ICT has the power to propel development forward, but before you jump in head first with a new ICT tool, there are a few critical questions to consider, like: What is the benefit to the user and who ultimately benefits the most? Can the tool continue to have a positive impact after the life of a project? Who are the decision-makers on the use of data and the owners of the data collected and used through the technology? What are the opportunity costs of developing and rolling out a new tool?
Author Archives: ICTworks
Like in many developing countries, agriculture is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy. 62 percent of Ghanaians are employed in the sector, says Doris Amponsaa Owusu, Business Services Specialist for USAID’s ADVANCE II Project (Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement). ADVANCE II, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, supports the scaling up of agricultural investments to improve the competitiveness of important value chains in Ghana, and is supported by Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global huger and food security initiative.
Smallholder farmers located in the Southwestern tip of Uganda engage in potato farming to feed their families and to earn some extra income. As part of Pasic, a large policy action project to increase sustainable intensification of cropping systems in Uganda, we found that seed quality is the main factor holding potato farmers back. Farmers needed to learn two new activities: Positive Seed Selection: using the largest tubers for seed stock instead of eating them and only using small, malformed tubers affected by disease as seed stock. Proper Seed Storage and Handling: dry tubers on racks or on dry grass and inspected regularly for rotten or disease affected tubers. Using ICT to Increase Agricultural Knowledge To raise awareness on these two key potato seed quality aspects, we produced two short videos
For nearly four years, we have been sharing information about the various ways that gender and mobile intertwine in our Gender and Mobile newsletter. In our latest issue, we offered our perspectives on two recent reports from MIT and Georgetown and the GSMA which examined mobile money as a tool for women’s economic empowerment. Mobile Money Can Lift Women Out of Poverty In the Science journal article “The long-run poverty and gender impacts of mobile money“, Suri and Jack (2016) have caused waves with the finding that access and use of M-PESA has lifted an astounding 2% of households out of poverty. The gender link here is that households led by women experienced the most profound effects of this phenomenon – propelled by their new-found ability to exhibit more financial resilience and to save money by using the service.
Many ICT4D projects have a major strike against them before they even begin: they use international languages instead of local ones. The intended audience not only has to learn a technology that they may not be comfortable with, but they also have to struggle with the language that it uses, which they may read only slowly and poorly, if at all. It is useless to produce a whizbang tool to reach the “next billion”, if it’s in a language that they do not understand. 4 Reasons Why You Should Localize Localization, or L10n, is ensuring that tools work in the local language actually used by your intended audience. That starts with realizing that many people do not use only one language
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!
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.