June 23-24 – San Salvador – RSVP Now Over the past decade, mobile Internet access has rapidly expanded across Central America to cover nearly 90% of the population. This incredible reach has the potential to drive economic growth and radically transform development – the Inter-American Development Bank calculates a 10% increase in Internet use in Latin America produces a 2.6% increase in productivity. Development actors are already using digital technology to tackle some of the region’s most difficult challenges. For example: Throughout Central America, DAI’s “Coffee Cloud” app helps farmers and agricultural decision makers adapt to climate change by offering daily and seasonal forecasting for coffee crops and reports outbreaks of diseases such as coffee rust. In Honduras, youth are using GPS devices to map public buses in Tegucigalpa, creating the first public bus maps to improve transportations routes and reduce crime.
Author Archives: ICTworks
The Washington DC conference ‘Digital Development: from Principle to Practice’ was a great opportunity for organisations to compare how they’re delivering aid programmes based on the 9 Digital Principles. There’s been a lot of interest in the Department for International Development’s (DFID) approach to digital and how we’re putting the Principles into practice. During my attendance at the conference I gave a lightning talk on our approach. In the spirit of openness, I’m sharing here the main points I made. Good practice for digital projects DFID is required by UK government rules to assure all digital and ICT spend.
Smartphones and tablets offer an increasing array of applications and services that can be useful in our daily lives and work. Data collection, an important part of Plan’s work across the world, is no exception. There are several apps available now which allow an organisation to send out a digital questionnaire to the phone or tablet of their field staff, who can then collect responses and upload them to a central server. As with many digital services, this promises gains in efficiency and speed, and even accuracy and quality of the data collected. Digital Data Collection in Plan – A review of current practice and lessons learned, commissioned by Plan Finland and conducted by independent consultants, aimed to explore the current uses of digital data collection tools in Plan, to tease out the lessons learned from adoption and implementation, and the benefits and challenges of transition from paper-based to digital data collection processes.
Last week, everyone’s favorite frenemy – Facebook – held its annual developer conference in Silicon Valley. Waving our ICT4D flag in the crowd, Souktel had a front row seat – and a first-hand look at the event’s key takeaways. Between sessions on monetizing ads and optimizing Instagram, one topic kept surfacing: Chatbots. And, more surprisingly, open source chatbots.
Currently it is estimated that there are 4.6 million Syrian refugees; 6.6 million displaced persons inside Syria. Of these, half are children. In March, Technology Salon Amman brought together people working in education and technology to discuss how technology can support education throughout a Syrian child’s journey. Please RSVP now for the next Technology Salon Amman! As was noted throughout the discussion, war and displacement may not be the only crises related to the education system in the Middle East – where, some argued, despite major advances in getting kids into school, education has largely failed to prepare kids for the labour market and has at times failed to inspire them to positively contribute to their communities.
The world is currently producing unprecedented amounts of digital data, as well as unprecedented growth in digital connectivity. These trends enable new ways of utilizing digital data to better understand the real-time needs of communities in order to help them increase their collective and individual resilience. Making the most of this opportunity to build resilience and end extreme poverty is one of the world’s biggest challenges. It requires creative thinking and new partnerships. Please RSVP now to join entrepreneurs, innovators, development organizations, technology providers, donors, and governments for a two-day Harnessing the Data Revolution for Resilience Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on May 10th and 11th, 2016.
An estimated 1.5 billion people live in rural households engaged in smallholder agriculture. These smallholder farmers face tremendous challenges in improving their livelihoods, including limited or no access to value-creating services and resources and branchless banking. Digital mobile finance technologies using mobile money platforms have demonstrated the potential to unlock some of that lost value. Understanding this opportunity is a focus of the upcoming ICTforAg Conference on new technology for smallholder value chains. Please register now to attend.
One challenge with the Principles of Digital Development is explaining them to non-techie staff, which often make many decision that effect how ICT tools are deployed in field programs. At the Digital Development: From Principles to Practice Forum, I had the privilege of sharing one solution to this problem: DAI’s ICT Innovation Corps. The ICT Innovation Corps is an intensive internal staff-training program DAI developed with two main objectives: To equip non-ICT4D staff with the approaches, tools and understanding to identify opportunities for ICT interventions in their own work; To ensure non-ICT4D staff has a basic understanding of key Digital Principles such as user-centered design, ecosystem awareness and designing for sustainability. The Innovation Corps came out of a persistent challenge that those of us on DAI’s ICT team faced: we were overbooked and disheartened. Traveling around the world supporting projects and in-country teams, the team was exhausted and mindful that rarely do the best ICT4D interventions come out of such fly-in/fly-out situations.