I was forwarded an article ("How has information technology changed your life?") from the BBC.Com web site a few days ago. The following is a quote from the article
"Technology can improve the lives of millions of the Earth's poorest people, according to UN chief Kofi Annan"
Sometimes people do not understand that technology are not always appropriate and it is not the solution to all problems. Being a futurist/technologist, you must be surprise to hear me say that. Although, in my opinion, knowing this fact is the first step of being a good technologist.
Indeed information is one way to empower individuals who may not know better; case in point the many of the people in the rural area of China. These information may not need to be delivered using technology at all. There is also the issue with government policies in these countries which prevents the free flow of information. It is in the advantage of the individuals in power to keep their people (citizens) in the dark; one way to keep control. The are also many human rights violations and massive disease control problems at these countries that the article is referring to.
The UN and the various [technology] companies who want to help; if that is what they really want to do, should gather together and focus on these issues first, before shoving new technology down the throats of the "so-called poor people of the world".
This sort of approach is very common among Asian companies, from my experience. They would come up with the products or services first and sell (market) them to the people (in the best of cases; the "target audience"), instead of figuring out what the "people (the target audience)" really need.