Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The era of ICT with the aged in Tanzania
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are inevitably coming up world wide and forcing changes in life, speeding up almost everything.
The world is becoming a busier place than ever, while time is getting scarcer and scarcer, leaving us with a question on what role ICT plays saving time, for as we go ahead with further technological advancements, we seem actually to have less and less time.
In Tanzania the use of ICTs is rising. They are mainly enjoyed by the young people mostly where the elders are getting in trouble. In banking ATMs (auto teller machines) it is needs a heart of compassion to line up behind an old aged fellow.
When aged people approach an ATM, they are always in wonder. They don't know where to place the ATM card. If they succeed, they don't see where to enter their PIN number, how to select various choices etc. They stare at the machine for ages until a young person decides to help them with what is supposed to be a secret transaction.
Mr. Ivan Muganga, explained how he one day spent 45 minutes in the ATM room helping four old people to get their money. The question is, how will these aged fellows cope when enough ATMs are introduced in Tanzania, that are capable of transferring money. Will their transactions be safe? Young people who are not faithful might use these weaknesses to remit amounts to other accounts; it will take a long time to trace them or even to convict them.
On the side of improved mobile phones, it is a bigger challenge where elders can never use these tools efficiently. It is a normal case to meet an old person asking you to help with reading an SMS from his / her mobile phone. They either don't know how to open it leave aside replying back, or their eyes can't see what is written clearly. It also depends on compassion with the help not to run away with the device or to transfer credit to another mobile phone.
TV sets, computers and the internet are revealing it all. In most of the African cultures, elders know every thing. Every truth, wisdom was to go hand-in-hand with age, so a white haired person had wide knowledge, wealth and all wisdom. He/she used to curse as a sign of possessing some secret spirits, but in this ICT era, it is no longer so. TV, computers and the internet have turned things upside down. Every wisdom, and all knowledge is displayed on TV if not being downloadable on the internet.
Elders look like cartoons in front of youngsters. Whatever they utter as wisdom, someone will do a search and check it out. An elder may be scared of cursing a youngster, because after googling it, the youngster will come back laughing, looking at the elders like he or she is a fool since nothing like that can happen.
Wealth is online since e-commerce and e-business were introduced, so the aged rely on the younger for their livelihoods. Lets also change our leadership to the young ones who know how to side with this world.