17% in Europe in the same duration.

Mobile telephony has brought new possibilities to the continent and facilitates communication across urban–rural and rich–poor divides; mobile phones connect individuals to individuals, information, markets, and services.

This thesis will show how mobile phones contribute to improved rural livelihoods. It will also show how a mobile phone creates a supply chain of information; increases people’s ability to acquire new knowledge; maximize the outcomes of necessary expenses; increase temporal accessibility; and amplify efficiency of stocks.

The use of mobile phones also reduces costs of doing business and increases productivity by helping rural traders and farmers to secure better markets and prices; and promptly communicate business-related information.

It will be possible to prove that mobile phones contribute to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty by providing rural households with fast and easy modes of communication, thereby increasing their ability to access livelihood assets, undertake diverse livelihoods strategies, and overcome their vulnerabilities.

There is evidence of the contribution of mobile phones to market information for agriculture and livestock produce, more farmers say that mobile phones have enhanced (improved or greatly improved) their ability to access such market information

In the rural-urban area of Ruiru as in the rest of rural Africa, where in many places mobile phones have represented the first reliable modern telecommunications infrastructure of any kind, mobile phones have greatly reduced communication costs, thereby allowing individuals and firms to send and to obtain information quickly and cheaply on a variety of economic, social, and political topics. Individual are therefore better placed to make better decisions concerning their livelihoods.

New research shows that the reduction in communication costs associated with mobile phones has tangible economic benefits, improving agricultural and labor market efficiency and producer and consumer welfare in specific circumstances and countries.

An article in The Economist (2008) similarly reported: “A device that was a yuppie toy not so long ago has now become a potent force for economic development in the world’s poorest countries.”

This was a Thesis proposal (MA) for one of our staff members

Challenges faced with information management & management information

Challenges faced with information management & management information

Challenges faced with information management & management information

Organizations are confronted with many information management & Management information problems and issues. They include

  1. Technology
    The growth of electronic information rather than paper poses a major challenge. Keeping pace with the unprecedented speed of developments in the area of information and telecommunications directly affecting information has been a traumatic experience. New and sophisticated information management technologies are being invented everyday and most industries are having problems readjusting to the ever changing technological environment.On the other hand, at times abundance of money is spent on expensive technology and gadgetry that is not exploited to the greater benefit of organizations.  This is because information professionals the interdisciplinary knowledge needed for organizing and managing information activities in a broader context. Thus they cannot fully understand the information phenomenon and information highway trends.
  2. Use of outdated information systems
    Some programs are still working in the traditional manner. Due to lack of funding, slow action and reaction, and insufficient professional knowledge the information management field especially in developing countries as Kenya has lagged behind. Newly created information systems are often outdated by the time they are developed and implemented. It takes courage to radically cut and abandon existing inefficient practices. This then leads to situations in which scarce funds and precious time are wasted in fruitless discussions and endeavors.
  3. Inefficient and ineffective information centers
    All organizations and enterprises, regardless of the socioeconomic and political systems in which they operate, need enormous amounts of information and proper management. Many organizations and enterprises in third world countries suffer from inefficient and ineffective administration and exploitation of their information resources. They have no organized information centers or services of any kind and also suffer from a lack of suitably trained professional information manpower.The lack of appreciation of the role, functions and services of information centers has led to a situation in which organizations have no proper instruments to properly store and manage information.
  4. Lack of information management experts
    Dynamic and complex socioeconomic and technological changes have found many information professionals unprepared to react fast, adapt and take advantage of the developments in their field.They often lack the appropriate academic and professional background, their status is relatively low, exacerbating the situation.
    To think through what the business needs requires somebody who knows and understands the highly specialized information field. There is far too much information for any but specialists to find their way around.
    Most organizations continue to face serious information problems due to the lack of interdisciplinary knowledge required for an integrated approach to the complex information activities involved in every aspect of work and doing business.
  5. Little recognition and support of information management by senior management.
    As far as special libraries and information services are concerned, managers do not, as yet, recognize that locating, accessing, retrieving, processing and disseminating information are activities of great importance for the successful functioning of their organizations. Managers still tend to see the information center as a cost, rather than as a strategic, resource.They therefore compromise on proper handling of information leading to poor information management, which can have a negative impact on the organization and its programs.
  6. Poor quality of information
    It includes lack of consistency, duplication, and out-of-date information.  Information is bundled together without clear distinction which can be confusing. Moreover this can lead to information repetition and result to waste of time and resources which might have been used somewhere else. When information is not managed properly and professionally, information gaps are likely to occur leading to underperformance.
  7. Slow adoption of existing information systems by staff.
    Transition from old to new information system can pose a challenge especially when staff is reluctant to adopt the latest system. Familiarity with an existing information management system can make staff to continue using what they understand best which in most cases is their preference. Frequent trainings are therefore imperative I order to illustrate and demonstrate the benefits of the latest system. 

    Furthermore, the marketing of information services is poor. Even where fairly good information services exist, they are not well known and are not easily available to potential users.

  8. Limited resources for deploying, managing or improving information systems.
    Financial difficulties can be a huge barrier when managing information. Institutions may want to upgrade and adopt the latest information management systems but due to lack of finances, they are forced to continue using outdated systems which are slow and inefficient leading to ineffectiveness.
  9. Lack of appropriate information policies 

    Well-articulated information policies are lacking. Information policies at the national level are needed to define a framework for cooperation among the various agents in the information infrastructure of a country. At the micro level, organizations in these countries need information policies that will ensure consideration of all the factors relevant to the acquisition, flow and use of information, the development of strategic plans for information activities and appropriate information resources management.

  10. Lack of timely, relevant and reliable information. 

    Relevant information, whether internally generated or externally available, is still not tapped. Management and operational functions at both the macro and micro levels (in government and in private organizations) are performed without the benefit of timely, relevant and reliable information. In many organizations you find a great number of different information resources managed in a diffuse way.There are no vertical or horizontal connections and the resources are not applied in a synergistic way toward the fulfillment of strategic objectives.



Pejova, Zdravka “Information management problems and challenges in transition economies“. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science. FindArticles.com. 19 Sep, 2011. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3633/is_199604/ai_n8754966/

Copyright American Society for Information Science Apr/May 1996

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Robert D. Gallier and Dorothy E. Leidne (2009). Strategic Information Management: Challenges and Strategies in Managing Information Systems