The internet and sustainable rural development

Development Policy04 Mar 2010Janelle Ward

While perusing the latest issue of a journal that I try to follow regularly (Information, Communication & Society), I came across a piece entitled “NGOs, the Internet and Sustainable Rural Development: The Case of Indonesia.” It was written by Yanuar Nugroho, a research associate at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, and published in February 2010.

Nugroho mentions the importance of sustainable rural development in Indonesia, and praises the role that NGOs have played in such development. At the same time, he points out that little research has examined how NGOS actually engage with the issue of sustainable rural development. Nugroho is interested in exploring this engagement by looking at how NGOs use internet technology.

His study uses surveys, in-depth interviews and a series of workshops from a total of 390 NGOs to uncover various strategies. One issue he touches on is networking: the research demonstrates a significant expansion of the Indonesian NGO network, both nationally and globally. He also finds that the internet plays an important role in building the NGO movement: Communication between global NGOs facilitates more awareness of the Indonesian situation and thus collaboration with Indonesian NGOs.

In conclusion, Yanuar Nugroho argues that such internet use has contributed to “the widening of organizational perspectives, expansion of organizational networks and thus the increase of organizational influences in the society, including in the furtherance of rural sector reform and development.”

Research like this is valuable in better understanding the role the internet plays in NGO communication. Like Nugroho says, such uses lend support to the case that the internet can be viewed as a tool for social reform and sustainable development.