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How to Implement an ICT4D Strategy in an International Development Organization

By Guest Writer on May 27, 2015


The growing access to information and communication technologies in developing communities is having a transformative effect on the way in which international relief and development organizations carry out their work, governments transform their economies and provide services to their citizens, businesses are investing in high-growth opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid, and education and research institutes innovate and assess innovation impacts.

Specifically, there are 5 technology trends with the greatest potential impact on developing communities:

  1. Mobile Devices: Developing community access to mobile devices is nearly ubiquitous. The number of now exceeds the number of people on earth and the penetration rate in the developing world will reach Mobile Devices 90% in 2014.
  2. Internet: Internet access is improving quickly. Penetration is 78% and 32% for developed and developing regions, respectively, measured by number of people using the Internet out of 100.
  3. Cloud Services: Through the Internet, developing communities are gaining access to an array of cloud services including “Software as a Service” applications that provide critical information and services at a fraction of the cost.
  4. Power: Communities are developing new strategies to power their mobile devices, through portable solar devices, increases in mobile device battery life, and by tapping into efforts to optimize energy grids and use Power distributed energy resources.
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): Over the next two decades the number of people accessing the Internet will be outpaced by an Internet of Things (IoT), millions of sensors that automatically communicate information in support of everything from remote medical diagnosis and treatment, to energy production, and early warning systems.

Leadership is the single most important factor in building an organization’s ability to adapt to the technology-enabled transformation that is taking place in the humanitarian relief and development sector. The Organizational Guide to ICT4D is intended for internal change leaders and lays out an approach to using technology to improve development outcomes by a variety of stakeholders.

  • Senior Managers focused on ensuring their organization remains competitive and relevant over the next decades.
  • Senior Technical Advisors focused on improving the effectiveness of their organization in addressing issues of poverty and injustice.
  • Project Managers focused on leveraging their organization’s ICT4D capacity to better serve beneficiaries.
  • Technologists focused on helping project managers and technical advisors build on their organization’s ICT4D experience.

The Organizational Guide to ICT4D was developed from best practices for building ICT4D capacity and solutions. Many of these are embodied in the Principles for Digital Development. This guide is designed to help organizations adopt processes, build knowledge, and ultimately develop solutions that are guided by the Principles for Digital Development.

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