I just came across a really excellent post by Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier: “A List of Completely Wrong Assumptions About Technology Use in Emerging Economies“. If you have anything to do with using digital tools in a development context, I highly recommend you read this post. Though, of course, the problem is not limited to using web tools:
Not far from where I live, an organization that shall remain nameless installed two massive water tanks, which are supposed to serve a community. And to make things easier, this organization installed an electric pump that uses solar power. Unfortunately, what might have sounded like a great idea is completely useless in reality, because the solar panels never made it through their first rainy season and there is nobody who could repair or maintain them – today the tanks are completely dry and empty.
So yes, technology is great and can be sexy, but it has to be appropriate to the context and you have to make sure that you train people in their use so that they can continue to use and maintain it.