Adopting a people-centred approach to digital technology: Hannah McCarrick

Grantham Scholar Hannah McCarrick co-facilitated a workshop in September 2023 with more than 50 leaders from Tanzanian NGOs, in Kizimkazi, Zanzibar together with technology and education expert Natalie Denmeade.

During the engaging two-hour workshop, the group delved into the world of digital access and the Principles for Digital Development. The central message was: it’s people, not technology, that should be at the heart of any digital development initiative. In the context of Zanzibar, participants explored how NGOs can adopt a people-centred approach to digital technology, building off findings from Hannah’s research funded by the Grantham Centre.

A poster outlining the Principles for Digital Development in Swahili, the first translated version developed for this workshop.

During the participatory workshop the NGO leaders participated in group discussions and hands-on activities, equipping workshop participants with valuable tools for their future endeavours. As part of the workshop preparation, Hannah also created the first copies of the tool-kit Principles for Digital Development in Swahili language, which will be made available to NGOs.

Part of the tool kit developed for the participatory exercises in the workshop, where participants learned, shared and analysed the importance of an intersectional approach to understanding peoples digital realities in Zanzibar. The cards (created by Hannah) show (imaginary) people with varying social characteristics such as age, gender, geographical position, socio-economic status, marital status, care responsibilities which were used as examples during small-group discussions.

More about Hannah’s research

Hannah McCarrick’s research focuses on the use of ICT technologies for improving Tanzanian small-holder farmers’ soil management. Hannah also gave us an interview a while ago in which she explained how digital tech impacts Tanzanian farmers. And how being a mum – with young twins along for fieldwork on the farms – improved her research. You can listen to the highlights from this interview in this short audiogram.


The main image shows Hannah together with NGO leaders who participated in the workshop.
Credit for all images: Hannah McCarrick