Our interest in Information, Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Behaviour (IKAPB) as a way to frame development grew during the 1990’s. However it was about 2000 when we added the term Landscapes. In a competitive bid in 2001 DFID asked “How the emerging Information and Communication Technology will change the poverty landscape?”. We later found out that while most responses were on ‘Technology’, our bid was focused on the social factors that drive behaviour – and that’s why we won it.
So began a series of research into how low income households in Africa and Asia were beginning to use Mobile Phones and Telecentres (as they were called back then!). From that research we found the airtime transfer behaviour that led to us Championing Mobile Money transfer. That story is about to be told more fully than ever before in an IDS Research Bulletin in September 2012 – however at the moment we cant repeat the text without disrupting the peer reviewed journal process!
However in essence the storyline is that by stepping back and looking at the IKAPB Landscape we saw emerging changes in behaviour, and were able to reinforce them and support them. To the point where we think the financial landscape of Africa has been significantly changed.
We also started to step back and write to that larger question. In the Guidelines for Pro-poor ICT for the OECD we painted the bigger picture. We hope to revisit that paper in the coming months, ten years on, and see what has changed, whether our ‘future think’ was reasonable and where might the next ten years take us.
As a result of those particular successes, we now feel that ‘IKAPB Landscapes’ is one of our special interests.
IKAPB Health Landscape
We recently gained an ESRC/DFID research grant alongside IDS, where we will be looking at the Health Information Seeking Behaviour of the Bangladesh Rural poor. There are many emerging mHealth and eHealth initiatives but our experience with Mobile Money suggests that instead of working to solve a particular health problem with an app or device, someone needs to step back and see what are the patterns of KAPB among the rural poor with Health Information Seeking. Is there a pattern, like the airtime swapping of old in Africa, that can be supported by changes in the system. Do households refer to particular networks for their health information and if so then how could ICT support that natural existing information flow?
IKAPB Policy Landscape
We have also been involved with ‘IKAPB Landscapes’ in the policy arena. As part of our cooperation with IDS that has a team specifically looking at the research to policy arena, we have overseen a set of six country studies that have taken a view on the information ecosystem of policy actors. And with other projects we are mapping stakeholders and more importantly stakeholder IKAPB.
Finally, there are two other ‘IKAPB Landscapes’ that we have been involved with – one is the role of Faith based organisations in the lives of people. Although this mainly focuses on HIV it has recently expanded to the roles of child sponsorship and “Church Community Change” a participatory process for getting churches to engage with poverty solving in their communities. Both of these now have substantial IKAPB studies and surveys and we are thinking we can now step back and look at the wider Faith Based ‘IKAPB Landscapes’.
The second is drawn from our energy work and is in Low Carbon Development. We had a series of work on energy since our start in 1989, and we have a good track record of supporting renewable energy initiatives. However, the ideas of Climate Change have now created an urgency that we think we can contribute to. Our next step is to undertake an Low Carbon ‘IKAPB Landscape’ in a developing country (Funding source yet to be determined).