MSc colloquium by Mirthe Boerdijk:The role of ICT in public bad governance

Published on
August 14, 2018

You are hereby cordially invited to the MSc thesis presentation by Mirthe Boerdijk entitled 'The role of ICT in public bad governance: the case of malaria in Ruhuha, Rwanda'. 

  • Supervisor: Dr Katarzyna Cieslik
  • 2nd Examiner: Prof. Art Dewulf
  • Date: August 30, 2018
  • Time: 13.00 – 13.30 hours
  • Location: room C84, Leeuwenborch


Several countries in Sub-Sahara Africa are currently experiencing a resurgence of malaria, among which Rwanda witnessed a particularly sharp increase in reported cases from an estimated 225,176 cases in 2011 to 1,598,055 in 2014. My research explores the role that ICTs might play in malaria prevention and control. It builds on a broad body of literature that scrutinizes the potential of ICTs to strengthen health systems by improving service delivery and quality as well as through the general communication function.

In my thesis, I chose Ruhuha sector in Rwanda as a strategic site to illustrate the many ways in which ICTs – and in particular, mobile phones – can strengthen the capacity of the health system. In recent years, the government of Rwanda has implemented a number of enabling policies and interventions in an effort to integrate technology in the health system. My study reveals that apart from the strategic ICT-based health interventions, mobile phones already play a crucial role in malaria prevention by facilitating awareness raising, improving the information flows within and between the stakeholder groups and strengthening the implementation of community-level malaria prevention rules. This was done by conducting an exploratory study consisting of semi-structured interviews with 32 actors from the community, district, and national level.

The contribution of my study is two-fold. First, my multi-level analysis sheds light on the existing means and rules concerning malaria prevention and control as well as their perceived efficacy. I find that communication – and lack of thereof - plays a vital role in influencing the stakeholder framing of the disease. This includes both face-to-face and mobile phone based communication. Second, my findings further look at Elinor Ostrom’s theory of collective action. I argue that malaria can in fact be perceived as a public bad and analyse the role of ICTs in facilitating people’s compliance with Ostrom’s design principles.