Information Technology and “Development”

04/04/2011 at 2:21 pm 1 comment

A few years ago, Irish Aid asked us to nominate NGO representatives for a new “Task Force” on Information Technology for Development. And frankly, we were struggling to find anyone in the Irish Development NGO sector who would take the issue seriously.

The prevailing attitude seemed to be that NGOs had no business getting involved with “computer stuff“, in a world where very few people were literate, let alone had access to a reliable electricity source. The “digital divide“, many NGO workers were arguing, was something to worry about after the other divides – food security, gender discrimination, education, health care, you name it – were bridged.

(see also this great infographic about internet use in Africa)

Much has changed since, and stories abound of how mobile telephony and information technologies are transforming not just people’s lives, but entire economies and political regimes. Think Egypt 2011. Think some of these stories from the last few weeks (and some a bit older):

And Dóchas has not sat still either. Dóchas, and “Act Now on 2015” are on Twitter and Facebook, and Dóchas has published its own social media policy to frame our social media work. We now also have a blog, which attracts over 1,500 readers a month, and directs traffic to our website. And finally, we have supported web-based initiatives to improve NGO transparency (such as INKEX) or to enhance NGO use of the possibilities of the new media (We are currently helping to conduct trials of voice-based bulletin boards, and a map based donor guide to NGOs).

Our latest contributions are a new page on IT and development on our website, and a list of “apps” that are relevant for global development and can run on mobile phones.

So you see, we in Dóchas definitely think that “technology” CAN play a role in development. And we’re not alone. We dare say that it’s likely we’d have many more NGO staff volunteering to be on any “ICT and Development” task force now, than we did in 2004…

(Although it would be nice if Irish NGOs took Twitter a good deal more seriously)

Related post: “Is there an app for Human Development?”

See also: This guide by The Wheel on Facebook Apps for Non-Profits

Entry filed under: NGOs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Is there an App for “human development”? Irish NGOs and “Development Effectiveness”

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One of the most important graphs. Ever.

http://ourworldindata.org/data/health/maternal-mortality/ Today is World Food Day.

A day to celebrate that the days of truly enormous famines are over: http://blog.concern.net/global-hunger-index-2015-mapping-the-worlds-hunger Meet "Chocolate Mamas", producers of chocolate in #Tanzania, creating Tanzanian jobs. 
While #cocoa is grown in West Africa and Asia,
most #chocolate (the finished product) is made in Europe or the USA.

Meet Jaki Kweka, who is trying to change that. By creating protected areas and national parks and by limiting the spread of soy bean cultivation, Brazil has managed to drastically reduce the amount of rain forest being cleared.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/deforestation-in-the-amazon-has-plummeted-almost-90pt/ Costa Rica, #Afghanistan, China, #India and Albania are all embracing renewable energy sources.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/sep/15/five-developing-countries-ditching-fossil-fuels-china-india-costa-rica-afghanistan-albania?CMP=share_btn_tw Social change needs empowered citizens, and empowered citizens need occasional encouragement.

Great to hear that we're not the only ones who believe in the power of positive news! 50,000 rice farmers in #IvoryCoast are now working with better seeds, improving food security in the West African country.

As a result, harvests have increased.

Source: World Bank, photo: Jbdodane / CC BY Sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail system starts operations. 
As Ethiopians celebrate their New Year, they also prepare to mark the beginning of operations of a tram system in the #Ethiopian capital #AddisAbaba. 
Read more: http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-09-20-sub-saharan-africas-first-light-rail-system-starts-operationsyou-guessed-it-in-ethiopia Going Mobile in #Malawi”. A mobile phone information service established last year to provide timely information to rural poor farmers in a southern African country, has been used nearly half a million times since its launch.

Established in Malawi by Gorta-Self Help Africa last year, the ‘321’ voice-activated service provides subscribers to the country’s largest mobile phone network with farm information and advice that they can access at the push of a button. And it’s all free. Read more at http://dochas.ie/sites/default/files/The-Worlds-Best-News-2015_0.pdf 10,000 copies of "The World's Best News" were distributed all over #ireland today!

See how The Irish Times described our newspaper, and click the link to read all the articles online!

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/inside-out/have-you-read-the-world-s-best-news-1.2355806

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