Capacities required and how to develop them
First and foremost, the main capacity needed for using ICT-enabled services and social media is basic knowledge of how to use the devices and navigate the internet. Advanced technical knowledge and computer skills are needed for hosting web portals, e-learning platforms, mobile app development, maintenance of tele-centres, and others.
Development of ICT applications needs situation-specific strategies. Awareness creation, needs-based, location-specific content creation, and inclusion of farmers in creating contents can go a long way in developing the relevant content. Also, specialised training on the use of ICTs and content development for employees can be helpful in increasing the quality of the services and glitch-free maintenance of the ICTs.
Partnership and maintenance: ICT projects can either be individually maintained by the host institution or handled in collaboration with other stakeholders depending on the application. While programmes for TV, radio, DVDs, social media, and mobile apps (mApp) can be produced by extension organisations or individuals, multi-stakeholder collaboration is very much necessary for mobile-based advisory services, web portals, e-learning platforms, expert systems, and decision-support systems.
Roles of stakeholders: Stakeholders in ICT projects may have multiple roles, the most important being hosting, content creation, maintenance, and funding. The type of ICT project determines the role of stakeholders involved. The host organisation also plays the role of facilitator to maintain collaboration among the stakeholders whenever needed.
The cost of developing and using ICTs varies greatly depending upon the infrastructure and scale of coverage. For applications like social media, the cost incurred may just be few US dollars for devices and data charges, while for complex applications like web portals, e-learning platforms, mobile apps, expert systems or decision-support system development, the cost may go up to several million US dollars. Capacity development activities and maintenance also require considerable cost. Some indicative costs for common requirements are: creating a basic website – US$300–2,000; content management system (CMS) integration – US$2,000–10,000; advanced web portals with added features may cost US$10,000– 60,000 depending on the design; maintenance of web portals also requires considerable cost. Expert systems may cost US$1,000–10,000 depending upon the design, software, and size of contents. mApp development can range from free of cost to US$70,000 or more depending on its architecture and features.