This picture captures many facets of ICTs in thin tech countries — countries in which high tech devices are present but the technological infrastructure is far from ubiquitous. It is a mockery of the goofy mix of modernity and tradition, since it is taken in the ancient court of the mwami, the traditional Burundian king, which is now a touristic site. So it is true and untrue, yet what makes it authentic is the fact that it is out of focus: a reminder to ICT missionaries of the often underestimated difficulty encountered by people unfamiliar with technology to use those devices “properly” — a single click is not necessarily a simple click.
Paolo Brunello is a PhD Candidate at the ICT4D Research Centre expected to defend his thesis before the end of 2014. He has been visiting PhD student at the NewMinE Lab, in Lugano, Switzerland from 2012 to 2013. Paolo holds an M.Sc. in Work and Organisation Psychology with a specialization in transnational virtual teams. He is an experienced trainer for corporate, NGOs and development projects, and has spent 5 years in Burundi, working in several ICT4Education projects. The last project he managed (2008-2009) has become the subject of his PhD research, which aims at understanding the consequences of the introduction of a computer labs in Burundian vocational secondary schools from an organisational psychology perspective as well as unearthing the different premises on ICTs held by the different stakeholders from an intercultural communication point of view. His ethnographic study is titled: "Broken premises: towards an intercultural understanding of bilateral co-operation in ICT for education in Burundi.