Digital inclusion for children in the social context of HIV/AIDS awareness



Digital technology brings a new opportunity to develop education, culture, and knowledge in less-developed communities. Researchers deal with issues related to digital inclusion for indigenous communities since it can provide people with the chance of better communication and faster access to information in all formats. A research team with the International Visual Methodology for Social Change Project initiated the AIDS prevention and awareness program and aimed to effectively serve as a form of social and digital inclusion in underprivileged communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The significance of this project is highlighted by adopting digital technology and the engagement of children, youth, and students in playing active roles in addressing HIV and AIDS through the photovoice research method. This method teaches children and youth how to document their lives and activities in schools and within the community through photography. They are then asked to describe what they see on the photos and to share their thoughts and feelings relating to issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. In this way, more than 3000 photos have been collected from the rural areas, taken by the children and youth of this region. To build a digital archive, the project went through the followings: photo selection, a scanning protocol, a database protocol in Greenstone software program, metadata protocol, and web site development. We described the entire visual data set based on Dublin Core. Two additional elements for captions were added, one for comments by librarians or metadata managers and the other for users' personal comments related to a specific picture to further enhance their participation in the project. Rural communities face challenges in HIV/AIDS health care and education, and access to HIV/AIDS information is essential for the disease caregivers. Working together and understanding the social effects of digital inclusion is a key area of our research.