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As part of the Greentree Consensus, numerous development organizations established nine “principles for digital development” that are “meant to inform…the design of technology-enabled development programs.” The initiative is led by the ICT4D Working Group with representation from several organizations, including Dimagi.

Below is a blog post that describes how, , thanks to USAID Development Innovation Ventures Support, Dimagi is following these principles in scaling CommCare to 50 organizations throughout India. The original blog post can be found on the ICT4D Principles website

Development Objectives: Thanks to Stage 1 and 2 funding from USAID’s Development Innovations Venture, Dimagi, Inc. has worked over the last four years with over 50 frontline programs in India to rapidly build proof-of-concept mobile systems. The objective of this program is to design and implement mobile tools that both improve access to and quality of frontline services for beneficiaries and that support frontline workers in their day-to-day jobs.

Country: India

Sectors: Health (Maternal and child health, HIV, TB, malaria, etc.), Nutrition, Agriculture, Domestic Violence, Education, Disaster Preparedness, and Affordable Energy

Stakeholders (Partners, Donors, Governments): Over 50 implementing partners (ranging from larger non-governmental organizations like Catholic Relief Services and CARE to local grassroots organizations), donors (including USAID, USAID India, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.), several government partners ranging from the village level to state level (including the Government of Bihar).

Aspects Exemplified by Principles: This particular project exemplifies all nine ICT4D principles.

  • All CommCare applications were designed, tested, and iterated on directly with organizational staff and end users, and built for frontline program’s pre-existing programs [Principles: Design with the User; Understand the Existing Ecosystem; Be Collaborative]
  • All CommCare application were built on Dimagi’s open source platform, and many have been published to Dimagi’s open source app store, CommCare Exchange so that anyone can download and reuse or customize them. [Principles: Use Open Standards, Open Source, and Open Innovation; Reuse and Improve]
  • Organizational staff can access online, data-driven reports in real-time on CommCare’s web platform that provides transparency into their programs. All data is stored on Dimagi’s secure environment.  [Principles: Address Privacy and Security; Data-driven]
  • All CommCare applications are designed on our cloud-based, open source platform that is built for sustainable scale. A number of applications are individually scaling to hundreds of users that are reaching tens of thousands of beneficiaries, with plans to continue to grow. [Principles: Design for Scale; Build for Sustainability]

Impact: Many of the 50+ implementing organizations have or are in the process of evaluating how mobile systems are impacting their frontline programs. Below is a sample of results:

  • Early results demonstrate a substantial leap in the percentage of women visited by a CHW within the first 24 hours of delivery from 6.7% to 59.5% in less than one year. [CARE, Bihar]
  • Preliminary data shows that, since first using CommCare 5 months earlier, CHWs showed a 24% improvement in knowledge of MNCH interventions. Furthermore, the number of pre-natal counselling visits nearly doubled, the number of ASHA-assisted deliveries increased by 86%, and the average woman received 45% more antenatal care check-ups. [CRS, Uttar Pradesh]
  • A study in India found that family members of pregnant women— specifically their husband, sisters-in-law, & mothers-in-law—were more likely to sit in on CommCare-using CHWs’ home visits with pregnant women than home visits where an FLW was not using CommCare, [Mohamed, 2014].

About the Greentree Consensus: “The GreenTree Consensus represents a concerted effort to capture the most important lessons learned by the development community in the implementation of information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) projects. These principles were inspired by the Greentree Principles of 2010, the UNICEF Innovation Principles of 2009, and the UK Design Principles among others. This current version has been developed in consultation with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, UNICEF, The World Bank, SIDA, Omidiyar Foundation, The State Department, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, UNDP, Global Pulse, UNWomen, and OCHA.”