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FCDO Funding for Digital Development Programs to Improve Aid

By Wayan Vota on December 7, 2022

fcdo digital development funding

The past decade has seen the United Kingdom’s government continue to evolve its strategy of “doing development in a digital world” from a sectoral lens towards a more holistic and comprehensive approach. The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) is a UK government department that oversees international development programmes.

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Why FCDO Invests in Digital Development Programmes

Digital development at FCDO takes a cross-cutting view of digital as a key enabler of development, with a focus on digital inclusion, transformation, responsibility and sustainability. FCDO can improve digital technology impact on development outcomes by:

  • Supporting more people to access affordable, safe and secure internet services
  • Promoting digital skills development and innovation ecosystems
  • Enhancing digital safety and security awareness and practices
  • Improving data governance and digital rights
  • Leveraging digital technologies to deliver better public services and humanitarian assistance
  • Fostering regional and global cooperation on digital issues

FCDO thinks that digital is a key enabler of development, with a focus on digital inclusion, transformation, responsibility and sustainability. FCDO is developing a new digital development policy framework that will guide its work on digital development across its objectives. FCDO also collaborates with other partners such as ITU to bridge the digital divide.

FCDO Funding for Digital Development Programs

Here are seven examples of how FCDO is funding digital development to improve humanitarian aid programs:

  1. FCDO aims to improve digital access for excluded and underserved communities in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia through the Digital Access Programme, a four-year, £59 million investment funded by the FCDO and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
  2. FCDO started the FCDO Research Commissioning Centre, a new initiative that aims to improve operational delivery and value for money of FCDO research on digital transformation and inclusion.
  3. FCDO is providing grant funding for digital development programmes that address challenges such as health, education, agriculture, governance and humanitarian response. For example, it supports the Amplify programme, which uses human-centred design to create innovative solutions for development problems.
  4. FCDO is collaborating with partners such as ITU, UNICEF and GSMA to improve school connectivity, digital skills and mobile access in underserved areas. For example, it supports the Giga initiative, which aims to connect every school to the internet and every young person to information.
  5. FCDO is supporting research and learning on frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data and chatbots. For example, it supports the Frontier Technologies programme, which tests how emerging technologies can solve development challenges.
  6. FCDO is promoting digital inclusion and empowerment for women and girls in developing countries. For example, it supports the Girl Effect programme, which uses digital platforms to inspire positive behaviour change among adolescent girls.
  7. FCDO is fostering digital innovation and entrepreneurship in low- and middle-income countries. For example, it supports the Catalyst Fund programme, which provides flexible capital and tailored support to inclusive fintech startups.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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