In my life, there isn’t a single day that I don’t wish for something to be different; the wishes at times are really big and are mostly around the situation in the city that I live in, the restrictions, the climate and a few people that I love. However, the only times that I get in to trying to think of how a wish could be turned in to a glance of reality is often when the wishes are smaller and related to machines, systems, and generally technology.
I have lost a lot of things throughout the last few months, a wallet in an airport or the car keys in a restaurant mostly every few days. That being said; probably the only time that I felt like I have done the biggest blunder of my life was when I lost my passport. If you are an Afghan and living in Afghanistan you would easily understand that it isn’t easy to get a new one and it could take a few months. Times as these are also the times that I feel like there is so many people like me can do to make lives easier for not only ourselves but also for all the people around here.
Although I wouldn’t claim that I and the thousands of other citizens just like me are any different. However, we do have the capabilities of making things work, beautiful and at times easier. A small app in the passport department could get rid of queues or give priority to a patient who needs to travel to India for treatment and a better chance to live. Cynics may say the ground realities are much harder and that bringing changes in any system is the hardest thing to do, but a few brilliant people and I have come to know that in this sector there are not much positive either; the difference may be that we just aren’t shy to give it a try and at times we do see a little improvement that makes us to follow on, which occasionally leads to success.
Afghanistan is developing, thriving and at times failing and so is our technology sector. A few individuals including myself collectively formed ITRCA (Information Technology Research Center for Afghanistan) and we have these wishes just like the many people who live here.
With ITRCA we are going to partner with anyone; mainly in the ICT sector to do high-end research, students who pursue their dissertations on Afghanistan can write/share, gather, publish and at times share write-ups just like the one here. I believe if we develop this idea further together; we are the stronger. To further add to that, I believe that if we do have analytical research/ideas as the backbone of the many implementations that we will be having in this country in the many years to come in any sector: be that Agriculture, Rural Development, Infrastructure or Telecom, those ideas could be transformed in to realities. ITRCA will be trying to promote the culture of writing, researching and backing up what we say with facts. We will be non-profit, open to everyone for sharing, discussing and importantly learning. We will be holding remote sessions, live sessions with guest experts, promoting ideas. We are planning to partner with other organizations hopefully, doing high-scale research throughout Afghanistan and not just on ICT, but its further role in many areas until we start transforming those little wishes into realities.
About the Author: Nasrat is an ICT innovation activist currently working with one of the leading development donors in Afghanistan. He was previously engaged with international NGOs, implementing partners, public sector and has succeeded throughout a startup. Nasrat’s work focuses on the economic and social impacts of new technologies and development of ideas on how technology could be used in fragile and developing states such as Afghanistan. His education mostly focused on computer networks, development and management. Contact him with @NasratKhalid in all major social networks.