The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU team awarded funding from UCL’s Grand Challenges 2021-2022 Special Initiative

10 February 2022

Congratulations to DPU's Amina-Bahja Ekman and Giorgio Talocci for receiving £10,000 from UCL’s Grand Challenges 2021-2022 Special Initiative.


The project, titled 'Connecting Digital Inequalities and Rural Poverty: The Case of Somaliland', will address the theme 'Place: Equality and Prosperity’

Internet and Communication Technology (ICT) is acknowledged to increase both the productivity and wellbeing of marginalised communities (Buthelezi et al, 2021). As such, access to digital communication and technology is identified as a measure of equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 9). Yet critical research on the concept of digital inequality tells of the causal relationship between categorical inequalities and their connection to the access and distribution of resources (Gilbert, 2010: Van Djik in Oyedemi, 2013: Buthelezi et al, 2021). 
In the case of Somaliland, the extent of categorical inequalities is also reflected in the context of geography, space, and place, as the various patterns of inequality and levels of social, economic, and political participation are indicative of their urban and rural conceptions, as well as the local dimensions of class, clan, and gender. 

Together with our partner the Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF) this award explores how the digital divide in Somaliland, through its relation to space, place, and power, as measures of connectivity, impacts the daily lives of those living in rural areas outside of the capital Hargeysa.