Information for Community Services (iCOMMS) is a research team within the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town.
Formed in 2011, the team's interdisciplinary group of researchers focus on understanding the use, application and impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in developing countries. Whilst ICTs have been advertised to offer great potential to improve the lifestyle of many, the iCOMMS Team works on analysing this in the context of under-resourced communities.
While the work falls broadly within the field of ICT4D, the research contribution lies more specifically in developing models for context-basd information system design and development, with a focus on supporting service delivery and local governance.
Governments rely on relevant and timeous information to deliver services, while citizens need accurate information to hold governments accountable for the services delivered. In short, better information leads to better decisions.
The iCOMMS Team is dedicated to developing context-relevant tools that support governments and their citizens, and decision-makers, to collect the information they require to deliver better services and to monitor policy implementations. The aims of the team are to identify, help develop, and implement low-cost and sustainable tools appropriate to rural communities in areas of:
- Improving water quality, health care and conservation.
- Supporting rural communities to access information.
- Promoting the use of open source software for the development of mobile applications.
- Attracting funding for and promoting studies in the field of ICT4D.
As an impartial research team, iCOMMS holds no vested interest in any of these technologies. It is uniquely positioned to experiment with various technologies, recommend the most appropriate options to governments and local authorities, and to facilitate between various stakeholders.