Author Archives: ICTworks

5 Ways to Harness Data and Technology for Disaster Response

When disaster strikes, real time updates about evolving crisis situations and information about those affected, including their needs and locations, are paramount to effective emergency response and better decision-making. Yet gathering essential data to provide rapid disaster relief involves many challenges ranging from security of aid workers to cultural barriers and difficulties in communication. Here are five was we can gather and analyze data faster and better for disaster response: 1. Social Media Platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, played a significant role in Nepal 2014 earthquake relief operations with tweets and hashtags used to gather and disseminate information about where aid is needed. UNOCHA together with Standby Task Force used tweets from Nepal to develop a crisis map of priority areas of where aid was needed

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Please Register Now for MERL Tech 2016

Please register now for MERL Tech 2016, the premier conference on the use of technology for monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning. Over 300 of your peers will experience 18 breakouts, 12 workshops, 10 lightning talks, and 6 keynotes to explore: How can we design for the full Data Lifecycle – planning, collection, storage, analysis, disposal – within limited operational budgets? What Responsible Data approaches and policies can we adopt to ensure that we  maintain high ethical standards and data security, while still being transparent and collaborative? When and how can Big Data, Open Data, and Real-Time Data support program objectives and begin to predict outcomes in time to impact decision making? What are the risks in these approaches?

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Mine Kafon Drone: The Best ICT4D Kickstarter Ever

There are over 100 million land mines worldwide, and 10 people a day are killed or maimed by them. De-mining them the current way – with humans scouting for them – is dangerous and very slow. But what if we could use drones to make the process 20 times faster, up to 200 times cheaper, and rid the world of abandoned minefields in 10 years?! That’s the idea behind Mine Kafon Drone the best ICT4D Kickstarter ever.

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Apply Now for $312,000 in ICT4D Grants for Africa and Asia

Finding seed funding to launch ICT4D projects isn’t easy, and we’d like to help! Here’s three grant opportunities and one award program that can bring new resources to your programs. Be sure to sign up to get emails about new grant opportunities as we find them. $250,000 Data Innovations Grants The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data has a new multi-million dollar funding initiative to support innovative collaborations for data production, dissemination linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Big Data Needs to be Open Data

  Big data. We hear about it regularly, but for someone who is a bit of a techno-slug, who moves at a slow pace of adoption, I wonder sometimes just where all this big data comes from and how it might be used in this case to enhance resiliency of farmers. Therefore, I was very interested in Dr. Debisi Araba‘s “Big Data—Dispatches from Nigeria,” presentation at the recent ICTforAg conference. Dr.

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We Must Answer 6 Open ICT4Education Questions to Have Real Impact

With years of experience in attempting to effect large scale educational change, using technology, I’ve come up with six “game changing” topics (and I don’t use the phrase lightly) we need to address in order to really make a difference. I hope you’ll join me in debating them now and during the upcoming 2016 mEduction Alliance International Symposium, “From Innovation to Impact,” to be held from October 18-20 in Washington D.C. 1: Which business models hold the promise to achieve massive scale? Affordability is a huge driver of sustainability, and without viable business models to achieve scale it is reasonable to believe that mEducation programs will not make it beyond the pilot phase. What are examples of business models that hold the promise to address the dire need for education at massive scale

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3 Recommendations to Scale Digital Health Interventions by Institutionalizing Them in Service…

The digital health community is on a journey to deliver health impact. We have achieved considerable success in the past decade, demonstrating that information and communication technology (ICT) can improve health services delivery in the developing world. Although our achievements implementing pilots should be celebrated, we must also acknowledge that digital health interventions are not yet routinely used as part of all global health service delivery and have not yet been proven to demonstrate large scale health impact. In The Journey to Scale, commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to motivate the digital health community to consider new approaches to scaling digital health interventions, we propose that digital health interventions will impact health outcomes significantly only when routinely used, or institutionalized, as a common practice in service delivery. When institutionalized, digital health interventions will provide frontline health workers with real-time, operational data affecting every conceivable part of the primary care continuum from ensuring adequate stock to checking lab reports to workforce training, thus addressing current capacity issues and improving quality of care.

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5 Reasons Why International Development Needs Content Strategy

International development organizations are full of smart, pragmatic people. But just as the rise of digital has disrupted public, private, and nonprofit organizations in other sectors, digital poses fundamental challenges to the international development community. In response, development organizations have often tried to improve project implementation through ad hoc ICT4D initiatives. Meanwhile, many of these same organizations have built digital properties and communication initiatives in silos to meet short-term needs.

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The Blind Spot of SMS Projects: Constituent Illiteracy

With the overwhelming optimism around mobile phone-based communication technologies, it is reasonable to ponder: Do literacy levels pose a serious limitation to SMS-based communication campaigns? Imagine the following scenario It is a busy Monday morning. You’re rushing to get breakfast on the table, to pack lunches for your kids, and to get everyone — including yourself — out the door. Your phone pings: You skim the SMS, and think to yourself… I don’t know why I’m getting a message in Spanish, I only read and speak English… Perhaps this afternoon I can ask my Spanish-speaking neighbor what this means?

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Crowdsourcing Food Security Status From South Sudan Satellite Imagery

The FEWS NET early warning system educates decision-makers who are responsible for creating and funding humanitarian response plans, and in December 2015, FEWS NET set out to identify populations of displaced persons in South Sudan and assess their food security. Individuals in South Sudan are constantly being displaced from their homes and livelihoods and left without a regular source of food or water. Previously, FEWS NET stated that Unity State, a region of South Sudan, suffered from a crisis level of food insecurity, but it wanted to obtain a more comprehensive assessment of the situation. FEWS NET needed to understand population migration in Unity State as it relates to food insecurity. FEWS NET turned to DigitalGlobe, which used their satellites to obtain high-resolution imagery of the region.

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How Smallholder Farmers Can Bank From the Farm With Digital Financial Services

Pioneered by mobile payment companies like Kenya’s M-PESA, digital financial services (DFS) offer banks and other financial providers the ultimate promise to reach billions of unbanked poor and rural customers. Yet pitfalls remain in the development and uptake of these services targeting smallholder farmers. At the ICTforAg 2016 conference in Washington, DC, four experts and practitioners shared their experiences with DFS challenges, and discussed emerging lessons and tools to overcome them. Promise Even in early stages, DFS-for-agriculture projects show farmers involved in trainings have consistently taken greater advantage of financial opportunities, as explained by Kate McKee of CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. Within a 2,800 farmer sample in Tanzania, for example, farmers who spent more time learning about DFS through a mobile application saved up to nine times more and borrowed more with the same repayment rate as their peers

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5 Tools for Secure Communications and Data Storage

Many local partner organizations that international development actors engage with face risks while operating in challenging – and sometimes dangerous – environments. Some civil societies now face push backs from their governments and confront a closing space to function in, while others operate in fragile states where violence hinders progress. My organization, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is no exception and we have partners in a range of countries in such circumstances – from Ukraine to Afghanistan – doing tremendous work to create a more sustainable democratic and economic communities. To support such organizations maneuver in difficult environments, the following are five mobile or online tools that could be used to strengthen the local organizations’ digital security. Be sure to suggest data security session ideas at MERL Tech 2016 and register now to participate on October 3-4, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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Fly a Drone, Go to Jail! The Precarious State of UAV Regulations in 5 African Countries

We are now seeing multiple uses of drones for development. Unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial robotics, whatever you want to call them, are now finding practical uses across the African continent. For example: Mapping flood zones in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Delivering blood supplies in Rwanda Catching car thieves and oil smugglers in Nigeria. Improving farming practices in Tanzania And new primary research from FHI 360 shows that community members are often welcoming of UAV technology when they are consulted on its usage and management.

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The Future Is Now: How to Write About ICT4Edu Accurately in 2016

After a year of conferences and education trade shows, I am convinced that my fellow technologists and development experts are not fully realizing the radical change that innovation, by which I mean technology, and of that, just digital communications, is metamorphosing education. We MUST radically change the way we report on ICT4Edu to mirror this metamorphosis! In today’s world, technology is everywhere and enables everything – except education. For the most part, education is still shackled by the 19th century sausage machine that at its best takes in children and spits out adults trained to work in factories, obediently following orders and never thinking for themselves. Or as we know, in many parts of the world, not even doing that, but failing every child in every school – just look at all the iNGOs photos of poor children in dilapidated village schools.

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