Author Archives: ICTworks

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.

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

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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Register Now: $120,000 for Civic Tech Ideas in Myanmar

Are you interested using technology to help Myanmar? Do you have ideas on how public information could be made more accessible, key issues affecting the community better documented, feedbacks better raised to the authorities, or communities better mobilised? Register Now: Innovation Marketplace Information Session on February 16: in English or in Myanmar At the information session, you can learn about the Innovation Marketplace Event on 16-17 March, where you can pitch your idea, build a team, and win access up to $40,000 in direct support to kick-off your civic tech project and make it a reality. The Innovation Marketplace is a joint initiative by Phandeeyar and FHI 360, supported by USAID, designed to support the development new tech solutions for political participation in Myanmar. The program is open to both technologists and non technologists, organizations and individuals keen to run civic tech solutions to help the people of Myanmar

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Please Help USAID Develop Responsible Data Practices for Digital Development

Are you managing personally identifiable data? Have you struggled with the need to share, yet protect sensitive data? Do you worry about privacy risks and want to help create best practices? Then apply now to engage with USAID on the ethical collection, use, and management of data for field-based programs. The Global Development Lab at USAID is working with mSTAR, Sonjara, and Georgetown University is conducting research to develop responsible data guidelines for USAID and they are seeking development projects to test their ideas with real world experiences to help: Mitigate privacy and security risks for constituents and others Improve performance and development outcomes through use of data Promote transparency, accountability and public good through open data Research teams will conduct field visits with selected projects, and work with the project management team to apply draft practice guidelines to each case, helping identify what practices work and any gaps in the guidelines

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The Technology Aristocracy Is The Problem

There is one issue beyond all else that defenestrates the technology ecosystem of Rwanda and Sub Saharan Africa. It is something that every tech entrepreneur in the region worth their salt sees time and time again yet we too often lack the vocabulary to communicate effectively. This issue is the pedantry of global tech elites and companies that assume the solutions to Africa’s challenges will be solved in Silicon Valley boardrooms with views of driverless cars instead of by those who live on the continent, with its views of matatus and boda bodas. To the technology aristocracy, the concept of Africa rising is too often nothing more than a good photoshoot, a place to parachute a lean startup ‘expert’ for a weekend hackathon, instead of an ecosystem that can produce a unicorn. This expectation creates a vicious feedback loop.

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Are Messaging Apps and Emoji-Driven M&E Game-Changing Innovation?

Ten years ago, very few people mentioned cell phones and M&E in the same sentence. Phones were for phone calls, or for texting friends; monitoring surveys were done on paper. End of story. Whenever we at Souktel pitched the concept of cell phone-based M&E, the response–to put it mildly–was lukewarm. Collecting data through a handset was dismissed as unwieldy, unsafe, or just weird.

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Register Now to Learn How to Use Mobile Phones for Public Health

In 2016, the number of global mobile subscriptions reached 8.5 billion — more than the number of people on this earth – yet at the same time, health systems around the world are struggling to: Provide access to affordable healthcare for all Treat infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis Address crippling maternal and child mortality rates in low-income countries Manage non-communicable diseases like heart disease, cancer, and Diabetes Tackle infrastructure and supply chain challenges in remote settings Train frontline health workers to provide care to vulnerable populations Mobile phones are increasingly central to solutions responding to these challenges – are you ready to leverage mHealth innovations in your programs? TechChange is excited to announce its first online certificate course of 2017: Mobile Phones for Public Health. Use code ICTWorks to get a $50 discount on any TechChange course! The four-week Mobile Phones for Public Health course kicks off on February 6th and will feature leading guest experts, case studies, interactive software demos on the latest mHealth topics and developments. We’ve also been working on a new studio set-up to make live recordings all the more engaging

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Introducing the Mobile Information Literacy Curriculum

As millions of people come online across the globe through mobile devices, mobile information literacy is vital for those who have leapfrogged from traditional media to digital devices that provide instant access to information. Mobile information literacy is necessary to help people learn how to find and evaluate the quality and credibility of information obtained online, understand how to create and share online information effectively, and participate safely and securely. Mobile information literacy is critical to help people better consume, generate, and disseminate trustworthy information through both digital and traditional media. Existing curricular models assume people learn on a personal computer (PC).

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9 Considerations for Seamless Mobile MERL Solutions

With mHealth a fast growing component of health delivery systems, many organisations are developing mobile and digital solutions to tackle health problems around the world. Presentations at MERL 2016 Conference showed that many are also using mobile and digital tools to analyze and monitor programs. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between the solutions themselves and the MERL. Frequently, programs still evaluate apps, websites, and SMS services through traditional door-to-door surveys or phone calls.

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The Unequal Diffusion of Big Data Capacity

A 2014 White House report from the office of President Obama underlined that Big Data leads to ‘vexing issues’. Big data technologies can cause societal harms beyond damages to privacy, such as discrimination against individuals and groups. While at the same time it emphasized the tremendous opportunities these technologies offer to improve public services, grow the economy, and improve the health and safety of our communities. In Big Data for Development, a review by Martin Hilbert of over 180 pieces of mainly recent literature, and several pieces of hard fact empirical evidence, has confirmed that the Big Data paradigm entails both opportunities and threats for development. On the one hand, an unprecedented amount of cost-effective data can be exploited to inform decision-making in areas that are crucial to many aspects of development, such as healthcare, security, economic productivity and disaster and resource management, among others

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Farmers Will Benefit Most from Mobile Financial Services

The world’s population is projected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that farmers will need to produce 70% more food than in 2006 to meet this demand. While agriculture productivity has been increasing, production capacity is growing slowly, and food security remains a serious issue in many countries due to rising prices as well as availability Mobile has the most potential to improve the income of smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa, India and the Middle East, and this analysis focuses on the benefits mobile can bring to these people. Connected Agriculture, a report by Accenture and Vodafone on the role of mobile in driving efficiency and sustainability in the food and agriculture value chain, focuses on 12 opportunities that deliver broad socio-economic and environmental benefits. They are grouped in four categories that were identified through stakeholder consultations as the most important

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