A celebration was held in Te Tumu today for Rieko Hayakawa, who will be graduating tomorrow with her PhD. She started her doctorate in Media and Communications with Vijay Devadas and completed in Pacific Islands Studies where she was supervised by Jenny Bryant-Tokalau.
Her topic, ‘Possibility of Telecommunication Universal Service in the Pacific Islands’ with case Studies of Vanuatu, PEACESAT and USPNet came out of Rieko’s work in the Pacific Islands for the Sasakawa Peace Foundation for whom she worked for 26 years. One of her important projects for Sasakawa was the establishment of USPNet funded by Japan which enabled the University of the South Pacific to continue its successful distance teaching programme across the Pacific islands.
Rieko has published several articles, book chapters and reports on her thesis topic and most recently presented her findings to a parliamentary committee in Japan. She will be making another presentation in Japan later this month, this time on maritime boundaries (which will be the subject of her second PhD, to be undertaken in Japan).
Rieko is the wife of Professor Glenn Summerhayes of Archaeology and Anthropology, and mother of 14 year old Kyuka.
This thesis is about the meaning of telecommunication for the remote islands and rural areas in the Pacific Islands through the application and assessment of the ‘Capability Approach’, developed and used by Amartya Sen in his book of “Development as Freedom”. This research also makes a major contribution to the study of ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development) and development of telecommunication of the Pacific Islands, through an examination of the historical background of communication, through case studies of Vanuatu, and PEACESAT with USPNet. In the Pacific thousands of small islands are scattered in the vast Ocean that occupies a third of surface of the Earth. Each small island is distant from the major economic centres and has a small population. Due to the economical scale of them and western colonization policy many islands did not have telecommunication service for a century after telecommunication was developed in the 19th century. In the 1970s during the cold war period, those islands had an opportunity to use free second-hand satellite from the United States and could provide higher education services and Fisheries management. In the 2000s deregulation and competition was introduced to the Pacific Islands Countries and finally Universal Service (which provided telecommunication service to the whole population) was achieved in some of PICs, such as Vanuatu.
What has been the impact of Universal Service in these countries? This study presents the result of my research in measuring the capability of ICT users, policymakers and providers, by undertaking interviews in Vanuatu using the ‘storytelling approach’. Results of this field research tell us about the dynamism of development relevance and people using ICT to magnify their Capability. Other case studies tell us that Capability does not belong to technology but to people and their will.