Base Domain

In this section, the developmental objectives of the community are determined within its particular political and cultural context. To do that, an integrated analysis is done of the distinctive micro and macro factors that determine the prevailing cultural systems.

At this point the analysis must consider three aspects:
1. The available resources: These are the natural resources, technologies, skills, knowledge and capacities, access to education, sources of credit and social networks.
2. The resource context: Whatever limits or, conversely, provides access to and use of these resources, and what´s more, the political, economic and technological tendencies, events such as disasters, epidemics, permanent and transient social movements and seasonal cycles, productive factors and prices, etc.
3. The social environment: The political realities and institutions that affect the ways in which resources are used.

For this analysis, there are varying methods. One of them is known as "Sustainable Livelihoods,"8 which incorporates various analytical tools that allow for the identification of the aforementioned characteristics. But in general, any participatory appraisal methods that cover the mentioned areas can be applied.

To better illustrate this point, consider the problems of distributing agricultural products in Zambia. Despite the fact that farmers in this nation are considered to be the best in the world in the production of some products such as cotton, they face unscrupulous buyers who pay below the market price, taking advantage of the difficulties that grain producers encounter in finding adequate markets for new products. Once this problem was analyzed and understood as a development priority, mobile telephones (i.e., texting) were deployed to give farmers access to accurate market prices and buyers.9

In other words, the analysis performed in this area determines the development objective to be achieved and determines the context in which technology will be adopted. This, in turn, acts as a first filter in order to rule out or identify appropriate technological tools.

8 International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) offers several materials on sustainable livelihoods www.ifad.org

9 See Trading Commodities via SMS IFAD http://operations.ifad.org/web/guest/country/voice/tags/zambia/shemp