Information Technology in Environmental Engineering

Type Book Section - Contribution of Mobile Phones to Township Livelihood Outcomes in the Western Cape Province of South Africa
Title Information Technology in Environmental Engineering
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Publisher Springer
Over the past few years, poor communities in developing countries have increasingly come to use mobile phones. There are many ways in which mobile phones can contribute to livelihoods and quality of life among the poor in developing countries. Despite this, the relationship between mobile phones, livelihoods and the poor has not been sufficiently understood, partly due to mixed interpretations of the concepts of sustainable livelihoods and the poor and an inadequate understanding of the impact of mobile phones. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore the contribution of mobile phones to livelihood outcomes amongst the urban poor in South Africa. This study involved a questionnaire administered to 89 respondents from 4 townships in the Western Cape. Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework as a theoretical foundation, an analysis of the answers obtained found that mobile phones have a positive contribution towards the improvement of the livelihoods of township inhabitants. In respect of Social and Human Capital: improving relationships with relatives and friends, arranging social functions, obtaining assistance in cases of emergencies, cutting down travelling and transport costs and improving efficiency of daily activities. However, mobile phones were found to have played a minimal role in respect of Financial and Socio Political Capital, such as sending money, improving neighbourhood security, improving household income, and communicating with government.

Related studies