Author Archives: ICTworks

Apply Now: 3.3 Million GBP for M4D Innovations in Access to Basic Utilities

Of the 1.2 billion people who lack basic energy access around the world, 772 million are covered by mobile networks. Similar figures exist for water and sanitation, as 289 million of those lacking access to drinking water, and 2.4 billion people without improved sanitation facilities are covered by mobile networks. The GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund awards grants to mobile operators, innovators and service providers to trial or scale commercially sustainable solutions that leverage mobile to directly improve access to basic utilities for underserved consumers. The GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund is now open for applications!

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If You Are Still Collecting Data on Paper, You Are Wasting Everyone’s Time

Way back in 2001, Satellife pioneered the use of PDA’s for health-related data collection in Uganda and Kenya. In the 15 years since, Satellife became the TechLab at FHI 360 and mobile data collection has become routine and easy with Open Data Kit, countless derivatives, and a whole plethora of companies dedicated to delivering seamless mobile data collection as a service. Yet, there are still people advocating for paper-based surveys and projects that actually send out enumerators with questionnaires and clipboards. Why? Here are five reasons why you are wasting everyone’s time if you are still collecting data on paper.

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Innovations to Accelerate Universal Internet Adoption

Mobile and internet services have the power to transform lives, offering life-enhancing financial, health, and many other services, as well as the simple ability to express oneself to one’s family and community. Yet millions of people in emerging markets lack access to these services, and even those who have access often do not adopt services, because of constraints arising from limited affordability, perceived value, and ability to use the services. The resulting access and adoption gaps threaten to exacerbate existing economic and social inequities facing low-income, rural communities in emerging markets, particularly among women and girls. The Market Alone Will Not Deliver The market alone will not close the access gap. Over time, industry investment in mobile and fixed networks in the developing world may increase and extend existing network coverage, but will likely not expand to connect marginalized populations in unconnected and under-connected geographies because of the high capital and operational costs and low profit potential.

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Showcase Your Resilience Innovation with The Rockefeller Foundation

Are you using digital technology to help individuals, families, communities, businesses or governments in Asia adapt to shocks and chronic stresses? If so, we want to hear from you by March 24th. FHI 360 is working with The Rockefeller Foundation, in association with the Global Resilience Partnership, to identify potential digital technology innovations that may have a positive impact on resilience outcomes in Asia. We’re interested in the whole range of digital technologies, from mobile-based communications, to sensor technologies, gaming, big data applications, and beyond. Basically, if it uses any form of digital technology, we’re interested.

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Universal Internet Access for the Next Four Billion

Despite remarkable increases in connectivity over the last decade, less than half of the world’s population currently has access to the Internet. For the development community, it is increasingly clear that the digital divide is becoming a development divide that, if left unaddressed, could substantially increase inequities both between and within countries. The vast majority of the unconnected are the urban poor, marginalized groups, and rural communities—precisely the groups the development community is most trying to assist, and those who will risk falling even further behind if left without access. Recognizing the growing importance of access to the Internet as foundational to global socioeconomic development, the international community has begun to focus more attention on the issue, through both new strategic initiatives and ambitious targets such as that of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve universal access by 2020.

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Stop Funding Data for Superman Systems!

The data revolution is well upon us, with the total data produced doubling every two years. Organizations are processing of an over-abundance of data using a variety of collection and statistical interpretation approaches and machine learning algorithms to bring transformative insights to a range of industries. From self-driving cars, precision agriculture, and personalized marketing to proving early warning signals for global conflict, new innovations dependent on data have the power to fundamentally reshape society. This has led to a gold rush in companies finding ways to monetize the opportunity. In line with this, a wave of innovation in applying methods for local data collection in emerging and frontier markets is unfolding daily.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Ebola, Financing, Infectious Disease, Policy & Systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Top Books Read by Youth on Mobile Devices

At Worldreader, we love using data to help our readers find books they not only want to open but love to read. That’s why this year, when thinking about our top books, we decided to focus on the books that drew people in and kept them reading. One of our biggest challenges at Worldreader is that we work with a wide range of readers who hail from Lagos to Delhi and everywhere in between. These different readers naturally have different tastes and needs but the similarities are sometimes the most striking. Regional Reading Tastes Our preschoolers and their parents in Delhi tended to like beautifully illustrated, fanciful tales like the The Talkative Tortoise, a bilingual Hindi-English picture book.

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The Digital Development Glossary: Your Key to ICT4D Buzzwords

Have you wondered what the latest jargon in technology and development means? Or if you are using it correctly in your next proposal or donor report? Well here is your techie term decoder! Below I’ve compiled a list of key terms, acronyms, and buzzwords that come up in ICT4D discussions, along with simple non-technical overviews and some relevant links for further information.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Environment, General Global Health, ICT4D, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

8 ICT4D Recommendations for iNGOs Working in Eastern Africa

Transformative successes have been achieved by those harnessing information and communication technologies (ICT) for development (ICT4D), and yet many people still lack access to ICT, and there is a sense that more needs to be done to understand how technology can best support humanitarian and development initiatives. In January 2016, Oxfam commissioned research to explore these issues in the Horn, East and Central Africa (HECA) region, where there is a burgeoning technology scene and numerous development projects incorporating ICT. The objectives of the research were: to explore what actors in the region consider good and bad practice; to ask where they see the most interesting opportunities in the future; and to bring this together in a form that informs the role of iNGOs using ICT4D, especially in the HECA region. Digital Development: What is the role of international NGOs? provides the analysis and key lessons from this research, including recommendations for Oxfam and other iNGOs on the use of ICT.

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How to Help Community-Based mHealth Programs Collect High-Quality Data

As health programs are relying more on decentralized models of care, mHealth has made it easier to collect, manage and store community-level health data. This data can feed into national health information systems and be used to inform decision making for improved service delivery at the community level. But how can we ensure that our community-based mHealth programs are collecting accurate, high-quality data that will help us deliver the right services to the right places at the right time? We at MEASURE Evaluation have developed the mobile community based health information system (CBHIS) data quality assessment toolkit to allow programs and projects to rapidly assess the ability of their mobile data systems to collect, manage, and report high-quality community-based data. We recently had the opportunity to present our toolkit for the first time to a group of participants at the MERL Tech Conference.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, eHealth, General Global Health, mHealth, Monitoring & Evaluation, Research, Technology | Tagged | Comments closed

How to Hire Local National ICT4D Staff

Kabul, 2016. I’d been here before: a cold cup of Nescafe and stack of overly formatted CVs on the table next to me, an over-worked HR officer slow-blinking at me from across the room in subtle panic. Of the 35 CVs in the stack, culled from hundreds submitted online, only two had any mention of ICT experience—the rest were full of network engineering degrees, Oracle and Microsoft certifications, and years and years of experience managing IT networks and project systems. If I had been looking to hire IT staff, I would have been spoiled for options—but I wasn’t. I was trying to hire an ICT officer, and it was almost impossible

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How IoT Early Warning Systems Can Help Save People From Mudslides

Floods and mudslides regularly devastate El Salvador. Villagers can identify impending floods and mudslides, but they are unable to warn others in time. Rugged terrain, lack of power and cellular networks present a formidable communication challenge. Reacción, a team of El Salvadorian experts in electronics, community development and disaster relief, decided to do something about it.

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Can You Guess the 5 Key Traits of Sustainable ICTforAg Programs?

The proliferation of mobile phones among rural households in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana has seen a significant increase of digital information solutions for farmers. The AGRA financial inclusion team identified 150+ different ICT solutions in these countries that allow farmers to access information on market prices, good agronomical practices, and weather updates. However, research from GSMA, CTA, and Mercy Corps found that many of these solutions do not sustain beyond the life of an award or a typical three-year donor project due to flawed business models. To find out what does work, AGRA commissioned How to Grow and Sustain the Digital Harvest?

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4 Requirements for Technology Project Sustainability

I am often called in to help when a technology project has gone awry. For example, once a partner organization gifted a network-attached storage server (NAS) to a local development organization to help them automatically backup their computers. They did a good technical installation, with all the right electrical wiring and computer configurations, but only provided brief, 1 day training to the local technical support person, whose primary role was laptop support. They were then surprised and dismayed a year later to discover the NAS sitting in a back room unplugged and unused. Why

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