Author Archives: ICTworks

How to Reduce Misinformation with ICTs in Rural Kenya

Misinformation poses a problem to development both in the developed and developing world. With the rise of ICTs, particularly social media, misinformation is propagated faster and wider and therefore threatens development. Misinformation fuels violence, hinders public health, governance, and other development efforts. If ICTs can be used to propagate misinformation, why not use the same to counter misinformation? The Sentinel Project is using ICTs to map and counter misinformation that can lead to violence, hence preventing communities from succumbing to mass atrocities

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E-agriculture Strategy Guide From the FAO and ITU

E-agriculture is about designing, developing and applying innovative ways to use ICTs in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture. E-agriculture offers a wide range of solutions to some agricultural challenge and holds great potential in promoting sustainable agriculture while protecting the environment and finding an effective way to feed the world’s population. Debate the role of technology in agriculture at ICTforAg on June 10th. Register now, before we sell out.

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Apply Now for $240,000 in Grants for African ICT4D Projects

The Fund for Internet Research and Development (FIRE Africa) has over US$240,000 in grant funding to support projects that use ICT to develop innovative solutions to Africa’s unique education, access, information, infrastructure and communication needs. Deadline to Apply: 31 May 2016 There are three types of grants available for Africa’s entrepreneurs at universities, private sector organizations, and non-government organizations: The Internet Society Africa Grants will provide two Grants of up to US$ 25,000 each for two projects that focus on: Internet Security Access provision The FIRE Africa Grants will provide four grants of up to US$25,000 each for projects aligned with one of the following categories: Technical Innovation Community Development Governance Enhancement Education The FIRE Africa Scale-Up Grants will provide three Grants of up to US$ 30,000 each for three existing projects to scale up activities in: Technical Innovation Community Development Governance Enhancement Education FIRE Africa actively encourages Francophone, Lusophone, female-led projects, projects originating in post-conflict countries, and projects that support isolated communities. We also encourage projects that use technology to address the specific challenges faced by women and girls, disabled people or marginalised groups.

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Can Bitcoin Free West Africa From CFA Franc Tyranny?

The “CFA Franc” is a currency used by 14 African countries, which represents 38% of the African population, and this wicked money affects 150 million lives. France created the CFA Franc in 1945 at the end of World War II for its African colonies. It is literally a copy and paste of the monetary system that Germany imposed on France during its occupation to loot France. Some of the tools of that financial weapon used by Germany against France have been exploited for more than half a century with the same arsenal on former French African Colonies.

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Can We End Famine As We Know It In Our Lifetime? Is Technology the Solution?

“Our policy objective in the aid community, should be to end famine as we know it in our lifetime.” That was the challenge presented to us by Andrew Natsios, former Administrator, USAID, at Transforming Global Food Security, a series of discussions on preventing famine through improved technological innovation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on May 11th. You can watch the full event, but there were really two main questions I felt we were trying to answer in the discussion: what can technology tell us about the drivers of food insecurity, and would policy makers use that information to make sound policy decisions? Join us at ICTforAg for a follow-on panel discussion on food security with Christopher Burns, USAID; Hedwig Siewertsen, AGRA; Stewart Collis, aWhere; Daniele Tricarico, GSMA; Dr. Debisi Araba, Harvard Kennedy School; Wayan Vota, FHI 360. What Can Technology Tell Us About Food Insecurity

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Nutrition & Food Security, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Girl Effect Girl Safeguarding Policy: Digital Privacy, Security, Safety Principles &…

As Girl Effect has begun to integrate more digital tools and platforms into our work, we have become increasingly attentive to girls’ digital privacy, security and safety, especially as we are helping many girls to access the Internet for the first time. Knowing that girls and women face higher levels and specific forms of online discrimination and harassment than boys and men, we want to do all we can to make girls’ online experiences healthy and welcoming by creating safe environments for girls and by helping girls become more aware of how they can protect themselves online. This first version of Girl Effect’s Digital Privacy, Safety and Security Guide is aimed at providing our staff and partners with guidance on how we will protect girls who are using the digital tools that we create and/or promote. It is built on a set of principles that keep the girl and her privacy, security and safety at the center of all that we do. The guide outlines how we will approach digital initiatives and programs involving girls

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Help USAID Find Evidence of Real-Time Data Use in Development

Development is messy and complex, but our projects are set up around linear information systems that are slow, one-way, highly siloed and paper-based. Project management plans, quarterly reports, and project close-out reports don’t provide the type of rapid, real-time information that can lead to better decision-making, more adaptive management systemic learning and knowledge generation, and ultimately better development outcomes. The US Global Development Lab at USAID is seeking evidence to support the idea that real-time data (RTD) systems have a critical role to play in enabling and supporting adaptive management. They need your help in identifying examples of projects who have used real-time data or digital information flows. Please submit your examples of real-time data in development.

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Register Now for Agriculture, Innovation and Technology, a new online course from TechChange

TechChange is launching its first ever online course on Agriculture, Innovation and Technology in coordination with ICTforAg 2016, a premier conference on the use of technology to improve smallholder value chains. The four-week online certificate course will explore a number of design considerations and technologies to help make agricultural production increasingly accessible and affordable in the developing world. These include: digital financial services, SMS and IVR campaign tools, remote sensing technologies, mobile applications and services, drone surveillance, GIS data and more. The course will use the principles of digital development as a guiding framework and feature a variety of discussions, activities, case studies and live guest expert presentations around the following weekly topics: Week 1: Introduction, Crop Planning and Financing Week 2: Planting and Growing (Crop Cycle) Week 3: Post-Harvest and Farm Management Week 4: The Horizon of ICTs for Agriculture (Sensors, GIS, Big Data, and Digital Photo Recognition, Data Analytics) The course will also consider a range of challenges to implementation like access to power, language barriers, literacy levels, high transactions costs, access to quality extension services and more.

Posted in Aid & Development, Environment, ICT4D, Online, Technology, WASH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How ICTs Help WFP Increase Food Security in DRC

Upheaval, uncertainty and instability are common in conflict stricken countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The World Food Programme (WFP) reports more than 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line in DRC, with national food scarcity and chronic malnutrition running rampant in these settings. In this type of situation, the humanitarian community steps in to help fight hunger and provide access to food for vulnerable civilian populations. Interested in technology for food security? Register now to join Transforming Global Food Security, a discussion on preventing famine through improved technological innovation with Andrew Natsios, former Administrator, USAID, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Poverty, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Global Archipelago of Internet Disconnection

For many people around the world, Internet access is an essential part of everyday economic, social and political activities (cf. Graham & Dutton, 2014). Yet access to the Internet is, and has always been, geographically concentrated (Graham, Hale, & Stephens, 2012, 2011). As such, it is important to focus on the people and places that are largely left out of global digital connectivity.

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Should ICT4D Be Sidestreamed or Mainstreamed?

Around the time of the MDGs, ICT4D became the focus for a critical mass of activity; a “sidestreaming” approach that saw specialist ICT4D units arise in a number of international and national organisations. Following the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), this was largely mainstreamed, with specialist units being disbanded or shrinking, and ICT4D expertise seen as diffused into the main development sectors. There is a logic to mainstreaming – if done right – in ensuring integration of ICTs into a broad range of development goals. But there are also many dangers of just mainstreaming, as I have previously summarised: You lose the focus for learning about ICT4D; You hide or downplay technological innovation which can be a source of motivation and hope, and a lever for change; You lose sight of the ICT sector and digital economy roles in development; You silo ICT into individual development sectors and thus miss the technology’s cross-cutting, integrative capabilities; And there is no “Development 2.0” or other vision for ICTs as a force for transformative change. So alongside mainstreaming, there needs to be some sidestreaming: retaining and supporting specialist ICT4D units within the UN system overall; individual UN organisations; international development agencies; national development agencies; national governments; international NGOs; etc.

Posted in Funding, ICT4D, mHealth, Research, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Please Register Now: ICTforAg 2016 – New Technologies for Smallholder Farmers

June 10th – Washington, DC – Register Now ICTforAg 2016 will bring together +275 thought leaders and decision makers in agriculture and technology from the international development community and the private sector to examine how new innovations can empower smallholder farmers, and the entire value chains that support them, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Please register now to explore new ICT solutions that can boost the productivity of both smallholder farmers and agriculture value chains, and discuss other possible ICTs, including traditional media platforms, agribusiness IT systems, and extension agent support technologies. Our draft agenda includes the following lightning talks and breakout sessions. Be sure to register now to experience these first-hand on June 10th. We expect to sell out this week and those that are tardy will be on a wait list.

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Please RSVP Now: USAID Digital Development Forum Central America

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.

Posted in Aid, Aid & Development, Climate Change, Human Rights, Policy & Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How DFID Does Development in a Principled Way

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.

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